Mrs. Moxie is now on house flip number 2. And one issue she knew she had going in – remediate some mold. 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 hired a professional mold removal company and the recommendations below were followed. ~jb
Ubiquitous in nature, hard on allergies as well as destructive towards woodwork, mold is a monster. Mold attacks humans along with seemingly stout structures. Detection often happens too late, causing amplified destruction to areas where even mild moisture exists.
To develop future plans for blocking such attacks, we’ll talk mold remediation – location, isolation and expected documentation.
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 climates vary across the nation, no mold remediation protocol is the same. While your neighbor called in the ‘big dogs’, each situation is different. Every situation, however, carries custom-tailored mold remediation protocols for each particular infestation.
Basic Mold Remediation Protocol
After any water leakage is fixed, documentation begins. Depending on the Level of mold growth discovered (there are five levels), proper respiratory care, equipment along with various preventative measures will be documented. Insurance intervention requires photographs. Video recordings, too, prove advantageous for this problem, especially when documenting for future prevention.
First and foremost, you’ll immediately isolate the work area to prevent spread 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.
With 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. Any structural element that cannot be removed is sprayed with commercial grade antimicrobials. Dry Ice is used to scrub I-beams, floor joists, CDX plywood, etc. (Though other methods of blasting are used). This removes 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
Finally, replace structural components removed during your remediation process. When possible, avoid oriented strand board (OSB) plywood. This product’s triangular pattern allows for potential moisture trapping. Stick with CDX plywood – traditionally, a better product anyway. Use only treated lumber 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.
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 verifies the mold remediation process and ensure no airborne mold spores remain.
- Mold Remediation Certificate – If a certified mold remediation company performed the job, they always issue a Mold Remediation Certificate.
- 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.
- Anywhere around your home where water pipes originate from outside sources,
- Windows which historically draw immense sunlight, OR
- Anywhere excessive wetness exists.
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 make the entire process much simpler to deal with.
Carl Bennett is a vice president of Above & Beyond Unlimited Cleaning – a New Jersey mold inspection & remediation company. Carl also wrote the post – Building for the Fungus Among Us, which offers excellent Mold Prevention Tips. ~jb
Images via Above & Beyond Unlimited Cleaning.