Maybe I mentioned that Mrs. Moxie is now on house flip number 2.  And one issue she knew she had going in … remediate some mold.  Unfortunately, neither of us had ever personally been involved in a project that required anything more than very isolated action.  … we had a lot of questions.  And then, when author Carl offered to do a post on it, I had the opportunity to ask.  Mrs. Moxie’s project has now has been addressed by a professional mold removal company and it is good to note that this outline was in fact followed.  ~jb

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mold in a petri dishUbiquitous in nature, harrowing on allergies as well as destructive towards woodwork could describe your experiences with one certain monstrosity. The inevitable juggernaut we’ll see throughout our lives, mold, preemptively attacks humans along with seemingly stout structures around the world with ease. Detections often happens too late, causing amplified destruction to areas where even mild moisture exists.   To discover, ameliorate and develop future plans for blocking such attacks, we’ll traverse down the path towards mold remediation location, isolation and expected documentation upon completion.

Defining Mold Remediation

By definition, remediating simply means ‘interception’, ‘stopping’ or ‘diffusing’; simply put, mold remediation entails the spotting, cleanup and future prevention of mold’s formation.  Since different homes across our nation will have variances in climate, no mold remediation protocol is the same.  Whereas your neighbor may have called in the ‘big dogs’ for removing massive mold outbreaks, each situation depends on many different factors, yet every situation carries custom-tailored mold remediation protocols for each particular infestation.

Basic Mold Remediation Protocol

woman showing an inspector mold on wallIf your home hasn’t been afflicted with mold-like spores beginning to form, imagine for one moment the devastating discovery in your basement was just made: mold has formed on your floor joists. Here is an example how one remediation plan may be executed:

  • Pre-Protocol Documentation

After any water leakage has been fixed, documentation of exact steps involved with remediating the mold issues commences.  Depending on the Level of mold growth discovered (there are five levels), proper respiratory care, equipment along with various preventative measures will be documented.   Photographs will be taken for any insurance intervention; video recordings could also prove advantageous for this problem, too, especially when documenting for future prevention.

You can learn more about different levels of mold contamination here.

  • Isolation

First and foremost, you’ll immediately isolate the work area to prevent vindication of contaminants for everyone’s safety.  PPE, more often N-95 respirators, should always be worn during this process.  Identification of common building materials, including what level of cleanup to expect or Personal Protective Equipment to wear, is conveniently found here.  Upon thorough isolation of all contaminants along with areas where affected, cleanup will commence. Before chopping down beams or gutting walls, proper installation of Negative Air Scrubbers or other applicable equipment will be necessary according to chart linked above.

  • Cleaning

mold cleanup man in tyvek suit and respiratorWith proper containment facilities arranged (pod, portable containment unit, etcetera), anything which has been destroyed should be bagged and transported properly to dumpster or dump truck while salvageable items need stored in said containment facility.  Anything which cannot be removed, such as I-beams, floor joists, CDX plywood or the likes should be sprayed with commercial grade antimicrobials while being scrubbed (dry ice and other methods of blasting can be used). This will remove remaining particles naked to human vision while preventing further growth on these surfaces.

Next, you’ll need to HEPA Vacuum all the surfaces, which removes all remaining moisture, mold fragments and anything relevant to microbial sprays which you’ll perhaps leave behind.  This dries the surface and prepares for next phase of rebuilding.  Finally, you’ll encapsulate all visible services, including remaining wood beams, with a mold-resistant encapsulating paint, when there is a fear potential future outbreaks. These paints have up to 10 years of proven impassibility

  • Rebuilding

Finally, any structural components removed during your remediation process must, obviously, be replaced.  When possible, try not to use cheaper oriented strand board (OSB) plywood since these are generally made using triangular patterns, allowing too much potential moisture trapping.  Stick with CDX plywood, traditionally, just made better.   Treated lumber should be used on exterior surfaces, as always.

Check all insulated areas for proper installation.  Finally, make sure all window areas, pipes or anything known to permeate your home with moisture is properly sealed to avoid future issues.

Post-remediation Documentation

After mold remediation is complete, most mold remediation companies would provide you with following post mold remediation documentation:

  • Final Post-Remediation Air Sampling – Final air sampling is required to verify that mold remediation was performed properly and no airborne mold spores are left in the air.
  • Mold Remediation Certificate – If a job was performed by a certified mold remediation company, they always issue a Mold Remediation Certificate at the end of the job – it states the job on your property was done by a professional certified mold removal company.
  • Written Warranty on all the materials used – Some of the materials used during mold remediation process, such as encapsulating paint, comes with a 5 -15 years written warranty.

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ice blasting of moldMold interception before sickness, home destruction, or before neighborhood outbreaks occur simply means understanding the root cause of mold, period.  Anywhere around your home, commercial property or office where water pipes originate from outside sources, windows which historically draw immense sunlight, or anywhere excessive wetness is known to exist could germinate molds relatively quickly.

Since nobody really sees microscopic mold spores, the best tool which combats the mold problem is knowledge.  Understanding molds common to your area, knowing the deadly molds (like black), and what remediation techniques and equipment would be necessary could make the entire process much simpler to deal with.

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Carl Bennett is a vice president of Above & Beyond Unlimited Cleaning – a New Jersey mold inspection & remediation company. For more information about mold and mold services feel free to visit his site, or just leave your questions in comments below.

Images via Above & Beyond Unlimited Cleaning.