An Unwelcome Visitor

So way back when, you know, when we moved into our little corner of the blogosphere, I made it a goal to be more real with you guys. My own little real-ification project if you will. And as homeowners, what we’ve been dealing with for the last couple of months is about as real as it gets!

house-unfinished

But first, let’s back up a little bit. The house that we live in was completed about a year before we got married, and it was wonderful! We are so completely in love with our home! Now, the floor plan that we chose was a standard 3 bedroom, two and a half bathroom, but instead of building it on a slab (like most houses in our neighborhood) we opted for the basement option.Wahoo! More space to eventually finish ourselves! Our house was the first of that model our builder would create with a basement- and if you look closely at some of the details in our house, you might be able to tell that it was a first for them… remember that part, it’s important!

house- finished

While Josh was living out the rest of his bachelor days, we made improvements to the house, a little DIY here, a little DIY there, nothing huge- just enough to make it ours. We painted it Kermit the Frog Green, planted flowers, and even got a little messy putting up a tile back splash! Our builder was great, they fixed anything that we found that was wrong with the house and they were pretty good about finding a solution to every problem.

Fast forward a year, newly married, and looking to make some more improvements on the house. First up on our list was to replace the builder grade fans in the bathrooms and maybe look to see if we could add a ceiling fan in our gigantic stairwell. Nothing out of the ordinary, pretty standard. As a handy husband, Josh went to check the attic to see how it was all wired to see if it could be done or not. We very quickly realized that it could not be done anytime soon as we had an unexpected visitor in our attic.

Now, don’t get me wrong, if it had been squirrels, or raccoons, or some other varmint- I would have been okay with that. But that’s not quite how this story goes, because it wasn’t a raccoon or squirrels hiding in our attic. It was mold. Black mold. Big splotches of mold covering the plywood in our attic. Scary. Scary, scary!

mold!

We immediately contacted our builder and they were out almost the very next day, armed with mold experts and humidity readers. Before we could move forward, we had to figure out what was causing the mold. That began the parade of experts that would traverse through our home to our attic to assess the damage. It wasn’t HVAC. It wasn’t the insulation. It wasn’t due to improper venting. They even pulled off some of the siding of the house to check if it was the roof…. it wasn’t that either! While we were stumped as to what was causing the mold, we were counting our lucky stars that the mold had been caught relatively early and hadn’t spread to the rest of the house… or the drywall for that matter!

So while the blame game was going on in the background (“It’s not us” and “Who me? Couldn’t be!”), we went through mold remediation and were successful in removing the mold from the attic. But what caused the mold in the first place?

Remember how at the beginning of this story, I mentioned that our house was the first of it’s kind that they built? Yeah, that was the key to the whole darn thing. Apparently what happened is that when we opted to have a basement, that moved all the utilities to the basement instead of a utility closet on the first floor. When they did this, it moved all sorts of things around including the warm air duct that feeds the second floor. This got moved to run inside an insulated sleeve alongside an outside wall. The duct was all hunky dory until it reached the attic, where the insulation surrounding this duct magically disappeared. This is where we learned that warm air ducts plus cold outside walls don’t mix. At all. All of that hot on cold was creating a bunch of condensation along that wall, completely saturating the wall and creating the perfect breeding ground for mold.

Now that we had a cause for the mold, it was time for the solution. Since we had already went through mold remediation and allowed for the walls of the attic to dry out, we were ready to move forward with preventing this from happening in the future. Beginning with insulating the warm air duct in the attic. Once that was completed, we had the entire attic sprayed with a latex sealer that will prevent mold from growing in the attic as well as act as a insulator for the attic (and increasing our home value! Cha-ching!).

attic liner

Talk about an ordeal! Thankfully, we didn’t have to pay a dime for any of the services rendered in eradicating our little huge mold problem- our builder picked up the tab because it was all covered under our one year warranty! New house for the win! Now we are still waiting on having all the insulation replaced in the attic (and a free carpet cleaning…!), but we’re just ecstatic that all the mold is gone! For good!

Have any of you homeowners out there had any uninvited visitors in your home- of either the critter or mold kind? What did you do to get rid of the buggers? We were certainly surprised by ours, and as new homeowners we never would have guessed that our unwelcome guests would be mold! We’re certainly glad that we’re in the homestretch of this adventure, and we’re eager to reach the finish line!

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6 thoughts on “An Unwelcome Visitor

  1. Yikes! That black mold looks scary indeed…I’m so glad to hear that they’re taking care of it all – – both in fixing the problem and paying for it. We had some unwanted visitors in our attic crawl space this past winter: possums! Thankfully, our property manager got pest control to trap them and then seal up the hole. No more pitter patter from the ceiling above our bed at night!

    • Yes! Scary indeed! Thankfully they are coming today (!!!) to replace the insulation so we can move forward with all of our DIY’s that we would like to do this summer! Although, if we had to do it all over again, I would take the possums over the mold- at least they’re kind of cute! 🙂

    • Icky is right! I’m so glad that we’re almost done with it! The insulation guys are coming today to replace the old with some new fluffy insulation! Yay! I hope you didn’t have a horrible experience with mold- I certainly wouldn’t wish it on anyone!

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