Mold remediation, which is the more adequate term for a properly completed mold removal project, is necessary when mold growth is extensive or occupants have conditions which make them more likely to be affected by the mold presence. In some cases, it may be possible to complete a simpler and cheaper method for removal that still follows industry guidelines and keeps the property and occupants safe from contamination. Below we describe the four steps for completing a "true" mold remediation along with photos of each step and some notes of how the company you hire can do a little more for you.
Step One - Containment
A containment is created around the area in which the mold growth is expected to be found. Additionally, a machine is used which controls the flow or air at the same time that it filters such air. Also, a decontamination chamber is created which is used for entering and exiting the containment area by the workers and for cleaning all items before moving them out of the containment area. The purpose of having this containment set-up is to... well "contain". Following this process assure that no contaminants are being released into other areas of the property (other parts of the building or into the HVAC system). When done properly, it is perfectly safe for individuals to live in and/or occupy the building while the work is being performed. We make a very concerted effort to set up the layout of our containment in the way which will have the least possible impact on your activities.
Step 2 - Removal
- Removal of non salvageable items must be performed. Mold becomes dormant rather than dying. Mold can continue to be damaging to health even when "dead" and will continue to grow and damage the structure as soon as it contacts moisture. In many ways mold can be compared to a plant. It has root-like components that it uses to feed on organic material. Therefore, mold cannot be simply cleaned off certain materials. Materials made from organic material (wood, paper, cardboard, plywood etc) which are not dense usually cannot be saved and therefore must be removed. These items must be removed from the area in a way that will not contaminate the rest of the property. We make every effort to truly only remove what is absolutely necessary in order to keep the damages minimized and the repair costs down. We do this by taking additional steps other companies would likely not take (because it makes the job much more difficult) such as: removing only the portions of a cabinet that have mold growth while supporting and saving the counter-top, detaching portions of a cabinet which are salvageable so that these parts can be reused, spending additional time on sanding/cleaning those items that can possibly be saved.
Step 3 - Sanding Salvageable Materials
All materials, which can be salvaged, with some mold growth on them or that are wood and exposed, are sanded down. The more items can be "sanded" rather than removed, the more you can keep your costs down. Although we use the term "sanding", in reality these materials are "grinded" down with heavy abrasives. This process is very detailed with grinding even behind cables and pipes and in small corners and crevices of wood framing. There has not been one single project in which the customer has not been surprised at how clean the saved materials/components are.
Step 4 - Final Cleaning
Literally every square centimeter of all surfaces (walls, ceiling, plastic, wall framing, floors, lights, cables, pipes etc) within the containment area and in the decontamination chamber is HEPA vacuumed and wiped with an anti-microbial. Mold organisms are microscopic. You can fit 3,000,000 to 30,000,000 mold spores on the surface of a U.S. quarter depending on the mold type. Therefore, the cleaning performed is very detailed and performed in a specific sequence. Further, the type of vacuum used must be a HEPA rated vacuum so that these microscopic organisms are captured rather than re-disbursed.