Mold infestations are one of the major concerns to homeowners and may be a deal breaker for buyers. It ranks close behind termite and roof damage in terms of turning off a potential sale. It is unsightly, has an unpleasant odor, and can be unhealthy to humans.
Some molds merely look or smell bad, but black mold can cause serious health risks.
If you find mold in your home, sometimes you may be able to eradicate it yourself. In other cases, you may want to hire a professional to safely remove it.
Causes of mold
Certain species and levels of mold are naturally present in your home. While that may be a gross thought, you should know what causes serious cases of mold and how to eliminate and minimize its growth.
Mold needs spores, which are always present, humidity over 60%, and food (cellulose). Mold cannot reproduce without one of these three primary elements. Also contributing to growth are poor airflow and low lighting. But serious mold infestations are usually caused by moisture. This could include standing water in crawl spaces, high humidity, or leaking pipes.
You can remove mold yourself
There is one standard to decide when mold mitigation can be handled by a homeowner: It could be a DIY project if the area of mold is 10 square feet or smaller. But you may still want to hire a mold consultant to walk you through the process.
Before you start, remedy the problem that caused the mold in the first place.
You should cover the floor beneath the moldy area you are working on with a disposable tarp.
Proper protective equipment should be used – Tyvek suit, gloves, and a full-face respirator. To prevent cross-contamination, a proper containment should also be installed.
Often, you will smell or see mold. It usually has a musty, earthy smell, like a forest floor, and is green or black in color. It can be eradicated using household items like baking soda, hydrogen peroxide, or vinegar. Spray the antimicrobial mixture onto the mold and using a scrub brush or disposable cloth, wipe it away.
If mold is in sheetrock, you will need to cut out the affected pieces, clean the wall behind the sheetrock, the replace the sheetrock after the area is fully clean and dry. Do not paint over mold or badly water stained sheetrock.
When done, fold up the floor tarp by bringing in each side, and dispose in an outside garbage can.
When to hire a mold remediation professional
You may decide to hire a mold professional if the area is too large to handle yourself. The first step upon discovering mold is to have it tested. An independent company can identify the mold type and offer strategies for safe removal but avoid using the same company for testing and mitigation, as it is a conflict of interest.
A company that offers both services may test for mold free and overstate the results to make money on the remediation. In some states, it is illegal for the same company to test and eradicate the same mold problem.
After the mold is removed, test your home again. This ensures the job was done correctly. The company who does the work should provide you with a detailed report indicating the problem has been properly eliminated and your home is safe from the effects of the mold infestation.
The provided documentation will be important when insurance claims are filed and in the event you sell your home. Without that proof, you may have trouble selling the house or the insurance company may say it won’t cover new claims made.