I think a light bulb went off in the crawl space repair industry and they realized hey! This soda-blasting thing has all the elements of a money maker and could really boost our revenue. Since fungus is mold refer to it as mold, It a perfect fit for fear mongering bolstered by the well established mold hysteria that has gripped the nation, It has urgency because mold is a living organism that is silently eating your home every minute you wait, It’s almost pure profit because there’s little labor and material cost, people will do whatever it takes to preserve their home and they can even use their home to finance this process. These companies will also have visual aides in the form of before and after photos on how pretty and clean your crawl space will look when it’s done. But the question is, is it necessary and does it fix crawlspace mold problems. NO!
After hearing about this during 3 different inspections in the last week, I am compelled to write this article. I’m sick and tired of innocent homeowners getting scammed out of their hard earned money by these charlatans promising to help them save their homes from doom and gloom. The Victim I just left a home where an 84 year old lady was emotionally sick over the news she received from her termite contractor that her 10 month old new construction home is infested with crawlspace mold and will require a $10,000 process of soda blasting to cure the problem. She was at her wits end because the builder refused to accept responsibility and she did not have the money for this treatment. She was so concerned about saving her new home that she had already taken out a second mortgage to pay for this treatment recommended by the “experts”. Thankfully her daughter decided to call us for a home inspection so she could get a second opinion from an unbiased source. We did the inspection and yes there was some mold on the crawl space girder beams but the crawlspace was super dry and healthy. They did not tell me about the soda-blasting story until after I was done with the inspection. She was shocked when I told her the crawlspace was dry and healthy and proceeded to tell me the story of how her trusted termite inspector informed her that she had this horrible condition lurking in her crawlspace but he could save it through soda-blasting. I was appalled that someone would or could in good conscious do this to this woman. I immediately informed her that soda-blasting is completely unnecessary, ineffective and the only thing it would effectively remove is the money from her bank account. I advised her to immediately return the second mortgage loan money back to the bank. She was so relieved she started to weep and hugged me. She was emotionally sick over the thought that her new home was a mold infested money pit but by the time I left she was so happy as if the weight of the world was lifted from her shoulders. In her case there was some fungus on the girder beams. This is not uncommon to see, especially if the builder used wet lumber and did not “acclimate” it before installing. She did not have any other moisture source in the crawlspace and the foundation vents were closed keeping out any outdoor humidity. Fungi require moisture to survive so in this particular case the fungus was inactive and could do no damage. All the wood I tested had 0% moisture levels and the wood fibers were strong. Although her crawl space moisture problems were cured by drying out, it is possible the fungus could reactivate if the moisture levels increased in the future. So I recommended the correct course of action that she have the crawlspace treated with a fungicide. A proper application of fungicide will kill the dormant fungus and inoculate the wood fibers against future attacks in the event that future moisture levels become elevated enough to support mold growth (above 25%). The cost of a fungicide treatment is roughly a couple hundred dollars and assuming the moisture sources have been eliminated is the best way to prevent wood damaging fungi. Soda blasting is great for what is was designed to do which is basically to clean things. Yes it will make your crawlspace wood look pretty but who cares as long as it’s dry and healthy. Some facts about crawlspace soda-blasting. It is a surface treatment only and does not penetrate into the wood fiber where the damaging micro organisms live. It does not remove all fungal spores. It does not prevent future attacks of wood damaging organisms. It does not do anything to remedy the underlying cause of fungi which is moisture. It will beautify your crawlspace wood. It will deodorize your crawlspace almost as well as Lysol. Don’t fall prey to this latest hocus pocus boogity woogity. It will only remove the molding money from your bank account.