I Have Mould in My House...What Do I Do?

Mould is a fungi that can grow on building materials in homes or other buildings. Mold and mildew need a damp and moist environment to establish themselves and thrive. Mould can be hidden – it has often spread without the knowledge of the homeowner because of damp dark areas that are not frequently checked. It can be found in:

  • Basements and crawl spaces
  • Kitchens (bottom of fridge), bathrooms, laundry room
  • The underside of carpets and pads
  • The surface of walls behind furniture where condensation forms
  • Front & back side of drywall, wall paper or paneling
  • Inside HVAC systems & duct work

People living with mould and damp conditions are more likely to have:

  • Eye, nose and throat irritation
  • Coughing and phlegm build-up
  • Wheezing and shortness of breath
  • Worsening of asthma symptoms

What does mould look like?
Mould often appears as little black circles or white thread-like objects and is usually accompanied by a musty type odour. Keep in mind, that mould will always be found floating in the air outside and in the house dust. It is impossible to completely eliminate all mould and mould spores inside a house.

Size of Mould:
It is important to determine the extent of the mould problem in order to decide on the clean-up procedure. An area of mould is considered small if it covers one square metre or less, medium if there are more than 3 patches and less then 3 square metres and large if a single patch of mould is larger than 3 square metres. Keep in mind that mould can spread very quickly if ignored, so it is important to take care of the problem as soon as possible.

Does a homeowner have to disclose a mould issue?
Mould could be a serious problem and can create severe health issues for those that are living in the home. It is very important that when selling or buying a home with mould, to make sure all parties, seller and purchaser, are fully aware of the situation. As a seller, it is important to disclose the mould problem and what remedies have been utilized to fix the issue to avoid any potential legal problems by the purchasers down the road. If the issue is a latent defect (not visible, obvious or located in an inaccessible area) and the seller is aware of the problem, he has a legal obligation to disclose the issue.

Home Inspection:
It is always advisable to have a home inspection performed if possible. In recent market conditions, many sellers have hired a reputable home inspection company to provide a pre-inspection report to be available to potential purchasers. Note: A qualified home inspector will likely see a patch of mould or moisture in visible areas of the inspection – this is called a patent defect but the mould may not be noticeable if it is a latent defect, as explained above. Buyers should be cognizant if they notice any moisture or damp and musty smells in the home (usually the basement) prior to submitting any offers.

Mould Remediation:
If mould is present, it is also advisable to get the advice of a professional and certified mould remediation company, no matter what size the mould coverage is. A qualified professional with experience dealing with mould and moisture issues will inspect the condition of your home, identify the problems, find the sources and suggest solutions and pricing for remediation in a written report. Recommendations should be provided to you in a prioritized action plan consisting of various options on how to address the specific moisture and mould problems in your home. When you hire a qualified mould remediation company, they will inspect, test and remove the mould providing the homeowner with a Certificate of Removal or a Letter of Remediation upon completion. Note: Health Canada does not recommend that an unqualified person clean up larger areas of mould. A certified and reputable mould removal company should be used in the case of medium and large mould areas.*

(*Government of Canada)