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. And the right mold professional can guide you through the process while charging a reasonable price.
So here are Moldman’s tips for finding the right pro to get your job done right without breaking the bank.
Do I need to test for mold?
Answer: Usually, you do NOT.
If you can already see it, 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.
How expensive can I expect removal to be?
- Price of mold removal depend 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 shockingly low prices.
- 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.
- Wanna keep things really cheap? Do it yourself! 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. For more information, see our previous post on the subject: Do I need a Mold Remediation Professional?
- 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 just on the area where there is visible mold. For example, mold on drywall in one corner of the room only needs 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.
Are you in STL or CHI? Got a mold problem?
What should I expect from a true mold removal professional?
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 complicate and confuse you about the process and scare you into hiring them, walk away and say, “Thanks, but no thanks.”
Once in the home, here’s what to expect from a professional worth their salt:
- 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, often using plastic sheeting, so that mold spores do not become dispersed throughout the home.
- Mold professionals use expensive, professional equipment such as HEPA air scrubbers, HEPA vacuums, commercial-strength dehumidifiers, etc. Regular handymen won’t have that stuff.
- 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, 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.
- Mold professionals will use an antimicrobial chemical to clean any remaining mold and mold stains after demo.
- 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.
Other things you should take into consideration when hiring professional help
- Experience is so important. A company that has been in the business for 10+ years will be prepared for any situation and will know how to best handle your job.
- 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.
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. The good ones won’t push unnecessary testing, will charge reasonable prices, are able to clearly explain what work they will be doing, use professional practices & equipment, and have lots of experience.