Any Home Can Have A Mold Problem
Mold is a pervasive problem. Over the years after looking at thousands of properties of various shapes, sizes, quality of construction and inherent problems, you would think that I would have found that better, and much more expensive, built homes would have an advantage when it comes to water intrusion and mold consequences.
The truth is that generally that is not the case, and more frustratingly for the Homeowner of these homes, many times the damages are much more expensive. In this blog I give as an example a very expensive home in an exclusive neighborhood in Windermere, FL that we were recently involved with. In this particular case, because of the high quality finishing materials being used in a Master Bathroom (granite & marble), the source of the water was well hidden (shower pan) as well as the extent of the damage.
As you can see the Bathroom had no signs that there was a problem until the Homeowner finally noticed a couple of wood planks on the floor cupping. Even this visual damage to the planks was delayed because the wood floor had been installed over a plywood subfloor and moisture barrier over the concrete slab. Again, very well done construction and installation. SERVPRO went out to take moisture readings with a hammer probe of the wood flooring, and more importantly, the plywood subfloor underneath it.
This revealed that unfortunately the water had travelled much further under the plywood flooring than originally thought (wet plywood = mold). SERVPRO went ahead and presented a mold remediation estimate for the client based upon the few visible clues we had along with the moisture meters available. The problem the Homeowner and the Insurance Company had was that all the granite & marble was matching as well so there was an initial hope that this could be saved. Unfortunately, this was not the case. The water, mold and demo that needed to eventually occur ended up being very extensive.
While this was horrifying to the Homeowner, the other added unexpected surprise was signs of extensive termite damage. This was all found in the wood studs supporting the shower walls (behind drywall and granite). This termite damage had compromised the structural integrity of the extremely heavy granite supporting walls and a light soffit area above it. If this had not been found in a timely fashion, the possibility of structural collapse was possible.
Fortunately for the Homeowner, all of this damage was taken care of by Homeowner’s Insurance. I need to remind you however, that this Bathroom was immaculate and well-constructed. This water intrusion, mold and termite infestation and damage had probably been going on for years. The only clue that this was happening was a couple of small wood planks near the shower that was cupping (maybe 6-8 square inches). It would have been easy for the Homeowner to just write-off this cupping as just water coming off of their feet when exiting the shower. Most people would.
For those people that are reading this, who just happen to own Homes that would fit into the multi-million dollar mansion category, it is important to look at the small clues whenever possible. It is the nature of the expensive floor and wall coverings to be multi-layered and therefore makes it hard to find a problem that would normally be inexpensive to resolve if found quickly. There is no solution I offer to you in these types of situations except to always be wary and observant in your homes in any place where there is regularly running water and drains (Kitchens, Bathrooms, Utility Rooms, etc.).
*Photos for this Job are located in the Before and After section