Mold & Moisture Inspection After Hurricane Harvey

Moisture Inspection and Mold Control After Hurricane Harvey

Moisture Inspection by Chris Staudt
Moisture Inspection by Chris Staudt

Our inspector, Chris Staudt wrote this description of our moisture inspection services and mold control strategies. Chris lives in Cypress, in the Stable Gate neighborhood, and he’s flooded twice.

We are performing moisture inspections to help you decide if you’re ready to start closing up walls and starting reconstruction of your flood-damaged home.   Our moisture inspection can also be used to determine if a property you’re considering was flooded during Hurricane Harvey.  If you’re thinking of purchasing a property that may have been flooded and you want assurance of no flooding from an independent inspector, our moisture inspection can provide that information.

Because we recognize the tremendous financial burden Harvey has placed on Houston homeowners, we’re offering our moisture certifications for only $200.00.

Possible Outcomes of a Moisture Inspection

There are three possible outcomes of a Top To Bottom moisture inspection.

  1. There was no evidence of excessively high moisture content of the exterior walls of the house. Our certification states that is the inspector’s professional opinion that the inspected property was not flooded during Hurricane Harvey.
  2. Open and exposed walls were checked for moisture.  Our certification states that it is the inspector’s professional opinion that the moisture content is acceptable and construction can commence to close the walls and finish the remodeling.
  3. Open and exposed walls are checked for moisture.  Our report states that excessive moisture was observed within the structure and correction is required.

Why a Moisture Inspection is Important to Prevent Mold

Typically mold will not become established on wood surfaces after a brief single exposure. Drying the wood in your home or commercial property through ventilation and heat should minimize any fungal growth.

Wood contains naturally occurring chemicals (i.e., terpenes, the basis of turpentine) that resist fungal growth internally. It generally requires long-term or chronic moisture for wood to become mold-infested.

Unfortunately, that long-term exposure necessary for mold growth can occur when the property owner decides to try to save flood-soaked floors, cabinets, shower enclosures and so on.  If you can’t dry out all wood surfaces because they’re difficult to access, you’re giving mold a chance to become established in your property.

If mold has become established in a wall cavity, it will not continue to grow if the cavity is dry. Mold spores are resistant to desiccation and, while mold will not disappear, any mold toxins present are not alive and are quite stable.  The key here is that the cavities harboring mold must be dried.  If they’re not, mold will continue to grow and can become dangerous to your health.

Can Chemical Sprays Eliminate Mold?

So what can be done to remediate the wall with out tearing it down? Assuming the wall is drywall over wood studs and the mold is only on the surface of the wood, you could fog the walls with disinfectant and fungal encapsulant. A spray like Mold Control, or Microban can also be sprayed directly on the wood and drywall surfaces. This has been successfully done in some environments.

After you spray your wall cavities, we recommend testing to ensure the spraying has been effective. The occupants of the house should not be present during such a procedure, and if they are chemically sensitive, the cure might be worse than the disease. Although these products are often water-based and do not impact most people, no chemical should be considered completely free of side effects, particularly when freshly applied.

Guidelines from the U.S. EPA do not recognize fungal disinfectants and encapsulants in their recommendations. They recommend removal and cleaning. Although this is an ideal approach, it is impractical in wood frame buildings where cleaning, even without interior walls being present (such as behind wood framing) is often not feasible.

Call Us for Fast, Professional Moisture Inspections

If you’re worried that a property you’re considering may have been damaged by Harvey’s floods, we can use our moisture inspection procedure to check for you.  If you’re recovering from flooding, and you need to check if you’re ready to start rebuilding, our moisture inspection can provide you with that assurance.  Use the form to the right or call us at 281-565-4677 today!