Springtime in Ohio in a beautiful season marked by new growth – flowers, buds on trees, baby birds. Unfortunately, the same April showers that bring May flowers also create the ideal growing environment for mold. Mold will often appear in areas in and around the home where moisture accumulates, especially as temperatures rise and create a moist, humid environment. The home’s attic, basement, bathrooms, and even exterior siding are the most common areas where mold accumulates. It’s important to be aware of the health risks and other dangers associated with mold growth in and around your home, as well as the importance of proper mold remediation once any significant amount of mold has been located.
The Problem with Mold
As a class of species, mold isn’t all bad. In fact, the 100,000 species spread across the globe, appearing on every continent (even Antarctica!) serve to break down massive amounts of organic matter. Without mold, our planet would be overrun with dead leaves, trees, and other plant matter. Unlike plants that create their food through the process of photosynthesis, mold gains nutrients from their environment by secreting digestive enzymes onto surfaces and absorbing the soluble result. In nature, this means leaves are dissolved and absorbed by mold. Unfortunately, in your home, this means the surfaces upon which mold grows – drywall, wood, wallpaper, insulation, etc. – are dissolved. The result is serious damage that could interfere with your home’s structural integrity.
Mold reproduces by releasing spores that float through the air until they find a warm, humid environment in which to land and grow. The mold spores not only create a funky smell, but they also may cause a variety of health problems for anyone living in the home. Allergic reactions, respiratory problems, and even skin irritation are common health issues associated with a moldy environment. For people with weakened or underdeveloped immune symptoms or those with chronic lung diseases, mold can lead to acute and severe asthma attacks. Mold has even been shown to cause otherwise healthy children to develop lifelong asthma.
The Process of Proper Mold Remediation
Discovering mold inside your home can be rather anxiety provoking. Proper remediation is important for ensuring mold does not continue to grow and that your loved ones are protected from the health risks associated with living in a moldy environment.
Mitigating the Source of Excess Moisture
The first and most important step in proper mold remediation is identifying and mitigating the source of excess moisture that led to the mold growth. Cleaning up the mold without solving this underlying issue will only temporarily solve your mold problem. Determining the source of excess moisture can sometimes be tricky. Moisture in the basement may be the result of foundation issues, but it could also be caused by improperly cleaned gutters. Similarly, mold growth in the attic may lead homeowners to assume the attic is leaking or that ice dams have allowed moisture to seep in during the winter. However, excess moisture in the attic can also be the result of kitchen or bathroom fans improperly venting into the attic. If the source of moisture is not readily apparent, it’s a good idea to seek the advice of a professional who will be able to more easily identify the underlying problem.
Assessing the Extent of Mold Contamination
Once the structural issue that led to excess moisture is solved, it is critically important to fully assess how bad the mold infestation is. Small patches of mold can be managed by scrubbing with a 1:8 bleach-water solution. Whenever working with any amount of mold, it is critically important proper protective gear, including N95 masks and nitrile gloves, is worn to avoid inhalation or skin irritation. The EPA and CDC both recommend hiring a professional for any patches larger than 3’x3’, or 10 square feet. Determining the extent of a mold problem is often more difficult than many people realize. In many instances, mold will appear on walls, and homeowners make the mistake of thinking that is the extent of the mold problem. They will clean the walls and assume the problem has been solved. However, if mold is growing on the walls, it is very likely also growing on the back of the walls, as well as on the studs and in the insulation between the studs. A restoration company, like AApex Construction & Restoration, will have the tools necessary to assess the extent of the mold problem, as well as the tools necessary to protect your loved ones (and the rest of your home) from further mold exposure.
Isolating and Removing the Mold Infestation
Properly isolating the area of mold contamination is a critical step in proper mold remediation because it prevents the spread of mold throughout your home. Depending on the extent of the mold problem, different isolation methods are used. For smaller contamination, simply closing the doors and taping off the duct work will be enough. For larger mold problems, the doorways and openings may need to be covered with plastic sheeting while negative air chambers are used to keep the spores from infiltrating the rest of the house. For proper mold remediation, all affected areas should be removed or, when possible, scrubbed clean of all mold using a detergent solution designed to target mold. Affected drywall should cut away, carpet and padding should be removed, and all visible mold, mold-damaged materials, and any musty odor should not remain at the end of a proper mold remediation.
When necessary, the final step in a proper mold remediation is restoring the home to its original glory. This may include replacing affected drywall areas, installing new carpet, and replacing all affected building materials.
At AApex Construction & Restoration, we have the expertise to fully assess how bad your mold problem is and the tools required to protect your loved ones from further mold exposure. If you have discovered mold inside your home, know that we are here to help. Contact us for a consultation!