Thinking About Renovating? Be Aware Of Mold!
Interior painting projects, kitchen remodeling, bathroom renovation, flooring replacement and window replacement tend to be the most popular home renovation projects.
Most home owners will either take on these projects themselves or hire a local contractor with the hope that such improvements will improve the value of their property. Unfortunately, these types of projects are some of the areas where mold is most prevalent.
One of the core services that MSZ offers is our contracting service. We decided to add this service because many Do It Yourselfers that take on a renovation project, rarely understand the risks of mold and even if they do, they do not know how to ensure that the mold contamination is contained.
The risk you face by hiring a contractor that is not aware of the risks posed by mold could cost you thousands of dollars in mold removal if the contractor inadvertently removes moldy material without setting up proper containment. The worst case scenario is the mold spores get into your HVAC system causing mold contamination throughout the home. You need to avoid this from happening.
Trish Holder’s three part blog, Blindsided By Mold: A True Story About A Bathroom Renovation Gone Bad—So Very, Very Bad is essential reading for anyone planning to hire a contractor to do renovations. Her renovation story is a perfect example of why you should hire a reputable contractor who can provide you with references. In other words, if you are planning to hire a contractor to do renovations, be sure to do your due diligence, don’t just hire the cheapest option, but the best option that can help you avoid a potential moldy nightmare!
Why You May Have Mold In Your Home!
Where there is moisture, you will find mold because this is the key ingredient mold needs to thrive and grow. For instance, you could have mold growth because of water damage from a leaky roof, cracked shower wall, leaky pipes, and/or humidity that exceeds 70%.
Mold is also prevalent in newer homes primarily because of the energy efficient trend which can trap moisture in. These homes prevent drafts and other cross-ventilation, so it is very important that when weather permits, windows are opened to let in fresh air.
According to some experts, mold could be in up to 60% of homes. Considering this stat, the remainder of this article will provide you with practical guidelines on what to do if you encounter mold during a renovation or remodeling project.
What Should I Do If I Find Mold?
If you find mold while knocking down drywall, ripping up carpet or flooring, or removing that old bath tub, you need to assess how bad the problem is.
The first step is to determine what caused the mold growth, i.e. what is the moisture source. The source of moisture must be fixed before you begin to address the mold problem. No point in removing mold if the core moisture problem causing the mold is not first fixed.
Once you have identified the moisture cause and fixed it, you could likely manage the mold problem yourself, if the area of mold contamination is 50 square feet or less and just a few patches on the wall. Keep in mind, if you are unsure, call a professional to assess the situation first and it is definitely worth the investment to get a formal mold inspection or air quality test at this point as well. Better to be safe than sorry.
If you decide to remove the mold yourself, then your primary objective is to prevent cross contamination. Containment of the area of mold growth is essential. It is also very important that you keep safety in mind; wear protective goggles, rubber gloves, and a dust mask.
If the mold contamination is on porous materials, please do not treat the material with bleach, this will simply make the situation worse because you are adding further moisture which is what mold needs to grow. Further, bleach can be toxic and needs to be used with care.
The rule of thumb when the mold has contaminated porous materials, like ceiling tiles, carpet, underpad, drywall, etc. is to double bag it and dispose of it properly. Remember, containment is essential to prevent cross contamination into other areas of your home.
If the contamination is on non-porous materials, then you could scrub or brush the mold or mildew off. We also recommend that you use a HEPA vacuum to prevent particulate matter from becoming airborne and further contaminating the indoor environment. You should also visit your local hardware store and purchase an anti-microbial solution that you can spray on non-porous surfaces to prevent future mold growth.
As a final note, DO NOT ignore your mold problem for two key reasons. First, the potential health concerns like asthma and sinus infections that mold causes. Second, if you allow the mold to continue to grow and feed on your home, it will harm the home’s structural integrity and have an impact on the property’s value.
Tips To Prevent Future Mold!
Once you have dealt with the mold problem, here are some further mold prevention tips.
- Fix cracked foundations, damaged roofs, warped window panes or eroding tile grout to prevent moisture intrusion.
- During renovations, ensure vapour barriers and insulation are in good condition and properly placed.
- Dry or replace flood or leak-affected materials as quickly as possible; if wet materials are dried within 24 hours mold will not grow in most cases.
- Visit your local hardware store and purchase a hygrometer. This will enable you to monitor your home’s humidity levels. To prevent mold, maintain relative humidity levels between 30 and 50 percent.
- Weather permitting, open windows and doors to allow fresh air into your home. This will create cross-ventilation and reduce indoor mold spore counts.
- Prevent condensation-related moisture by properly sealing windows and insulating cold water pipes and air conditioning vents.
- To ensure that water flows away from the foundation of your home, clean and repair your eaves troughs and downspouts regularly.
- Be diligent and monitor the areas of your home that are most likely to develop mold–bathrooms, kitchens, basements and attics. If you smell a musty, earthy smell, there could be hidden mold. Also look for visual clues like surface discoloration.
- When you are cooking or showering, turn on the fans to prevent excess moisture. We recommend that you keep your bathroom fan running for at least one hour after the shower is used. This will prevent humidity and condensation issues.
Questions? MSZ are mold inspection, detection, and removal experts. We have the training and experience to tackle any mold problem, big or small. Let us assess the project. We have contracting experience and will ensure that any potential mold problem is handled professionally. For peace of mind, give us a call, 1-403-978-7978 or send us an e-mail.
Are You Aware Of The #Mold Risk During Renovations?: If you are thinking of renovating your home, this article is essential reading because it gives you practical advice on how to avoid costly mold headaches!
— MSZ Restoration (@mszrestoration) September 16, 2015