When the Spangenbergs bought their New Orleans home, they were confident that it was in good shape. The real estate agent had hired a professional to inspect the home, and they’d been given a clean bill of health with a mention of some possible mold around the HVAC unit. However, all was not as it seemed.
According to Richard Spangenberg, “We had just bought the house, and we planned on doing some cosmetic work, fixing the floors and painting the walls, but that’s it. We had a floor guy come to look at our house to refinish our floors, and he thought there was a fungus in the floor. After that, we got a mold inspector to come out and take some tests, and he recommended a course of action.”
According to the industrial hygienist the Spangenbergs hired, the house was in dire need of mold remediation. As it turns out, the infiltration was so severe, it was necessary to gut the entire ground floor and walls all the way up to the third floor that were riddled with mold and moisture.
“It wasn’t anything good,” Richard says, “We planned minor cosmetic changes and then realized we didn’t know the extent of it. We had to keep going until the mold stopped, and it didn’t stop until the whole house was gutted.”
The Spangenbergs got a couple of different quotes from contractors that he’d found online, including Sunlight Contractors. He hired Sunlight because we were able to handle all of his needs – from mold remediation to demolition and construction to spray foam installation.
Working our way up from the ground floor
To kill the mold spores, we used a cold fogger to apply EPA-certified Mold Stat wherever mold had been found. In the case of the Spangenberg home, that included the entire sub-floor, floor joists, beams, and any other wood members that could be infested with mold in the home’s crawl space. After allowing twenty-four hours for the Mold Stat to dry, we disinfected the crawl space with a certified mold disinfectant, scrubbing away all dead mold spores.
Because mold thrives in moisture-rich environments, we needed to establish a vapor barrier and begin drying out the crawl space. A layer of 6 mil vapor barrier over the earthen floor of the crawl space and a perimeter wrap offered protection from moisture penetration as we began our work. With the crawl space sealed, we set up 500,000-BTU commercial indirect heaters, to heat up the area and evaporate moisture that was built up in the wood assemblies. We came every other day to move the commercial heaters, which speeds the drying process, and we also used that time to move and check the duct work, take moisture readings, and inspect cracks and tight spots for any remaining signs of mold.
Once the area was thoroughly dry and several moisture-damaged beams were replaced, we applied a proprietary blend of paint to the entire sub-floor and all of the wooden assembly members. This water-blocker primer and paint is specially designed to push moisture up and out of damp wood while also preventing further penetration from the earth floor of the crawl space. We reset the commercial air movers once more to dry out the area after spraying the water-blocker paint.
Finally, to ensure a monolithic seal against future vapor, we installed 2,080 sq. ft. of Gaco Western 183 m closed cell spray foam at a thickness of 2 inches on the sub-floor. We sealed all of the wood members up to the sill plates in this cutting edge, water-tight barrier
Eliminating mold from the home’s interior
We repeated the mold remediation process throughout the Spangenberg home, cold fogging and disinfecting every room and wall in the home’s interior with EPA-certified products. We also cleaned out and disinfected the HVAC coils and duct work, where the first signs of mold had been spotted by the initial inspector. We built a new plenum and reconnected the duct work to the clean, mold-free assembly.
Due to the extensive and insidious nature of the mold infestation in the Spangenberg home, we were forced to demolish four feet of sheet rock around the exterior walls and remove baseboards. We also had to undertake the demolition of kitchen cabinets and walls and remove all of the vinyl floor, which had trapped moisture and mold against the sub-floor. We kept the ground floor sealed off with plastic to prevent airborne mold spores from penetrating other areas of the house, and we sprayed an EPA-registered Mold Stat profusely throughout the demolition also.
Sealing and protecting the attic from mold
In the attic, we removed the old, dirty existing insulation, running a HEPA Filtration on the third floor and sealing the attic door during process as a precaution against airborne mold spored. Once we had thoroughly cleaned and disinfected the area, we installed 2,310 square feet of Gaco Western Fire Stop 2 open cell spray foam at an average thickness of 5 inches to 5.5 inches in depth. We sealed all the top plates, eaves, and soffits and inserted rock-wool in all the soffits as well.
The open cell spray foam is sprayed in layers on the bottom of your roof deck and gable end walls, extending to the perimeter of the ceiling. This creates a super-insulated airtight cap on the top of the Spangenberg’s home, preventing conditioned air from leaking out and exterior air from penetrating the roof. The result is a less drafty, more comfortable home that’s warmer in the winter and cooler in the summer.
The end results of a major mold remediation and home renovation
At the end of the job, mold had been eliminated from the Spangenberg’s home, and moisture-damaged assemblies had been replaced and sealed from future infestations. Mold-riddled walls were demolished and new walls were built, and the home was encapsulated with closed cell spray foam in the crawl space and open cell spray foam in the attic. In addition to making the home healthier and more structurally sound, the spray foam insulation also ensures fewer drafts in the winter and greater comfort in the summer, too. With the improved energy efficiency, the Spangenberg’s home will generate lower fuel and electric bills, saving money in the long run.
When asked about his experience with the Sunlight Contractors team, Richard said, “They’re good. They’re all knowledgeable and professional, and they do good work. They showed us pictures throughout the process, and they work at a fast pace. It seems like they got stuff done more quickly than others might.”
He adds that prospective homeowners would be wise to insist on a mold inspection on top of a standard inspection before the buy a new home.
If you’re a homeowner who’s been given bad news about a mold infestation, get in touch with Sunlight Contractors. We’re a one-stop shop equipped to handle mold remediation, demolition, construction, and insulation installation along with a variety of other contractor services. We’re fully licensed, and we have years of experience and expertise. Call today to schedule your home inspection and consultation.