Hidden mold damage to baseboard in Louisville, KY
6 Mold Remediation Tips
If you’re wondering about possible mold in your home, the good news is you already own two pieces of test equipment – your eyes, and your nose. If you can see it, obviously the answer is yes. If a musty odor has been bothering you lately, the answer is almost certainly another yes.
Besides your own sight and smell, symptoms of mold allergy in yourself or family members can indicate a mold problem. These symptoms include coughing and wheezing, watery, itchy eyes, rashes and a runny nose. At this point a professional test might be warranted, if only to find out how far the mold has spread, and to identify the moisture source.
Identifying and eliminating the moisture source is step one. Otherwise you’re just treating the symptoms. Keep in mind that the moisture source might be quite a distance from where the mold is growing. Moisture sources can include a leaky pipe, a leaky roof, interior condensation, or a breached exterior wall, especially if the exterior wall is made of a pressed wood-particle product. Once the moisture source is eliminated we begin drying the general area using XL dehumidifiers.
If you’ve determined the mold damage is not extensive, say less than five square feet or so, then you can move ahead with repairing the damage yourself. Homeowners should call Louisville Carpet Cleaning & Flood Restoration at 502-585-2444 if over 10 square feet of mold is present.
At the minimum you’ll need vinyl or neoprene gloves, 6 mil garbage bags, 6 mil plastic sheeting, duct tape, a drywall saw, a mold filtering face mask, a HEPA Vac, negative air machine and finally a mold eliminator. All supplies, including the mold eliminator, should be found at any Big Box home store, and most larger hardware stores. A stud finder would also be useful. Be sure to wear long pants and a long-sleeved shirt. You might want to cover your hair, even if you just wear a baseball cap, EYES?
If the room with the mold can’t be shut off from the rest of the house use the plastic sheeting to cover the openings to other rooms. If your house has an open floor plan with vaulted ceilings consider using 2×2 boards to construct a containment room of plastic sheeting around the mold area. Not spreading mold spores to other sections of the house is very important. Turn on the negative air machine before you begin to removal process.
Begin by spraying your mold eliminator directly on the mold to reduce spreading. Use a HEPA Vac with a new HEPA filter to remove mold spores. Then remove the affected drywall with the saw. (A drywall saw is a simple hand tool, like a pruning saw.) Sawing through the drywall is easy, but be sure to wear work gloves over the vinyl gloves. Simply push the tip of the saw into the drywall to get an initial grip. Start 1 foot past the furthest mold spore and cut a 1 foot perimeter around the affected area.
As you cut put the drywall sections directly into the plastic bags. The less any moldy material is handled the fewer spores will get into the air. If you run into insulation don’t try saving it to reuse, especially if the insulation is damp.
After removing a few square feet of drywall you’ll have a pretty good indication if you caught the mold early. If you did the mold will be confined to the pieces cut out. If you didn’t you’ll be looking at mold on the back of the drywall in the next room. Some homeowners enjoy the challenge of doing a project themselves. Others are hoping to save money with DIY. Catching the mold early or not will often separate those who will continue the job until it’s finished, and those who know they probably won’t. It’s sort of like a surgeon removing cancer. He’ll cut out the cancer, and then a bit more around the area. When removing mold, the homeowner cannot stop short.
If mold has moved onto the studs and sub floor call LCCFR at 502-585-2444. You might want to lightly mist the area as you work to keep spores from spreading. Use a shop vac with a HEPA filter to vacuum the entire work area once the mold has been removed. If possible use a vacuum with a hose long enough to keep the vacuum outside, so the tank is not discharging inside.
At this point begin using an antimicrobial solution on the surfaces from which mold has been removed. The solutions can range from homemade to commercial products. (Caution: In this or any cleaning situation, never mix ammonia with chlorine bleach.) While you might be concerned with toxicity around children and pets, considering the work you’ve gone to you’ll want to use a cleaner that will do the job. Make sure to ventilate the area with a window fan. All dirty air should be going outside.
After applying the antimicrobial let the entire area dry for at least three days. Look for mold that might return. When you are satisfied the mold is gone seal the cleaned areas with a stain-blocking paint, such as Kilz. Take care when removing plastic sheeting. Take it down slowly, folding as you go, to prevent spreading spores.
If your mold problem is to much to handle right now, call 585-2444 for professional remediation.