A Simplified Guide to Mold Inspection and Remediation
Tuesday, August 9th, 2016 | Categories: Children and Mold, Flooding, Indoor Air Quality, Sick Building, Toxic Mold, Toxic Mold,Indoor Air Quality, Water Leaks | No Comments
Mold clean up and removal is not a “Do It Yourself” type of project.
I often see attempts by well meaning property owners or their handy men that have gone horribly wrong and sometimes someone ends up quite ill with respiratory illness that may take years to treat.
A healthy dose of caution up front can go a long way to protection of both the person(s) doing the remediation and the occupants of the property.
We are providing you a brief mold remediation guide “over simplified” into 8 steps. The novice should understand that inspecting for and removing mold can be an incredibly complex task requiring years of training and study.
General Cautions and Limitations:
If you have mold that covers a surface areas greater than ten square feet, or if you have mold in your HVAC system, the Environmental Protection Agency recommends hiring a mold removal professional to handle the job.
If you have any health problems, especially respiratory problems, it’s also best to hire a professional so you don’t expose yourself or property occupants to greater health risks.
Step 1: Locate All of the Mold
There’s no point only removing some of the mold in a building. Missing a small amount will allow it to grow and propagate and you’ll have a full-blown mold problem on your hands again.
We recommend having a professional test your home for mold as a first step.
Before you disturb anything, especially if there is a health complaint or risk, you should have professional inspection and testing performed in the building with an additional exterior control sample. These samples are critical for establishing a baseline understanding with an independent lab documenting the findings. Costs for this service by a trained and Certified Expert typically run $ 350 to $ 500 for two to three samples with an independent lab analysis.
Although there are tests you can purchase, online and in Big Box Stores like Home Depot and Lowes, they are notoriously inaccurate and generally provide little clarity in understanding the issues, locations or causes of mold growth.
Professional inspections and test(s) are far more accurate and detailed.
Check for mold in every room of your house, paying particular attention to any damp areas and any areas that have a musty odor or exhibit signs of previous water damage.
Keep in mind that mold can be found growing under carpet or other floor coverings, above ceiling tiles, inside walls, and inside heating and air conditioning ducts.
Volunteer Inspectors are professional, trained and insured specialists that provide a full evaluation of commercial and residential buildings that provide reports and solutions.
Step 2: Prepare and Assemble Your Supplies
1. Antimicrobial Chemicals
2. Sponges / buckets and cleaning supplies.
3. Tyvek Suits (We wear full head to toe versions)
4. A full face respirator equipped with N-95 or P-100 filters.
5. Heavy gauge plastic sheeting.
6. Painters tape (3” Wide or more)
7. Demo Materials like hammers, screw drivers, utility knives,
8. Pump up sprayer or fogger.
Chlorine / Bleach Warning: It is (Incorrect) conventional wisdom to use chlorine bleach products to kill mold. Chlorine Bleach does not kill mold on porous or organic surfaces and is highly toxic to use indoors. Do not use chlorine products on any indoor surfaces.
Antimicrobial wash chemicals, specifically formulated for indoor use, on mold are generally safe to use in doors. Read the manufacturers labels carefully and do not mix chemicals.
Use sheets of heavy plastic and tape to seal off your work area, heavy plastic bags for removing moldy materials, an N-95 face mask properly fitted to seal to your face, gloves and other protective clothing like a Tyvek Suit, a spray bottle of water, and a scrub brush or rag for cleaning moldy surfaces. You may also need disposable paint brushes and a product for encapsulating mold, like Foster 40-50.
We also recommend a vacuum with a HEPA filter, especially if you’re performing mold remediation over a large area. In addition, you’ll need whatever tools and materials are necessary for removing and replacing moldy materials that cannot be cleaned, such as new drywall or new carpeting and the tools to install it.
Step 3: Prepare the Work Area
Start by creating a NEGATIVE Pressure Environment by shutting off the HVAC systems in the building and using a professional air scrubber or fan s
ystem to draw air out of the room to a direct exterior area with plenty of fresh air. This precaution is essential to insure that no mold spores get into the rest of the house.
Remove any personal items from the area, or if items cannot be removed, cover them completely with sheets of heavy plastic so they do not become contaminated with mold.
Start laundering all of the materials like bedding, window coverings, clothing and the like.
To prevent the spread of mold spores from your work area to other areas of the home, seal off the area in which you will be working with sheets of heavy plastic and extra wide painters tape.
Tape plastic over any heating or air conditioning vents, as well.
Step 4: Wear Protective Gear
Wear your protective gear before beginning mold remediation, including an N-95 face mask, gloves, hair and shoe covers, and clothing you will either dispose of or launder in hot water as soon as you’re done working. In some cases a Tyvek Suit is necessary.
Step 5: Remove Moldy Materials That Cannot Be Adequately Cleaned
Spray moldy materials like drywall or carpeting lightly with a spray bottle of water before removing them in order to minimize the risk of mold spores being dispersed into the air. Using a vacuum with a HEPA filter while cutting into moldy drywall or similar materials will also help prevent mold spores from being dispersed during the process. Seal them in heavy plastic trash bags before carrying them through the house for disposal.
Step 6: Apply Fungicide to Materials That Can Be Adequately Cleaned
Apply a fungicide to non-porous materials, like metal, tile, bathtubs, sinks, and countertops, either using a spray bottle or with a rag. Use a scrub brush or rag to remove mold. For porous materials that cannot be removed, like wooden studs in the wall, remove as much mold as possible.
Sometimes sanding the wood is necessary to remove mold, but this should only be done by a trained professional because it tends to disperse large amounts of mold spores
Step 7: Encapsulate Any Areas of Mold on Materials That Cannot Be Adequately Cleaned or Removed
Sometimes mold is found on porous surfaces that cannot be fully cleaned but that also cannot be removed, such as the wooden studs inside a wall. After removing as much mold as possible and cleaning the surface as well as you can with a fungicide, use a disposable paint brush to apply an encapsulating produce like This goes on like paint, but unlike regular paint, it seals in any remaining mold so that it cannot continue to spread. It also contains antimicrobial ingredients that help kill and repel mold.
Complete any repairs, such as replacing carpeting or drywall that had to be removed.
Contact Volunteer Inspections for complete guidance and Professional Service.