A mold problem, especially one that’s discovered during a remodeling job, can be a huge headache. Project delays and runaway costs are a possibility if it’s not handled right. Many types of mold are completely harmless. But some molds release toxins that can trigger serious health issues like asthma, sinus congestion, headaches and worse. Beyond health concerns, the presence of mold in any building means that it is literally eating whatever it’s growing on. Left unchecked, mold will consume the studs in your walls or the joists in your floor, causing structural damage that will only get worse as time goes by.
Excess moisture in any building will cause mold to grow and thrive inside. High groundwater, poor yard drainage, plumbing leaks, or high humidity will cause mold to grow in basements. Mold in attics is very common because so many houses are built with improper attic venting, or have poorly sealed living spaces below which allow warm moist air to enter the attic.
Early detection is critical to preventing a small problem from becoming a large one. A home or building should be monitored regularly for mold growth as part of normal maintenance. Most porous materials, like sheetrock, have to be removed and replaced if mold is found. Wood, with only surface contamination, can have mold removed by disinfectants, fungicides, or dry ice blasting. Any removal needs to be done using proper work practices. This means trained professionals, certified by the ACAC (American Council for Accredited Certification), following industry standards (like EPA guidelines and the Institute of Inspection, Cleaning and Restoration Certification S-520). Work areas must be properly isolated and decontaminated otherwise mold contamination will spread to other areas of the home, causing a major impact on your project schedule, not to mention your relationship with your client.
Mold will (unfortunately!) return unless the actual source of the problem is discovered and corrected. Simply removing the affected materials or treating the area with a mold-inhibiting solution doesn’t guarantee elimination of the mold. To really eradicate the mold, the underlying issue must be found and fixed to achieve a healthy home environment. During a remodeling project, it’s the ideal time to fix these problems. In basements, this means fixing drainage or groundwater problems and installing a dehumidification system. In attics, it’s installing proper insulation and ventilation, or repairing the roof.
It’s important to research your options and go with a capable and knowledgeable mold remediation specialist. While cheaper options might sound appealing, they often backfire and cause more problems (and costs) down the road. Look for a trustworthy, experienced mold remediator with the proper credentials and equipment.
To learn more about mold and the EPA guidelines: www.epa.gov/mold/cleanupguidelines.html