If you have mold growth in your home or office, you need to address the situation immediately, or it will only get worse. Left untreated, it can cause health problems for humans and pets who occupy the premises. If you are curious about the mold remediation process, this article addresses steps that professional mold companies employ to get your building back to a healthy environment.
Is All Mold Bad?
Mold is a natural fungus present in the environment. Some molds and yeasts cause disease or food spoilage, others play an important role in biodegradation or in the production of various foods, beverages, antibiotics and enzymes.
Mold is also found in damp building materials where it often appears like stains and comes in a variety of colours. A musty smell is an indication of microbial growth even when there is no visible growth. If mold is allowed to grow in homes or offices it can contribute to poor indoor air quality. If you suspect you have mold growing in your home, it’s important to immediately start the process of removing and remediating it.
In order for mold to grow inside a building, moisture must be present. This moisture can come from various sources. Plumbing leaks, flooding, burst pipes, humidifiers or condensation that forms from poor ventilation in the home can all contribute to mold growth.
When mold is present indoors, it will release spores into the air. These spores are microscopic and usually undetected by the naked eye. They can even enter the building through windows, doors, HVAC systems, or even come in on clothing or pets. When they are in the air, they are inhaled by people and animals who are present in the building. These inhaled spores can cause respiratory issues, allergies and other health problems.
Those that suffer from the effects of mold exposure may notice a marked improvement after they get the mold remediation process in their homes done.
Is Mold Remediation the Same as Mold Removal?
If you notice mold in your home, your first reaction may be to remove it. While you do need to control and address the issue, complete mold removal isn’t really possible, nor is it even desired. Mold is present everywhere, so completely removing it can’t be done. Instead, you need to focus on remediating problem areas with excessive mold growth.
Mold removal is the process of killing mold. But just removing it doesn’t prevent it from growing back. The mold remediation process requires several steps to properly control the infestation problem. It helps return mold level back to natural, normal levels. The remediation process targets mold problem areas to get rid of the harmful mold. You will still have mold, but it will be reduced to a healthy amount that’s common in the environment.
Steps to Mold Remediation
There are important steps required to completely remediate the mold growth and return the environment to a healthier one. Most non-professionals don’t have the knowledge, tools, expertise or protective gear to perform a successful mold remediation. Hiring a trusted professional like St. Louis Cleaning and Restoration, who specializes in mold remediation, is key to getting the mold contained and controlled.
The professional mold remediation process can include multiple steps, as noted below. Some steps may not always be necessary, depending on the extent of the infestation and effects being experienced by inhabitants of the building.
The first step is to come to the home and discuss the problem with the homeowner. We will ask why they think they have mold; i.e., odors, visible signs, illness. We then inspect the area to determine where the moisture is coming from that is feeding the mold. We look for visible signs of mold.
If the mold is hidden (under carpets or in wall cavities for instance) then it may be necessary for carpets to be removed, walls to be knocked through and paint to be peeled away.
Sampling may be required, especially if the building’s inhabitants are experiencing health problems. The samples collected will be tested to identify the specific species of mold present. There are more dangerous mold types that can be very detrimental to health, so the samples can identify the extent of the risk.
3. Water Damage Restoration
Because mold growth is the result of moisture, it is necessary to locate the source of water and seal it off. Professional mold remediation companies like St. Louis Cleaning and Restoration have equipment on hand to use for this purpose. We use infrared scanners and probes to find leaks that aren’t obvious with the naked eye. Once we find the sources of water, we employ the methods necessary to correct the problem. Fixing the issues causing the water will eliminate more water entering the area.
4. Disposal of Debris
If any items in the affected area have been damaged beyond repair, we will dispose of them properly. Examples of items that may not be fixable are porous furnishings that can’t be washed, like mattresses and pillows. Sometimes even drywall has absorbed so much contaminated water that the mold has permeated it, and it must be torn down.
When the water source has been eliminated, the area must be dried completely. If this step is not done properly, the mold will start to spread again. The drying process must occur in a contained area to avoid disturbing the mold spores, causing it to re-enter the air.
6. Cleaning the Area
Once the area has been completely dried out, we will clean any items that are remaining. Depending on the item and extent of damage, we may need to use more intense cleaning products and methods. We will use a HEPA vacuum, a high-efficiency particulate air vacuum, to remove mold from the air, as well as debris and dust from the surfaces.
7. HVAC Cleaning
If our inspection determines that mold sports have entered the air ducts, we will need to clean them thoroughly to avoid the mold being re-circulated through the HVAC system. St. Louis Cleaning and Restoration uses protective gear during the cleaning process avoid inhalation. Most non-professionals don’t have these garments.
8. Repair and Restoration
If you need help with restoring and repairing your building and its furnishings damaged by mold, we can address that as well. We have experts who can clean and restore carpets and furnishings. We can replace drywall, ceilings and floors. We offer expert painting services too. We can perform all these services to restore the functionality of your building as soon as possible.
9. Clearance Testing
St. Louis Cleaning and Restoration will perform environmental testing on your home or office building. Successful testing is necessary to ensure all mold is remediated and your building is safe and healthy to occupy.
To prevent future mold infestation from recurring, St. Louis Cleaning and Restoration will discuss ways to prevent it. We can offer advice on solutions such as:
- Using humidifiers
- Avoiding indoor condensation
- Adding insulation
- Regular drying moisture from the walls
- Adding ventilation (vents, fans)
- Eliminating standing water
- Keeping gutters clean
What to Expect from a Trusted Mold Remediation Expert
If you need to hire a professional mold remediation expert, you need to make certain they know what they are doing and that you’re not paying for inferior work. Don’t hire a general contractor or handyman; they don’t have the expertise and equipment needed to do the job properly.
When you are researching who to hire, ask questions. Professionals should be able to answer your questions so that you understand the process. Don’t be satisfied with “jargon” that they may use to confuse you.
All professional mold remediation companies will equip their staff to deal with the situation at hand. Proper safety gear is a must when dealing with mold to avoid contamination. This gear includes a high filtration face mask, vinyl or neoprene gloves and full protective body suit.
The staff will bring plastic sheeting to seal off the work area to prevent mold from permeating other areas. They also are equipped with tools like HEPA (High Efficiency Particulate Air) air scrubbers and vacuums to remove the airborne mold spores. Regular air filters won’t capture the microscopic mold spores, and could even make the situation worse. They also need to use commercial-strength fans and dehumidifiers to dry the area completely.
Mold professionals will use an antimicrobial chemical to clean any remaining mold and mold stains. They will also add a sealer to treated areas to make them more resistant to further water damage and mold.
Professional mold remediation companies should know the difference between mold removal and mold remediation. Professionals recognize that having low levels of mold in your home or commercial property isn’t necessarily a problem, and won’t promise removal solutions they can’t deliver.
The company you hire should have many years of experience in mold remediation. Their staff should be certified in the mold remediation process. Ideally, the company should also specialize in restoration work, as well. For example, if your air ducts need cleaning the mold remediation process or you need to rebuild drywall, etc.
St. Louis Cleaning and Restoration Is Your Trusted Mold Remediation Company
St. Louis Cleaning and Restoration has been in the business of mold remediation for over 25 years. Our technicians have the experience and tools to determine the scope of the damage and provide accurate assessments as well as action plans for removal.
St. Louis Cleaning and Restoration has achieved many certifications, including the IICRC (Institute of Inspection Cleaning and Restoration Certification). We have an A+ rating with the Better Business Bureau.
Contact St. Louis Cleaning and Restoration today for a free consultation on your mold remediation needs.