Got Mold? Here’s How to Handle It.
Experience tells us that mold may be an issue in approximately 1 in 20 homes that we remodel. Thankfully, mold is less prevalent in New England than in other parts of the country, but it unfortunately still creeps up more often than we’d like to see.
Taking a proactive approach to preventing mold isn’t just about the money – it’s about your health. If mold buildup goes unnoticed, you, your family members, and your pets could experience allergy or flu-like symptoms, headaches, nosebleeds, and more. In most areas around New England, it’s best to have a professional evaluate your home annually, but in the intervening months, it’s still important to keep an eye out for any looming problems.
Is Your House Properly Ventilated?
The most common types of mold grow in warm, humid, or damp areas of the home. Think bathrooms, under the sink, the basement, and anywhere around plumbing pipes. Having proper ventilation around these areas is one of the most effective ways to prevent mold growth. Without it, humidity can lead to condensation – and mold loves condensation. If you notice frosted windows, hot or cold spots, or rust, it’s time to call a pro.
Moisture Means Mold
Water is another red flag. Any standing water, residue from flooding or broken pipes, or even water stains on drywall could result in mold. Check out the timeframe for how quickly mold can develop from untreated water damage in iPropertyManagement’s “Water Damage Statistics” report. While you might be able to spot signs like bubbles in your wall paint or peeling wallpaper, there are plenty of problems you might not be seeing. At JM Construction, it’s not unheard of for us to find mold once we open up walls as part of a renovation. (That just goes to show how sneaky mold growth can be!) When this happens, we call our friends at Indoor Doctor or ASAP Environmental, who both perform thorough mold inspections.
Removing the Mold
If you’re concerned about mold, there are two separate types of professionals to contact: mold inspectors and mold remediators. Due to potential conflicts of interest, it’s important to deal with separate inspectors and remediators.
Mold inspectors, as their title indicates, assess your home for mold growth and identify the sources of moisture or humidity that created the situation in the first place. They may even collect samples to identify what type of mold is growing, which can have an impact on the next steps.
Mold remediators fix your mold problem – that’s a bigger task than it may seem. Because toxic spores are released from physical stimuli, remediators have to first contain the mold. If the growth is on a non-porous surface, it can be cleaned with hydrogen peroxide (not bleach!). Otherwise, the surface would have to be removed. Once the problem area is removed, all affected items like furniture, floors, and walls are sanitized. We’ve worked with A-Z Restoration Services and Affordable Mold and Duct Cleaning for years and they both do a thorough job.
While it’s nearly impossible to claim with certainty that a mold problem has been completely rectified, a remediator will provide guidance on how to prevent more growth, whether that’s additional ventilation or repairs to your plumbing. The remediation process comes to a conclusion only after a follow-up appointment confirms that mold has not reemerged.
A Fungus Expert Among Us
Our very own project manager, Mike Ballou, accrued over five years of experience working exclusively with insurance restoration work prior to joining JM Construction. This entailed mitigating water, fire, flood and mold damage. His certifications and training aligned with this area of expertise, having taken OSHA and water mitigation courses and earning LEED and Construction Supervisor License (CSL) certifications.
One of the many benefits of using experienced designers during a remodel is to prevent design flaws that could create problems down the road. They know how to design the space properly now to avoid potentially hazardous issues later. Our article Why Hire a Professional Designer When I Can DIY? outlines the many reasons why hiring a designer is crucial to your project’s success.