Q&A OF THE WEEK: “Am I Being Scammed by a Mold Expert?”

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Q: Am I being scammed by a mold expert? I found a 24” x 24” area of discolouration on my garage ceiling after a roof leak was discovered and repaired right away. One contractor wants to cut out the area and replace the drywall. That’ll cost $1200. Another contractor says I need $4000 of mold remediation work that’ll take three days of not using the garage. I have no technical knowledge and I’m afraid of being cheated. Can you help?

winter mold attic hatch
This moldy attic hatch is typical of homes with excessive wintertime humidity. With no insulation above the hatch, the surface gets cold enough to trigger condensation, with mold organisms moving right in because of the moisture.

A: You’re right to be concerned because that $4000 estimate is crazy.  If you’re replacing the moldy drywall, then presumably there’s no need to treat the remaining areas that have no mold. Even the $1200 is out of line for drywall replacement in such a small area. Also, it’s quite easy to kill mold yourself when it appears in a relatively small space like you’ve got. Using a registered fungicide on the mold would kill it completely. Judging by the photos you sent, I don’t think you even need to replace the drywall at all. Wait for things to warm up in spring, kill the mold (Concrobium Mold Control is the best product I know of for this and it’s non-toxic), then repaint. I think you’ll find the discolouration completely gone. Use a stain-blocking primer such as Zinnser’s B-I-N and you’ll be pleased.

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