Mold Remediation

Mold Remediation Begins By Locating and Eliminating Leaks

Mold needs moisture so mold remediation requires finding the source and stopping it. Before treating a mold problem, the leak, or whatever caused the water intrusion needs to be fixed. Mold will return if the moisture continues. Leaks should be dealt with as quickly as possible. Mold can establish itself in as little as 2 days.

Once there is an mold infestation, mold remediation is needed. The sooner the better. Most homeowners can deal with a small area of mold by themselves. Wearing a surgical mask, safety goggles and rubber gloves a limited mold removal is not difficult. It is possible to clean nonporous surfaces like metal, plaster or wood. Porous items such as wallboard, books or fabrics will likely need to be thrown away. Borax, water and a lot of scrubbing will do the job. Clean the infested area until stains are no longer visible. Then coat with white vinegar. See Mold Removal: Should you do it yourself?

Bigger, more complicated jobs, like when mold has infested the ventilation system, means a more involved mold remediation. The job requires the same kind of serious precautions taken for asbestos remediation. This means creating a containment area, sealing windows and vents, cleaning all surfaces with a HEPA vacuum and venting and exhausting air through high-effiency filters. Workers will need to be equipped with protective suits, gloves and respirators. See Mold Containment and Cleanup Practices.

 Some homeowners are more comfortable hiring a professional for a small mold remediation. The minimal cost for a clean-up is around one thousand dollars. There are some projects that have cost over $300,000. In a law suit several years ago a N.J builder was sued for faulty construction on a 20,000-square-foot house where mold had taken over 8,000 sq. ft. of their basement. The courts found for the homeowner, making the builder  buy the mansion back for nine million dollars.
mold remediation specialist at work

a mold remediation specialist at work

Choosing a Mold Remediation Specialist

Since the late 90′s lead/asbestos removal specialists and restoration contractors have lept into the mold removal business. Many are simply not qualified and there are no regulations for mold consultants and contractors. Always ask for references and get lots of them. Require a list of previous clients from any potential contractor.

The NYC Department of Health and the EPA have teamed up to provide mold remediation guidelines. Also, two groups have lists of contractors that have completed voluntary certification:

  1. American Indoor Air Quality Council, www.iaqcouncil.org, tel: (800) 942-0832
  2. Indoor Air Quality Association, www.iaqa.org, tel: (301) 231-8388

Your contractor also needs to provide you with proof that they have mold coverage in their insurance policies. Property owners can otherwise be liable for contractors spreading mold spores outside the work area if they are negligent.

Mold Remediation for Apartment Owners and Renters

Large residential buildings facing mold issues is complicated and can turn into nightmarish scenarios for both owners and tenants. There is the need for a partnership between building owners and residents, with clear communication at every stage of remediation.

Whenever these cases come to litigation there tends to be an adverse effect on property values and owners have been known to stonewall actions at the risk of residents health.

All parties need to understand the extent of insurance coverage for mold, including management, board member and residents, each understanding the entire building’s liability policy.

Building management should prescreen their insurance coverage, contractors and consultants to allow for quick action. Mold spores can spread quickly so timely action is critical. Building staff should have appropriate training so there is no mishandling of mold and infestations can be quickly contained and management and contractors notified when a problem arises.