Insulation and Mold

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Old 04-29-03, 12:32 PM
quirt904
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Insulation and Mold

Complicated. Our single family cluster house was built in '97 in New England. We have a poured concrete foundation-deep walk out basement (unheated) that we never intended to finish. It is all well above grade. The developer insulated the exterior walls with unfaced batts of fiberglass. That's it.

A year or so ago I noticed what I later learned to be mold growth on the inside surface of the plywood sheathing of the exterior walls. Town Building inspectors and a mold remediation pro confirmed my suspicion: the developer's use of unfaced fiberglass in the bays permitted moisture migration and promoted mold, despite dehumidifier use. Interestingly, a couple of bays in one corner were insulated with faced batts folded over one another, so that corner looked like the rest of the basement. But there is no mold in these bays.

I am about to try to get the developer to correct the problem, which may cost $5000 or more. But the house was built almost six years ago, and people tell me, you're out of luck, bub. it's too late. He'll just laugh at you. I wonder, though. If I can prove that the insulation job violated common practices at the time it was done, I might have a shot in Small Claims Court. Anyone have any relevant thoughts?
 
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Old 04-29-03, 02:33 PM
R
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The builder in my opinion has a problem. The truth here is you stand a very good chance of losing your home. Since insurance companies cannot specifically exclude mold, they just refuse to insure a house with known mold problem in it. If that happened, your bank would recall the mortgage.

The builder's defense will be that most people intend to finish the basement and by using unfaced insulation gives you the opportunity to electrical wire and heat the basement more easily. Making the assumption that you would finish the basement without informing you of the consequences by itself makes him at fault.

You have several ways to get him to pay for all or a portion of the costs to repair. First contact the manufacturer of the fiberglass insulation and ask what is there recommendation for an application of their product in your situation. Then ask them why. They will tell you that a vapor barrier must be applied and they will give you a reason. But the real reason why a vapor barrier should be applied in your situation is because fiberglass has a very low absorbancy and high expulsion rate towards moisture. The probability of condensation occurring with unfaced fiberglass insulation in your situation is very high.

Then contact the contractor and tell him the information you learned and you want him to pay for repair. Under the contract you signed with him, he has the option to choose a contractor to do the work. Don't argue with that because he'll win. And it doesn't matter as long as the problem is solved.

If he has the audacity to laugh at your request, search the web for mold remedial lawyers. Juries sympathize more with homeowners than builders.
 
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