Lately, the term ‘Mold Remediation’ has been making headlines. Toxic mold, mold contamination, killer black mold, people abandoning their homes, and plenty of other sensational headlines have bombarded our televisions, newspapers, and websites. Once you have had a reputable, qualified company perform a mold inspection to find the potential mold contamination in your home, what do you do? If the inspection company is a good one, you will receive a written report detailing mold remediation steps. At that point, you will need to hire a mold remdiation firm to do the work.
What is mold remediation? How do you chose a mold remediation company? How do you know if they are qualified? Will they follow standard mold remediation procedures? Do they confidently stand by their work?
Mold remediation is a term used to describe the safe and effective method for removing mold contamination from an indoor environment. Generally, the mold remediation process includes the following steps: setting up appropriate containment barriers separating the moldy areas from otherwise unaffected areas, using negative air machines and/or HEPA filtered air scrubbers to exhaust/capture airborne particulates, removal of moldy materials (personal belongings, Sheetrock, insulation, wood, carpeting, etc.), and finally, cleaning remaining materials/belongings using special techniques. Sometimes abrasive actions are needed such as sanding or dry-ice blasting to remove mold from wood materials. EPA registered chemicals and sealants should be used and only in accordance with their documented application methods.
Choosing a qualified remediation company can be challenging. First, ask for qualifications, certifications, experience in the business, references, and if they strictly follow the ANSI/IICRC document S520 Standard and Reference Guide for Professional Mold Remediation. In the past few years, many new companies have sprouted up so it can be difficult to know which to hire; cost can vary greatly depending on the procedures used. Standard procedures and guidelines for mold remediation were published in the ANSI/IICRC Document S520; this publication describes in detail the standards for and actions necessary to safely and effectively remove mold contamination. We have experience with companies that do not follow standard procedures or that cut corners to decrease client cost and the result is failed remediation. Mold remediation is expensive but if done correctly the first time, the money was spent wisely. There are gimmicks and trendy methods (ozonation, fogging, one step spraying with a killing agent, covering the mold with a white paint) to ‘get rid of mold’–these do not work. Old fashioned, labor intensive elbow grease (with some chemicals and equipment) is a must.
GML recommends getting several quotes from mold remediation companies. Their written estimates will detail procedures to be used and the cost of the project. Compare the steps used between companies. There is a good reason why one company would give a quote that is significantly lower than another. If one of the major steps is left out, the cost will be less, but so will the quality of the work. In the end, the mold must be gone, as confirmed by an independent mold inspection company. Sometimes the remaining black discoloration on the wood is called ‘staining’, but not mold, by the remediation company , but this is rarely true. Remediation must remove all signs of mold, black staining included.