Be very wary of contractors or companies who try to confuse you about mold removal or mold remediation.
Understanding the basic concepts of mold remediation and mold removal is not difficult and is essential if you want to hire the right professional at the best price and highest quality. While learning and understanding the basic concepts of mold remediation and mold removal is easy, doing the actual work in the proper way as described below can however be a challenge.
But every consumer who has a mold problem can understand the basic concepts of mold remediation and mold removal without needed a PHD in Biology, Biochemistry and Earth Sciences!
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.
So without further ado, here is Mold Remediation and Mold Removal explained in plain English.
- If you already see mold, you usually do NOT need to spend money on pretesting as we discuss here: Mold Inspections and Mold Testing. Plain and simple: You need to remove it. All mold must be removed and done so in the same way (as described in the next bullet point), regardless of the type of molds identified from 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 its simply a waste of money except in the rarest of circumstances.
- These are the five basic principles of all successful mold removal and mold remediation projects:
- A. Safety – Protect all workers and occupants.
- B. Assessment – Make a preliminary assessment, an assessment during mold remediation and an assessment after mold remediation.
- C. Contamination Control – Prevent cross-contamination and the spread of mold from contaminated areas to areas absent of or with less contamination.
- D. Source Removal – Physically remove the mold at its source.
- E. Moisture Removal – Eliminate the moisture problem that caused the mold outbreak.
- These Five Basic Principles apply no matter what type or color the mold, including “Black Mold” as we explain here: The Truth About Toxic Black Mold: It’s Probably Not What You Think
- No need to take a wrecking ball to the entire house at the sight of a little mold. Focus your mold removal and mold remediation efforts on the area where the water and mold growth is occurring by removing the mold at its source (e.g. on the drywall) and eliminating the water source.
- After mold is physically removed from its source, the air should be cleaned of airborne mold spores using HEPA (High Efficiency Particulate Air) 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.
- Mold remediation does not have to be expensive. In many cases, minor mold problems (less than about 10 square feet of mold) in places like a bathroom corner can easily be handled by the home owner with a free weekend afternoon and a few basic supplies from the hardware store. For more information, see Do I need a Mold Remediation Professional?
- Any mold professional should be able to explain Mold Remediation 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 complicate and confuse you about the process and scare you into hiring them, walk away and say, “Thanks, but no thanks.” There are good honest mold removal and mold remediation companies (like Moldman!) out there as long as you are careful, educate yourself about mold remediation, and get multiple estimates.
- Proper safety gear should be worn when dealing with mold. A high quality, high filtration face mask is 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 seal off the work area, usually using plastic sheeting, so that mold spores do not become dispersed throughout the home.
- The spread of mold contamination should be controlled as close as possible to its source.
- Mold professionals use “negative air” containment, which is created by positioning blower fans and using air pressure machines to bring clean air into the contaminated space and push contaminated air outside the home.
- 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.
- Most mold professionals use some sort of antimicrobial chemical to actually clean the mold and mold stains.
- Mold professionals often use a sealer or encapsulant to make the treated areas more resistant to water damage and mold, and also to help with odor control.
- Sometimes it is necessary to have your HVAC air ducts professionally cleaned since air ducts can collect dust and mold spores. For more information about duct cleaning, please refer to the EPA Publication ”Should You Have The Air Ducts In Your Home Cleaned?”
- 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.
Are you in STL, CHI, or KC? Got a mold problem?
Moldman provides free estimates for all mold removal and mold remediation projects. We also guarantee the lowest prices on all services provided, including mold remediation and mold removal.