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Saturday, August 8, 2015

Mold revisited. How to remediate black mold.

I wrote here about mold in homes in an earlier post; however I don’t think I spent much time on how to remediate it.

Let’s start by establishing that almost all homes have some mold of some sort and that most of it isn’t the dreaded black mold.  Mildew is the most common type of fungal growth in most homes and is as close cousin to the molds that are actually harmful. Mildew is a surface fungus, while true mold will penetrate into the surface of the things that it is growing upon. Mildew is easily handled with common household cleaners, but mold takes a bit more effort and if left untreated for any length of time may require replacement of the wood or drywall that is growing upon. All molds require a source of moisture and something to eat. While we don’t consider our drywall walls to be all that taste, mold loves the stuff and will happily grown on any drywall surface, as well as wood , wallpaper and anything else that it can digest.

So what should you do if you see a patch of mold in your house? You can try to tackle it yourself or you can call in a professional. Since you aren’t an expert on mold types, if it’s anything besides the common mildew it’s probably a good idea to get a professional opinion, rather than panic and move out to a hotel because you think your house is overrun by black mold. There are many types of mold, in a variety of colors and with a variety of different hazard levels in terms of human health. I think it’s safe to say that almost any mold may cause some human reaction, depending upon one allergies and general health.

Recently I received an email from Trica Hall, a representative of the Web Site – a site run by a mold remediation company, that contained the following  Infographic about black mold and how to remediate it - Take the time to browse through that site.

Having dealt with mold issues in many homes that I’ve either sold or for which I represented the buyers,  I can tell you that it is an issue that should not cause panic, just like the3 presence of Radon should not cause panic. Both of those issue are easily remediated and usually at a reasonable cost. There are much bigger and more costly problems that one can find in a house than either of those – foundation issues come to mind.

One thing that I think does deserve some thought is whether to try a DIY remediation if mold is found. A tiny patch in the basement by the laundry is one thing; however extensive mold groth due to flooding is quite another. If you read through the Infographic you’ll notice that the pros come in equipped in Hazmat suits; they bring big HEPA filter with them and large air drying equipment. They also have professional grade sanitizing chemicals to kill off the mold. What are you standing there with – a roll of paper towels and a spray can of Scrubbing Bubbles? That may work for mildew, but not for real mold. And what about your breathing safety equipment? Pulling your T-shirt up over your nose isn’t going to cut it when dealing with mold. If you truly have mold, especially black mold, leave it to the professional to remediate.  For more on black mold and how to find a professionals to deal with it, go to  If it’s extensive black mold this is probably not a DIY job.