When you think of mold, you may think of a household nuisance, something that creates a musty odor in your shower. You can easily remove small areas of mold with a spray bottle of Mold Removal and some paper towels. But mold can destroy building materials and create miserable health problems for those encountering hidden colonies or scattered spores. Just like water damage or smoke damage, mold remediation requires a professional touch. Here are five reasons why:
Your problem may be too big to do it yourself
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recommends homeowners handle any moldy area less than 10 square feet by themselves. However, that's the equivalent of a square a bit more than 3 feet 3 inches on each side. A small roof leak might provide that sort of area before you notice, but most serious sources of water damage—flooded basement, storm damage, burst pipes, etc.—can easily cause a far larger mold infestation.
If you have mold, you probably have structural damage
Some mold infestations are due to excess humidity in the home or poor ventilation. But in cases where mold grows after water pours into your home or business, mold may not even be your main problem. Water itself is an emergency. If mold is growing on or in drywall, insulation, flooring or ceilings, they can be structurally compromised, especially if it's been more than 24 hours since they became wet. It could be necessary to remove and replace these materials for safety.
The health effects can be serious
Mold can cause serious health problems up to and including fungal lung infections or poisoning from mycotoxins, but a far more common response to mold spores is a simple allergic reactions. These reactions can range from irritated skin and eyes to a runny nose, sinus problems, hoarseness and throat irritation, headaches, wheezing or chronic coughing and sneezing. Mold can also trigger migraines and asthma attacks.
It's essential that all the mold is removed as quickly and completely as possible, especially if anyone who spends time in the building is allergic, asthmatic or has a weakened immune system. Bringing in a mold removal specialist ensures it will be completely gone on the first pass.
Killing surface mold is not enough
The Centers for Disease Control recommend donning proper gear (rubber boots, rubber gloves, goggles, dust mask) and cleaning moldy items with a bleach and water mixture. But to guarantee safety, mold needs to be removed completely. Allergic reactions and asthma attacks can be caused by dead mold as easily as live mold.
On top of that, mold often grows through or inside building materials and fabrics, so killing the visible mold on the surface leaves the rest of the colony free to grow, destroy more materials and spread more mold spores into the air. It may be some time before you're aware of the full extent of the mold infestation, even when you assume the problem is solved.
True mold remediation—like true water damage repair—requires the full removal or restoration of all damaged materials. A surface treatment can't accomplish that, but mold removal experts with the best training and equipment available can.
Peace of mind is worth its weight in gold
Wondering whether there's mold lurking in your home or facility, continuing to cause damage day in and day out isn't going to help your stress level, or help you return things to normal after a disaster. To have peace of mind, you need certainty, and unless you can be absolutely sure you've found and dealt with every place where excess moisture has given mold a chance to grow, you won't have that.
Bringing in a professional mold remediation contractor will not only give you peace of mind, it may be covered (or required!) by your insurance carrier. Professional mold contractors will work with your insurance adjuster to carefully document the extent of the damage and what items need to be replaced.
For all but the smallest mold infestations, bringing in professionals is the common sense, zero stress solution to get you back to normal as soon as possible.