Harvey Storm Damage Forclosures
Over the coming months, homes that were abandoned after the storm due to no insurance, will begin to be foreclosed and auctioned off. So as a home buyer you need to ask for the documentation that the home was properly processed for mold mitigation and not just covered up with new drywall. You need to ask for the certification from a qualified industrial hygienist or licensed mold mitigation company.
In many cases after a storm that was as damaging as #harveystorm2017 @harveystorm2017 in the @Houston area there are many things that need to be done to have a healthy home. Removal of affected walls, scrubbing with a disinfectant soap that removes oil, spraying with proper 3 stage mold inhibitors and antimicrobials, and proper drying with multiple dehumidifiers.
In the old days 1800s and early 1900s, homes did not have insulation in the walls or even in the attic. The walls in many cases were also made of wood and drywall was added much later. The homes in many cases were also pier and beam so water drained very quickly. After a flood the whole home attic fan would be turned on, windows were opened and the home was dried very quickly. The old material used was mostly hard wood cedar, hard redwood pine, or hard sequoia pine, and not white or yellow pine (Non Redwood Or Sequoia Pine) like used today. Composite types like OSB that we use today was not in use at that time. The difference in materials is the key. Hard solid wood like Cedar, Sequoia, Red Wood, Cherry Wood, and Oak was primarily used in early construction of homes. there were no air pockets like plywood, pressed wood, or OSB.
Modern building materials have pockets that allow water to enter and bacteria to grow. This bacteria causes black mold (Stachybotrys chartarum), swelling, splitting and just a cesspool of health problems. Hard wood can absorb the water and with proper drying and cleaning has little damages or health issues. Insulation MUST BE REMOVED IN ALL CASES OF FLOODING as the bacteria held in the fibers of the insulation affects all the wood in the home to include 2x4 structures, and cabinets, drywall and even tile flooring and time bathroom walls. You can not dry these types of materials the bacteria in the pockets will continue to grow. Mold does not need light, air, or standing water to continue to grow as the water is present in our humid climate. So removal is required of all drywall, certain wood swollen casings and trim, tile, and anything OSB or Plywood. Basically if the wood swelled or split it needs to be removed as the air pockets allow for the growth of mold and bacteria.
All of the homes in the Sept 8,1900 flood in Galveston had no insulation in the attic or the walls as it was not offered in those days. And most were raised on pier type foundations. Some were concrete foundations as well as basement homes and those took on most of the damages. These homes also had hardwood, cherry floors,cedar, or other types of hardwood floors bur most were cherry or cedar. These floors were not affected as much, and most just needed to be cleaned and then the whole house attic fan was turned on and the windows opened. This dried the home very quickly. Hard wood does not allow for most damaging bacteria that causes dry rot and Stachybotrys chartarum (Black Mold) to grow as its solid wood. So these older homes with no insulation in the walls or under the floor are generally not affected. The rest of the foundation type homes that are built to code require extensive means to rehabilitate and rebuild the home to be healthy.
That is where your Mold Mitigation Company comes into play. A qualified mold mitigation company needs to be hired and they need to be licensed. During times of large loss, the State will allow other companies to offer mold mitigation as there are not enough qualified companies to service the loss. But licensed mold mitigation is always a better option with certification.
These companies will remove the wall coverings, insulation, cabinets, bathtubs, showers, and properly clean the inside wall cavities, spray with proper chemicals, and dry using proper air flow techniques. It is also advisable to have a Hepa air scrubber in place to remove the airborne mold spores as well. After the cleaning and drying with dehumidifies and fans, the wood must be checked for moisture. A good rule of thumb is below 15% before any wall coverings can be reinstalled.
A properly processed home is a healthy home and skipping steps will affect the health of the occupants and put you in a liability situation on selling the home. Hire qualified contractors and make sure they are licensed for mold mitigation or in industrial hygiene. Your largest life investment needs to have quality contractors to ensure the home will remain structurally sound with no bacterial dry rot and have no microbial or mold growth.