The presence of mold in an indoor environment is typically the result of things like high relative humidity, condensation, poor ventilation, improper appliance exhaust, water damage, or a combination of these conditions. Whatever the cause, the mold growth should be inspected by a qualified mold remediation contractor.
It’s important to investigate the source of the mold growth, to establish a plan of action for removing it and to repair the moisture problem that led to its growth in the first place. Often, this may require enlisting the services of other contractors. For example, if you need waterproofing, weatherization, air sealing and insulation, you may need to consult other contractors. While there is a ton of quality information about mold remediation available on the Internet, there is an equal amount of misinformation.
If you want to successfully and safely remove mold from your home, there are three simple steps: inspection, remediation and air quality testing
In addition, you must make sure there’s proper upkeep of the home even after the mold removal is complete to prevent mold regrowth in the future.
These steps have been compiled from a variety of authoritative sources, from contractors and professional mold inspectors to an endless number of online articles from reputable experts. Unfortunately, so much information can leave a homeowner feeling more confused than informed. Because of this, we’ll discus what the right steps are and what you need to avoid.
A common misconception is that it’s effective to use a combination of bleach and water to kill mold. Mold spores are very difficult to kill with chemical applications. Bleach is quite ineffective at killing mold and even in a dead or inactive state mold can still be a respiratory hazard. Mold produces mycotoxins, which are secondary metabolites (not involved in primary functions of an organism) that are capable of causing illness and disease in humans and other animals. This is why a physical removal of microbial growth is needed to ensure a healthy indoor environment. Physical removal can range from hygenic cleaning and HEPA vacuuming to dry ice blasting and soda blasting.
Proper ventilation of a crawlspace or basement will promote air exchange and get rid of any mold spores and stagnant air. However, depending on the conditions outdoors, allowing outside air (which can be quite warm and humid) inside, can actually cause or elevate condensation within basements and crawl spaces. A soft drink can that’s taken from a refrigerator on a hot summer day is a great example of condensation. When it enters the warmer air, water vapor condenses and becomes liquid again on the can. The cooler surfaces of a crawl space or basement act the same as the can. That’s why it is important to keep these environments free of excess moisture. To do so, you can use a dehumidifier, but be sure to select a unit that’s appropriate in size for the space at hand.
Never try to cover mold with paint, thinking the paint will seal it. This is a mistake. By not properly killing mold, you allow it to keep growing underneath the surface of the material, which can eventually lead to major structural damage. For example, spraying a colour-blocking primer on roof sheathing will cover stains, but it will not stop the mold from continuing to consume the sheathing. Over time, the sheathing will degrade and cause further problems like leaks and flooding. Therefore, drywall, wood and other high-cellulose materials must be cleaned properly before any sealant or paint is applied to them. Wondering how? Well, dry ice and soda blasting are common and effective ways to remove mold off of surfaces like roof sheathing. Upon completion of a mold removal project, air quality testing can verify that the mold has been completely removed.
If you see what you think is mold in your home, be sure to limit your exposure to the affected area and to seek professional help from mold testing and remediation experts. Mold removal is certainly not a do-it-yourself project, because improper removal of mold can cause mold spores to spread to unaffected areas of a house. Proper containment, air pressure monitoring, and personal protective equipment are essential in protecting both the occupants as well as mold remediation contractor. Identifying the source of the moisture problem, cleaning the mold, and suggesting preventative measures against future mold are all best left to a certified mold remediation professional.