What to Know Before Hiring a Mold Remediation Pro
Mold Removal: Professional Qualifications, The Process, and Costs
We know mold removal can be a daunting task. Where should you begin? And how can you get it done right at a reasonable price?
Well, the truth is that mold removal isn’t as complicated as it’s often made out to be. The right mold professional can guide you through the process while charging a reasonable price.
Any mold professional should be able to explain your mold removal project in plain English. If a contractor is unable to explain the basic processes and steps of mold remediation and mold removal in layman’s terms, be very wary!
If someone tries to confuse you about the process and scare you into hiring them, walk away and say, “Thanks, but no thanks.”
**Note: For the purpose of this article, Mold Removal, Mold Remediation, Mold Abatement, and Mold Mitigation are interchangeable terms that essentially mean fixing a mold problem in a structure.
Hiring the Right Mold Remediation Professional
Mold professionals are licensed and skilled tradesmen, just like a plumber or electrician, so you can expect to pay more for a mold company than a regular handyman. Keep in mind that mold professionals have high overhead costs, such as high general liability and workers comp insurance which also factors into their price.
Hiring a Mold Remediation Professional vs. a Handyman
- Proper safety gear should be worn when dealing with mold. High quality, high filtration face masks are a must, as are vinyl or neoprene gloves. A full protective suit is recommended when using harsh chemicals and for larger mold remediation projects.
- Mold professionals use expensive, professional equipment such as HEPA (High Efficiency Particulate Air) air scrubbers, HEPA vacuums, commercial-strength dehumidifiers, etc. Regular handymen won’t have that stuff.
- Some mold remediation companies also do restoration work, just like a general contractor. Restoration can often cost far more than the remediation depending on the style of home, building materials used, etc.
Experience is also so important. A company that has been in business for 10+ years will be prepared for any situation and will know how to best handle your job.
So, here are Moldman’s tips for finding the right pro to get your job done right without breaking the bank.
What is the Mold Remediation Process?
Do I Need to Test for Mold?
Usually, you do NOT.
If you can already see mold, you usually do NOT need to spend money on pre-testing mold. Plain and simple: you just need to remove it.
Since no visible mold growth belongs in a healthy home (no matter what the type) and all mold should be removed the same way, there is usually no need to identify what types and concentrations of mold you have via testing.
If a so-called mold professional insists that you need to spend hundreds of dollars on pre-testing when mold is already visible, our advice is to be very wary because it’s often a waste of money.
The only time we recommend pre-testing when there is visible mold is when you need ”hard proof” for a negotiation. For example, if you are buying a house that has some mold, it’s probably a good idea to get it tested/confirmed so you can negotiate the price down with the seller.
Once in the home, here are some things you can expect from a professional worth their salt:
- Mold professionals seal off the work area, often using plastic sheeting so that mold spores do not become dispersed throughout the home.
- After mold is physically removed from its source, the air should be cleaned of airborne mold spores using HEPA air scrubbers and air exchange (i.e. replacing dirty moldy air with clean fresh air through simple ventilation or more sophisticated negative air controls for bigger jobs).
- When vacuuming and using air scrubbers for mold remediation, the filters used should be HEPA (High Efficiency Particulate Air). Only HEPA filters are designed to capture particles as small as mold spores. Regular filters will not work and could make the problem worse.
- Mold professionals usually discard moldy, porous building materials such as drywall, insulation, and baseboards. These materials are relatively inexpensive to replace and difficult to impossible to restore to their previous uncontaminated condition.
- Antimicrobial chemicals will be used to clean any remaining mold and mold stains after demolition
- A sealer or an encapsulant will then be used to make the treated areas more resistant to water damage, mold, and also to help with odor control.
Sometimes it is necessary to have your HVAC air ducts professionally cleaned since they can collect dust and mold spores. For more information on duct cleaning, please refer to the EPA Publication, “Should You have the Air Ducts in Your Home Cleaned?”
How Long Does Mold Remediation Take?
While mold remediation can cause a disruption in a household’s daily routine, rest easy knowing that professional quality improvements can be made in just 1 – 3 days.
To sum it all up, hiring a mold professional doesn’t have to be as confusing as you may think. There are plenty of good ones out there. They won’t push for unnecessary testing, will charge reasonable prices, are able to clearly explain what work they will be doing, use professional practices and equipment, and have lots of experience.
Mold remediation costs
How Expensive Can I Expect Mold Removal to be?
No need to take a wrecking ball to the entire house at the sight of a little mold. You can keep the price down by focusing on the area where this is visible mold.
For example, mold on drywall in one corner of the room only needs to be cut out and replaced in that corner.
Yes, the rest of the room (and maybe adjoining rooms) should be cleaned, but only damaged drywall needs to be cut out and replaced.
The price of mold removal depends on the size of the job – they can often be over $1000. But, some mold professionals out there exaggerate the amount of work that needs to be done, driving up the price. If you think a quoted price seems high, we recommend getting multiple quotes to compare.
However, if you get a quote that’s shockingly low, that’s also a big red flag. Companies that don’t do things properly are the only ones that can charge shocking low prices.
Keep Costs Down with DIY Mold Removal
We’ve created a DIY Mold Removal eBook so everyone can easily learn how to identify and approach mold in their home before consulting with a professional.
In some cases, minor mold problems (less than about 10 square feet of mold) in places like a bathroom corner can easily be handled by a handy homeowner with a free weekend afternoon and a few basic supplies from the hardware store.