When water is getting into houses, it can cause damage to many things - drywall, structure, flooring, carpeting, etc. There is also residual damage - mold. Mold is not the problem - it is the indicator that there is a problem. Mold is a symptom. Mold cannot be cleaned up until the source of any water migration is removed.
THE BEST WAY TO DETECT HIDDEN OR RESIDUAL MOISTURE IS WITH AN INFRARED CAMERA. THE BEST WAY TO SEE HOW MUCH MOISTURE IS TO COUPLE THAT IR EXAMINATION WITH A MOISTURE METER.
In this house, mold was showing up in the corner of a basement ceiling.
Well, since we know the physics of water we know that it comes from somewhere above.
Outside this house I found a problem in the roof, which was diverting water down inside the siding, through the bedroom, into the living room and finally stopping at the basement ceiling.
Fix the roof, fix the problem.
This infrared image shows the spot in the living room just above the basement mold. Blues and purples indicate cooler temperatures, and when examined with a moisture meter it was easy to prove that this spot was wet, very wet.
Fine. So the sellers agreed to fix the roof problem I found.
I snuck back to look at the roof after the "repair."
Frankly I saw no difference and told the seller and then my client.
I contacted my client and offered a plan. Our plan was to wait a couple of rain storms and go back to look at the same spot with the IR camera. Would it cost him more? Yes. Would results be definitive? Yes. And the seller was agreeable. Yes!
After two rains, I returned at the same time of day. The temperature outside was the same as for the original examination. Fair is fair - it is best to try to mimic conditions.
After the "repair," not only was there moisture, there was MORE moisture!
I have to tell you, not only was my client grateful, but the seller was too! They had paid good money to a "roofer" only to find out that he did not do much at all. There was no point in "re-mediating" any mold if the moisture source is not mitigated!
My recommendation: if there is an experienced thermographer in your area, take advantage of the technology! Sure, it costs money. But wow, it can sure save money in the long run!
Big sigh - happy ending.
Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC
Based in Bristow, serving all of Northern Virginia.
Office (703) 330-6388 Cell (703) 585-7560