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Family faces mold dilemma

Published on 07/05/08
By Prentiss Findlay
The Post and Courier

Anyone entering the home of Benjamin and Joy Allen on Daniel Island must wear a protective mask.

At first, it appears a family lives there, like they just stepped out for a while. The kids’ rocking horse and stuffed animals are there. The kitchen is well-stocked. But a large rectangular hole has been cut into a wall.

“This is the worst I’ve found on Daniel Island,” said Tully, owner of Moisture Control Experts of Summerville, the wheezing respirator he wears muffles his voice as he talks about the family’s mold problem.

The Allens paid Tully to test their home for mold when they noticed it growing on the outside of the house. When the results came back, they abruptly left what they considered their dream home on the advice of their doctor. They have been living with friends since May 30.

Tully discovered mold on the inside of walls of the Allen home. That was bad news because the walls are made of porous material that allows mold spores to spread to the rest of the house by the heating and cooling system.

In Tully’s opinion, moisture seeped into the home’s walls, creating a wet environment conducive to mold, because window “flashing” was not properly installed. Flashing is material that fills the space between the edge of a window and vinyl siding that prevents wind-driven rain from getting inside walls.

Tully said fixing the mold problem could cost more than $100,000. He has done limited testing at the Allen home because of the expense. He cut into some walls to evaluate the situation. “You don’t know what you have until you start opening it up,” he said.

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