Structural damage caused by water, mold, insurance claim.


Structural damage caused by water, mold, insurance claim.

Recently, we assessed an insurance claim in Regina Saskatchewan where water was leaking from the main floor kitchen. The leak was hidden as it was caused by strain on a pipe below the sink drain Y to the stand pipe and caused it to crack the pipe in behind the cabinets.

The leak went completely unnoticed for a long period of time. The insured only knew he had a leak when he found what looked like mold growing above the baseboards in the basement. Insurance was called and a claim ensued. The insurance company agreed on a scope of work and a price to get the water damage cleaned up and we commenced services.

Once we opened up the ceiling of the basement, we found that the structural integrity of the building was compromised. The I joists had water damage over what appears to be a long period of time. The long term moisture damage has caused the growth of mold and dry rot on the joists.

When we contacted the insurance adjuster to discuss the issues we found, she informed us that they will not be covering any further damages as the damages are not due to the immediate resulting damage from the water. Since there is a structural concern, we retained the services of an engineer on behalf of our client.

A total of three wood I joists were damaged and the wood webs along with the top and bottom flanges on each of the I joists have excessive decay, leaving the remaining wood structure soft. Sections of the web and flanges have been eaten by the mold to the point that they are missing. The rim joist in the area of the damaged wood I joists along with the 2″ x 4″ wood sill located at the top of the concrete foundation wall have also decayed, leaving the remaining structure soft.


Following the engineers instructions, we will replace the three I joists that span 13 feet. The I joists will need to be replaced from the outside as there is no way to twist them in. Replacing from the outside requires us to remove and replace some of the siding on our clients home.

In order to follow through with the engineers recommendations we must have an electrician remove wiring and a mechanical contractor remove the ducting that is in the way. We will replace the existing damaged rim joist and sill plate at the top of the concrete foundation and the floor sheeting.

An annual inspection could have potentially saved this homeowner thousands of dollars in repairs that are not being covered by insurance.


For more information in regards to our inspections and moisture mapping please visit our web site got mold?™

Attention renovations & Demolition contractors

vermiculite - zonolite - insulation

Attention Renovations & Demolition Contractors!

We have a story that we would like to share in regards to contractors making costly and dangerous mistakes when it comes to asbestos. Our hope is that you will share this information with friends and family and help spread awareness. WorkSafe BC put out this video stating that since the year 2000 more deaths have resulted from asbestos related disease than any other work place injury.

We want you to be aware and protect yourself, your workers, your clients and the environment. Some of the issues we run into are minor, others are moderate to extreme.

Recently, OH&S in Saskatchewan released the new asbestos abatement manual and regulations.  Since its release we have been receiving more and more calls with some not so good situations where contractors have employees performing demolition on buildings built before 1990, without first having an asbestos audit completed. In some cases the asbestos containing materials are uncovered by contractors who are aware and realize right away that they must call in a professional, but other times nobody is made aware and this is where things become quite involved.

In some situations the contractors are performing a site visit after one or two full days and sometimes more where disruption of high risk asbestos containing materials have been disrupted. At this point it is possible that the entire building, including the HVAC system would be compromised. Much worse, the contractors workers were exposed to high counts of asbestos fibres, building occupants are exposed and all of their belongings can even become contaminated and along with asbestos fibre disruption comes costly cleanup following OH&S regulations must commence.

In North Battleford Sask, we were called out to assess a situation where a contractor bought a building built in the 60’s for an office space. The contractor came up with a game plan as to what demolition was required in order to properly renovate the building for offices/shop space. The demolition crew was assembled and began demolition over a weekend. Some cinder crete walls were in the way and so they were demolished. When the crew took the materials to the City of North Battleford landfill, little did they know that the City would be hiring a consultant to test the materials for asbestos prior to putting them through the crusher.

A consultant from Prince Albert was hired by the City of North Battleford. The tests came back and asbestos containing vermiculite was found to be present. OH&S got involved and the area at the landfill was hoarded off with danger tape until a consultant was available to write a scope of work and the building that was purchased for office and shop space was shut down. Worker asbestos exposure reports had to be filed with OH&S and testing of the building purchased for office/shop was required immediately.

A scope of work was created by the consultant and got mold?™ was retained by the contractor to perform the cleanup at the landfill. This scope of work consisted of high risk abatement set up and procedures to be followed. In order to follow the scope we were required to build a very large structure to contain the asbestos containing materials, provide a generator, lighting systems, temporary shower for showering in and out and heated water for the shower.

A consultant was required throughout the process with daily air monitoring, occupational testing and clearance testing along with a detailed report. As you can understand, this was a very elaborate and costly cleanup that the contractor was on the hook for.

Key lessons to be learned from this story are the following:

1. Before starting a renovation project, hire a professional consultant to determine whether your home or business has materials that have asbestos in them.

2. Determine whether or not the project will potentially disturb the asbestos.

3. If the consultant finds that the renovation project could release asbestos fibres into the air, then make sure you have an abatement plan in place by working with a professional abatement contractor.

This is just one story, we look forward to passing on more stories and lessons from out in the field.

Vermiculite Insulation and the Dangers of Exposure to Asbestos

Starting way back in the 1920s and running all the way through until the early 1990s, there was an insulation product that was used in homes and businesses across North America called vermiculite insulation. This type of insulation was being used in most homes and commercial buildings because of its fire resistant properties and superior insulation properties. The downside though is that vermiculite has the propensity to release asbestos fibers if it is heated or agitated.

How do I find out if the vermiculite insulation in my house contains asbestos?

You can have a sample of the insulation collected by our team at got mold?™ for testing. You should not do this yourself as it is important to have someone who is experienced in conducting asbestos hazard assessments to ensure property health and safety practices are followed.

What happens if the insulation does contain asbestos?

It has to be removed. This type of abatement is a high risk asbestos abatement that requires OH&S notice of project, which is 14 days’ minimum notice to OH&S before project commences. A third party consultant is required to provide daily air monitoring, containment pre-inspection, final visual clearance sampling, final air clearance sampling and final report as required by law for High risk asbestos abatement.

3 stage containment with temporary shower including HEPA negative air filtration must be set up to prevent any cross contamination during abatement. All vermiculite and insulation is to be double bagged in yellow asbestos bags, the bags are to be washed and removed through shower/chambers. After all ACM vermiculite is removed the entire containment must undergo a thorough final cleaning HEPA vacuuming/wet wiping followed by visual inspection by consultant. After visual is cleared, entire containment will be sprayed down with fiber lock asbestos glue before final air clearance testing commences and containment is fully cleared for demobilizing.

Should I be worried about my health if I have vermiculite insulation in my house?

As stated in a WorkSafe Bulletin, “Asbestos in vermiculite insulation is only a health hazard if the vermiculite is disturbed and the asbestos becomes airborne. There is no real risk if the vermiculite is sealed behind walls or isolated in an attic. However, inhalation of asbestos fibres can cause mesothelioma (a fatal cancer of the lining of the lungs or other organs), lung cancer, or asbestosis (a permanent scarring of the lungs that restricts breathing).”

Other Vermiculite Insulation Resources

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Asbestos Sampling Advice from got mold?™

We receive lots of calls from people wondering if they can bring in a sample of material to check for asbestos.
To collect a quality sample,  several things must be taken into account:
  • First and foremost, don’t disturb the material any more than necessary and please wear a mask.
  • Asbestos forms “hot” and “cold” spots in insulation, or in other words, there are areas with high and low asbestos levels. To collect a good, representative sample, it is necessary  to take small portions of insulation from different spots and combine them into one sample.
  • Asbestos crystals are heavier than vermiculite flakes. With time, asbestos sinks closer to the bottom of the insulation layer. To ensure that your sample is unbiased, try to reach the bottom of the insulation layer and take your samples from there
  • The laboratory needs 20-40 g of vermiculite (about a size of a full coffee cup) for asbestos analysis.

When your sample is collected, please place the sample into a Ziploc bag and seal it tight. Wipe down the baggie with soap and water Place the sample bag into another bag for extra protection. Label each sample individually. After securing the sample, mail, courier or bring the sample to got mold? and we can save you 25% for your sampling service.

If you do not feel comfortable collecting your own sample we have trained professionals on-staff who can assist in collecting the materials needed to sample. This can save you from possible contamination and disrupting any materials in the home.

Recently OH&S has started giving out warnings that some asbestos is being found in buildings built in 1995 or even later. Have your home inspected before continuing any renovations or beginning any renovations.

To learn more about our Asbestos Testings & Sampling services click here. If you’d like to get in touch with us about having a sample tested or collected, fill out the form to the right.