Nelson, a much welcomed 2017 addition to the Cowleys team, joined our established construction/home improvement crew. He works on a wide variety of projects including repairing the aftermath of destructive wildlife intrusions, crawl space repair, weatherization of homes through TAP insulation, mold treatment, and other home improvement services. Nelson is systematic, analytical, and thorough in his work and thrives on finding solutions to the most complex repair problems. When, at first blush, a home appears to be in shambles and the damage irreparable, Nelson views the situation as an opportunity and a challenge.
Nelson joined Cowleys with a strong background in the construction trades, bringing extensive experience in home repair and improvement to Cowleys. He comes to us with a decade of experience in fire, water, and mold remediation and an unmatched expertise in the clean-up and restoration process that follows potentially catastrophic events. Homeowners facing severe mold issues will benefit by his keen understanding of the processes necessary to make homes and other structures safe and inhabitable once again. Besides his experience in fire, water, and mold restoration, Nelson is a carpenter and framer by trade, so he can handle virtually any home improvement or repair project thrown his way. He also worked for a number of years in installing all types of insulation.
In his spare time, Nelson enjoys working out to keep him fit and injury-free for the physical demands of his job. As a Long Branch resident, he is a stone’s throw away from the beach and takes full advantage of all of the outdoor opportunities available for those of us lucky enough to live at the Jersey Shore. Nelson also enjoys unwinding and relaxing with his good, positive friends, sometimes going out to the movies or some event, and oftentimes just hanging out and enjoying good conservation over a quiet dinner.
Recently, we were contacted by a homeowner in Freehold, NJ who was having mold issues in their attic. As we equipped our personal protective equipment and inspected the attic we came across a support beam that showed evident signs of mold growth. As we inspected the roof valley we noticed there was a leak. Further inspection of the attic revealed that this section was the only area that had mold growth. Roof leaks cause two types of mold growth; systemic or limited growth. Systemic growth occurs when the roof leak causes enough moisture buildup in the attic to cause mold growth throughout the entire area. The roof leak only affects a small area, but the dampness in the air causes condensation throughout. Limited growth occurs when an attic has sufficient ventilation to exhaust the additional moisture caused by the roof leak, which was the case here. Remember, all mold problems arise from a moisture problem. You cannot have a mold problem without a moisture problem.
First, we applied an EPA registered antimicrobial solution called Mold Abatement Polymer Solutions 1 (or MAPS 1 for short). MAPS 1 targets mold at its cellular level and kills it instantly. Then we apply an additional solution called MAPS 2. MAPS 2 encapsulates the existing dead mold and prevents any future mold from growing. Even though we permanently removed the mold, we advised the homeowner to schedule an appointment with a contractor to repair the leak in his roof. We’re were happy to hear that the homeowner scheduled an appointment while we were removing the mold in his attic.
Recently, I went on a service call to a home in Manasquan, NJ after the homeowner contacted us because of mold growth in his basement. As I was equipping my personal protective equipment to start my inspection, I asked the homeowner about any water intrusions that could have triggered the mold growth. He stated that, a short time ago, his water heater had a small leak, spraying water all over the sheetrock wall. Although the leak was fixed immediately, it wasn’t caught quickly enough, and mold started to form.
Mold is a living fungus that grows by digesting organic matter and spreads by releasing airborne spores that attach on surfaces to form new colonies. In nature, mold is essential to decompose wood, leaves and other plant debris. However, indoor mold poses a serious health hazard. Mold growth can be triggered inside homes because of chronic humidity or some water intrusion, and mold can form on pretty much any surface, from wood and wallpaper to insulation and carpeting. Because mold thrives on water and moisture, any water leak, even a small one, can trigger mold growth. Mold spreads by airborne spores attaching to damp surfaces. Spores in outdoor air can find their way inside homes through open windows or by attaching themselves to anyone or anything entering the home. Short of forming an airtight seal around your home, it is impossible to stop mold spores from coming inside. In fact, mold spores surround us all the time. But just like other invisible allergens, they are too small for us to see!
I began my inspection, and immediately located the obvious mold growth next to the water heater. However, mold growth could attach anywhere once it forms, and to be thorough, I inspected every nook and cranny of the basement to determine if there was mold growth in other areas. Fortunately, the mold growth was localized to the one area near the water heater and no other areas were yet affected. In some instances, sheetrock or other building materials with severe water damage have lost their structural integrity and must be removed. Often, however, the materials just have superficial growth and it is not necessary to remove the materials. Instead, we treat the mold directly right where it sits, which saves the homeowner from an expensive tear-out and renovation project. Here, to the relief of this homeowner, it was not necessary to remove the mold-affected sheetrock.
First, I began treating the affected area with an EPA-registered antimicrobial solution, called MAPS 1 (Mold Abatement Polymer Solutions) that kills existing mold. Then, I follow it with a patented sealant called MAPS 2 to encapsulate the mold rendering it inert, harmless, and nonallergenic. The sealant not only kills the existing mold, but it’s formulated to reactivate to kill any future mold growth. Now the risk of dangerous mold growth, both now and in the future, has been removed.
Recently, we went on a service call to a home in Holmdel, NJ, after the homeowner found mold in his attic, and contacted us to have it treated. The attic is one of the most common places for mold to develop because of chronic humidity issues. Unfortunately, rarely visited attics are also one of the most likely places for mold growth to go unnoticed.
Once we put on our personal protective equipment (mold is a bio-hazard in enclosed spaces!), we began our inspection of the attic. After a thorough inspection, we determined that the mold growth in is attic was due to a lack of ventilation. Here, there was neither an attic fan nor any static vents to create an air flow. Poor ventilation can trigger mold growth. Why? Mold can form by an imbalance in temperature between the air coming into the attic and the air going out. During cold weather, warm air from the house rises, entering the cold unheated attic. When warm air meets the cold attic surfaces condensation occurs forming water droplets, and if cold enough, ice crystals. This moist environment along with a food source, building materials made of wood, creates the perfect conditions for attic mold infestation. Mold will grow on and consume anything that contains once-living organic materials, including plywood and sheetrock.
After determining the cause of mold growth, it was time for the solution! First, we applied an EPA-registered, non-toxic antimicrobial solution called Mold Abatement Polymer Solutions 1 (MAPS). MAPS 1 breaks down mold at a cellular level and kills it instantly. Once that solution dried, we applied a patented sealant (MAPS 2). This moisture-sensitive sealant encapsulates mold, rendering it inert, harmless, and non-allergenic. MAPS 2 reactivates when it gets moist to prevent the growth of any future mold colonies.
Although we successfully removed the mold, the underlying issue causing the mold growth, poor ventilation, still needed to be addressed. Otherwise, there would likely be future mold issues. Improper attic ventilation is a serious problem for homeowners that can lead to very expensive repairs, not to mention unnecessarily high utility bills. After speaking with the homeowner about his inadequate attic ventilation, he asked us to help with the air flow by installing static vents. With a mold problem, homeowners must not only remove the mold. For a long-term resolution, the underlying cause of the mold growth must also be fixed. The mold specialists at Cowleys do both.
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