Molds are an essential part of the ecological system as they feed on decaying matter and in consequence, without them we would have a severe issue of dealing with the dead material. Molds belong to the fungus family, do best in warm and moist environments, and do not need sunlight to survive seeing as they do not have chlorophyll. Molds can, therefore, happen to be in the most improbable of places given that there is enough moisture. And since 50% of American homes have unknown moisture problems, then it’s safe to assume that these fungi are present in most homes. Despite feeding on decaying matter, mildews can thrive on almost any surface. In most homes, molds will flourish on drywalls, carpeted or uncarpeted flooring, window frames, furniture, interior insulation, etc. And as they are feeding on building structures, molds can lead to property damage and are harmful to your health as well. They, therefore, should be removed promptly.
Molds can enter your house by attaching themselves to clothes, open doorways, windows, vents, and HVAC systems. However, as stated earlier, it needs moisture to survive, and there are typically three sources of moisture.
Intermittent intrusion – This is water due to condensation, from humidifiers, or inadequate ventilation
Indirect water intrusion – From ‘rising dams’ such as moisture from the ground.
Direct water invasion – Otherwise leaks. Plumbing leaks, poorly sealed leaking windows, or bathtub and shower runoffs.
The principal way to control molds is to control the sources of moisture. By curtailing the volume of water getting into your house, you limit their growth. However, there are other measures you can put in place to control mildews. To begin with, establish the buildings normal moisture level and keep a daily record of moisture readings. By so doing, you will always know when the moisture readings change. If moisture levels soar, work to lower them. You can also track & measure hidden humidity for example in wall cavities, and measure dampness in all affected components to find out if damage has occurred.
Effects of Molds
Health – Molds can cause various health effects or none at all. Some folks are tolerant to mold and damp environments, but this might not apply to all family members. For people who are susceptible to fungi, it can lead to nasal stuffiness, throat irritation, eye irritation, and to some extent skin irritation. The effects are more severe in persons allergic to molds. Molds are also associated with upper breathing tract symptoms in otherwise healthy people.
Property Damage – The nature of mold is to decompose matter; therefore, if left uncontrolled in an environment, mildew will eventually destroy everything it grows on.
Mold removal can be an easy task if the area is small. You can even DIY with just a few dollars’ worth of supplies and the proper gear. However, when the job is too big, it’s better to hire a professional. Hire professionals because they can go into areas you would be reluctant to go into. These include the crawlspace under your house and ductwork in the attics and walls. If left unchecked, these areas could be full of molds which are recirculated in your home through the HVAC.
Now on to the meat of this piece.
Mold Removal Services
Mold removal is an expert affair which calls for a unique combination of skills and ability. Some services are consistent with most mold removal companies. These are mold identification, mold removal, safety barriers and measures, HVAC cleaning, in addition to structural drying and dehumidification. However, there are some services which are specific to exceptional mold removal companies. These assistances include disposal-mold cleanup services, initial air quality testing, and decontamination.
Mold Removal Cost
Various factors affect the price of mold abatement. To begin with, there is the type of mold. Most people only call mold removal companies when dealing with black mildew or smell mildew. However, other fungi are equally disturbing and harmful. They include Aspergillus, Cladosporium, and Alternaria. The extent of damage done by the decay as well will determine the cost as will the area covered. Other dynamics to take into consideration are how easy it is to access the affected parts, and the type of material affected. If the regions affected are potentially dangerous to the workmen, then expect to cough up more money. On the same note, if they are difficult to access, you will have to pay more, E.g., the crawlspace beneath your building. Materials are critical as some are more difficult to work on, unlike others. The last aspect to consider is the method to remove the affected areas. There are four core ways to abate molds: dry ice blasting, anti-microbial, chemical wash and physical removal, which will all set you back a different amount.
Taking into account these factors, cost of mold remediation falls between $500 and five to $6.000 dollars. However, most homeowners report an average price of $2.230 for mold removal.
1. Dry Ice Blasting
Dry ice blasting is an unsurpassed mode to remediate molds. Thanks to the technology in play, it is 60 to 80% faster than the customary sanding or scrubbing. The speed means it takes up less time and labor, saving you, the homeowner, a ton of money. To be specific, a sanding and scrubbing job that would take five operators four to five days to complete will only engage two dry ice blasting operators for a maximum two days.
Another interesting point as regards dry blasting is that it gets into hard to get to places such as crevices and around screws. The equipment used as well has a range of spouts that enables work persons to access tight corners effortlessly. Dry ice blasting is as well non-abrasive and won’t damage electricals or plumbing; it’s also non-toxic and environmentally friendly.
How It Works
Velocity – This is what gives dry ice blasting an advantage over other approaches of mold removal. Seeing as the CO2 is hurled from a blasting gun, the high velocity allows it to penetrate surfaces better and further getting to mold that would have been difficult to get to.
Thermal shock – Dry ice kills molds on contact thanks to its very low temperature. Mildew cannot withstand the -110®c temperatures.
The chief advantage of dry ice blasting is its speed. With dry ice blasting, you can cover more ground than with traditional means of removing molds. The remarkable rate saves labor time reducing the cost. Seeing as it takes a shorter time, it allows occupancy in a shorter time frame as well which is quite advantageous. Another benefit is that it reduces secondary waste and does away with potentially expensive, and toxic chemicals.
The last crucial benefit of dry ice blasting is that it can get into tight corners that would have been difficult to clean with conventional approaches to mold removal. It is easier to clean around screws, nails, and tight spots.
On average, dry ice cleaning will set you back $275.88 per hour. This price consists of labor and equipment. You will have to pay a supervisor $28.75 an hour while a qualified technician will cost you $25.75. Gear will set you back a reasonable $63.25 with the air compressor taking up much of this cost at $28.25/hour. Other than the materials and labor, budget $129.38 for consumables, overhead, and profit.
2. Anti-Microbial Cleansing
Anti-microbial cleansing is the most straightforward & cheapest way to get rid of molds. It works best on non-porous surfaces such as tubs, toilets, tiles, and glass. It can also work on concrete and brick but will not work on porous surfaces such as carpets and drywall.
If the spot affected by molds is less than ten square feet, you can DIY as all you need is detergent and water. However, if the place is more extensive, say 100 square feet, it would be better to employ the services of a professional mold remover compared to doing it yourself. You will cough up $6.71 per square foot to clean and touch-up with the materials consuming the more significant chunk of this money.
3. Removing and Replacing Moldy Materials
Replacing moldy materials is probably one of the better ways to get rid of fungi. It’s best in situations where the damage is quite extensive and cleaning the surfaces is not feasible. Replacing moldy materials applies to porous materials such as drywall, insulation, soft furnishing and ceiling tiles. These covers are impossible to clean thoroughly, and though you can get rid of molds on the surface, microscopic mold spores can remain in the fabric and soon mold will resurface.
Removal of moldy surfaces should be done carefully to avoid inadvertently spreading molds to other house areas. Put on safety gear including hand gloves and facemask to prevent any contact with the mildew and so as not to inhale the spores. As for the area, first cordon off the space you are working on using large sheets of heavy plastic. Cordoning off prevents mold spores from floating to other areas of the house. Most experts’ advice is set up a negative pressure zone which is better at stopping the pores from coasting to other parts of the house. You can use a shop vac to do this. Before you carry out moldy materials, confirm they are sealed in heavy plastic bags so as not to scatter spores along the way. Finally, clean up the dust or debris caused by removing materials using a HEPA filter.
Removing and replacing materials affected by mildew will set you back a reasonable $18.39 for every square foot. Materials, i.e., 1/2” water resistant sheetrock ready for paint costs $8.79 for every square foot. Removing and replacing which includes waste disposal goes for $1.28 for every square foot, while painting is $0.22 per sq. Ft. Cleaning is $0.34 per square foot and removal is $45 per CY.
4. Sanding Moldy Wood
Cleaning rotten wood is a somewhat tricky affair. Wood is porous but to different degrees given the type of wood, making it difficult to clean. However, in most cases, wood can be removed but in the few instances it cannot, sanding is the next best option.
5. Removing Molds from HVAC Ducts
Eliminating molds from your HVAC ducts is a relatively steep task. It requires specialized equipment which most homeowners don’t have access to. Therefore, whenever you are faced with the issue of cleaning molds in your HVAC ducts, always engage the services of a professional.
The price of cleaning your air ducts is subject to the size of the system, the degree of contamination and the ease with which they can reach different parts of the system. However, the typical range is $265 to $474 with most homeowners reporting an average of $352.
emediating molds in your commercial building is more expensive than in a residential building because ducts in commercial buildings are larger and more extensive. Expect to pay $30 to $50 per hour for commercial buildings and $20 to $30 per vent for residential buildings.
Other Factors to Consider
Before mold remediation, mold inspection/ testing should be done to establish the extent of the problem. It should also be carried out afterward to ensure the process was fruitful. Mold inspection will undoubtedly drive the cost of the entire remediation process up. For a simple DIY testing, you can purchase a test kit at any home improvement store for not more than $100. Take a sample, put it in a medium and wait for two days to see if any mold develops. If it doesn’t, it means your house is rot free. However, if it does, you will have to go a step further and have the fungi tested. A typical test and shipping costs sum up to between $30 and $150.
If you want to employ the services of a professional inspector, be ready to cough up $200 to $600 for a typical American home, and up to $900 for a bigger house. However, this cost could go up in extreme cases where invasive inspection is required.
Presence of molds means there is indeed a water problem. If not taken care of, remediation would be in vain as the fungi are bound to come back. Therefore, before rehabilitation or during restoration, make sure to correct the moisture problem in your house. This will undoubtedly increase your cost by an amount that will be determined by the type and extent of the problem. Solving the water problem maybe calls for new plumbing, roof replacement, adding a vapor barrier, etc.
Last, if mold abatement will be time-consuming, you will be forced to pay for accommodation until the work is done.
|Mold Inspection||1 House||$200||$900||$450
|Typical Mold Removal Cost||1 House||$500||$6000||$2230
|Mold Removal Methods||
|1. Dry Ice Blasting||1 hour||$275.88
|Dry Ice Blasting Cost Breakdown||
|Required Gear||1 Hour||$63.25
|Consumables, Overhead, & Profit||1 Hour||$129.38
|2. Removing Moldy Materials||1 sq. ft.||$18.39
|Removing Moldy Materials Cost breakdown||
|Sheet Rock||1 sq. ft.||$8.79
|Waste Disposal||1 sq. ft.||$1.28
|Painting||1 sq. ft.||$0.22
|Cleaning||1 sq. ft.||$0.34
|Removing Molds in HVAC Ducts||1 Standard American Home||$265||$474||$352
|Commercial Buldings ||1 hr||$30||$50||
|Residential Buildings||1 vent||$20||$30||
How to Find a Good Mold Removal Company
Like all industries, you should take precaution to avoid being cheated out of your hard earned money when hiring a mold removal contractor. Finding a good mold remediation company has to do with more than just preventing fly by night contractors but also acquiring the right contractor for you. It goes beyond avoiding losing some few dollars to obtaining a person you can work with, a contractor you can trust, and one who can assure you of top quality work.
The rule of thumb when it comes to hiring any contractor and not only mold removal companies is to conduct extensive due diligence about the contractors near you. To begin with, you can check the better business bureau listings for good mold remediation contractors near you. The BBB ensures that all companies get a fair chance at creating a reputation and you are bound to find some excellent organizations on there. You can also check their online rating and reviews. Pay specific attention to the negative reviews as they can point out some potential pitfalls.
A credible company should have a verifiable address. You can also call to check if it’s a person who answers or an answering machine. Any reputable company will hire a professional to respond to phone calls. Lastly, ask for names of recent customers and call to see if they can engage the contractor again.
The second step to ensure you are dealing with a reputable mold remediation company is to check if they have the requisite certification. Unfortunately, this can be a minefield to navigate as the mold remediation industry has many certifications that are not credible. This means you will be dealing with many in-experienced contractors.
Other than the many certifications that hold no water, other companies offer a one-day online training and later issues an accreditation without providing any real experience. It’s therefore not wise hiring a mold remover who can only give online credentials. However, there are two certifications you can trust; the IICRC and ACAC as they require in-person training. These certifications mean that you are dealing with an experienced contractor.
A reputable mold removal should have pollution control insurance and general liability insurance, and be able to provide them without any problem. Avoid companies that ‘yes’ you to death and try to sell you before you can ask too many questions. Go a step further and ensure the contractor has taken the appropriate coverage for his employees.
Always ensure you get more than three estimates before you settle on a mold remover. Appraisals give you a full field of experts to choose from and you can get top value for your money. However, there are some basic rules when asking for estimates:
- Ensure all companies are bidding on the same job.
- Ensure the contractor comes to the job site over some telephone estimate
- Be cautious of really low forecast and companies which use scare tactics to make you pay for something you had not planned for
5. Experience and Professionalism
These are quite easy to gauge. You can effortlessly tell the level of expertise of a contractor by meeting them personally and assessing your interaction. Avoid contractors who are late to meetings and don’t call in advance to inform you that of the delay. It’s also ardent to stay away from mold removers who speak casually and about generalized issues. As for the experience, look into established companies as they have streamlined their services and have years of experience under their belt. However, this does not mean that newer enterprises lack experience but that older corporations understand the field better. Nevertheless, this doesn’t say that all time-honored companies have superior services.
6. Used Different Companies for Inspection and Remediation
Due to conflict of interest, the company that carries out mold inspection should not be linked to a remediation company. If they are, the air sampling contractor should avail such information beforehand.
7. No Building Can be Mould Free
Most contractors will do anything to get you into a contractual agreement and saying that they can remove all molds is no exception. Avoid any company that claims to remove all mildew. No building can be free of fungi.
Last on how to find a reputable company for mold removal is trustworthiness. Given that you are allowing strangers into your house, the least you can do is make sure they will respect your privacy and stuff. Ensuring integrity might call on you looking into the methods the company employs to hire their staff. If you are worried about valuables, it’s upon you to ensure theyare in a secure place and out of the worker’s way. However, for stuff that’s out of your reach, engage a contractor who has put in place adequate measures to ensure their personnel don’t carry items from your building.
The bottom-line is quite straight-forward. To begin with, don’t go with the first mold removal company you find and always conduct some research. We admit that spending an afternoon looking for a mold removal company isn’t the best way to spend your time, but this could save you not only money but prevent damage to your house. Second, avoid the cheapest option and never take the company’s word for it.
DIY Mold Removal vs. Hiring a Pro
DIY mold removal is an excellent way to save some money, and pick up some skills. However, it is time-consuming and requires specialization. On the other hand, hiring a skilled mold remover means you will have to incur higher costs as well as an intrusion on your solitude. Nevertheless, you can expect top quality work. As illustrated there are pros and cons for each which we will discuss later on.
If the area affected is small, it’s cost effective to DIY over hiring a pro. With detergent and water, you can get rid of mildew on a 10 to 15 square foot area. However, if the space affected is enormous, it’s better to hire an expert as it shows there is an enormous water problem in your house. Other than DIY or hiring a contractor, we advise a merger of the two that is DIY alongside your contractor. First, you can provide your labor, i.e., work alongside your contractor. This is perfect if you are low on cash and lack the expertise required. The second way to DIY is to be your project manager; given the security concerns most homeowners have, being your home project manager is the next best option ensuring no items are stolen from your building. You also get the freedom to hire and fire different persons thus only dealing with people you trust and believe you can work alongside. Finally, you can handle the jobs that don’t need specialization; say painting or laying tiles.
On the same note, there are jobs that you are not to DIY.
- Extensive damage – If the loss is quite intense; it’s probably best to hire a pro. DIY without the requisite skills will advertently lead do more harm than good.
- Health hazardous projects
DIY Work Cost
One of the top benefits of remediating molds by yourself is that you get to save some few bucks as opposed to hiring a contractor.
Eliminating bathroom mold will cost you $2.69 as all you need other than the safety gear is chlorine bleach mixed with water, contrasted with hiring a pro which will set you back $25+. Given this price differential, removing your mold is the better option.
As for drywall mold, DIY will set you back around $24.98. You will need an x-acto knife which goes for $4, a sandpaper which costs $2, scrub brush ($4.99), a mold cleaner which is available at any home improvement store ($3.99) and a drywall patch kit ($10). This is as contrasted to a $3.92-$6.80 per square foot cost when hiring a pro. This means a charge of $39.2 to $68 for a 10-foot area. However, given the skills required and time, it will take to complete the task, hiring an expert is a sounder option.
Finally, there is upholstery mold removal. Seeing as soft furnishings are very porous, they are an ideal home for mold growth. Abating upholstery mold is the easiest to DIY. All you require is an alcohol-water mixture which will cost you $1.99, and aerosol solutions to handle the mildew smell for $5.99.
|Type of Work||DIY||Pro
|Mold Testing ||$30 - $150 (including test fees & shipping)||$200 - $600
|Removing Bathroom Mold||$2.69||$25+
|Removing Drywall Mold||$24.98||$39.2 to $68
|Removing Upholstery Mold||$7,98||$30+
Other than costs you should consider the skills required to tackle molds before deciding to take on a mold removal task. This is where hiring a pro trumps doing it yourself. Before mildew is visible on any surface, it means there is an underlying moisture problem. Well, that’s easy to discern but what’s not easy to realize is that the problem might not be in your house. Take for example apartments, if molds materialize in your residence, merely cleaning them will not solve the problem because the moisture concern might be from the apartments above you or plumbing and seeing as the underlying issue isn’t resolved, molds are sure to return. For that reason, we would advise hiring experts to inspect and fittingly realize the problem.
How to Avoid Scams
The mold removal industry is a legit industry but one that is awash with scammers who are trying to make a quick buck. Scammers prey on people’s fear of the unknown and people dread molds, making the mold removal industry perfect for them.
The very first way to avoid scams is to identify with the remediation process. Mildew abatement entails mold identification, stopping or reducing the moisture causing the problem, putting in measures to prevent future mold development and cleaning the mold. Identifying with the above process is the first step in preventing scams, and anyone who tries to sell you more services is a scammer.
Some indicators and ways of avoiding scammers are:
Avoid companies that offer both inspection and cleaning services – Professional inspectors and mold remediation companies operate as distinct entities to avert conflict of interest. If an inspector has any ties to a mold removal company, s/he should disclose the relationship early on to the clients. Avoid contractors or businesses that offer both cleaning and remediation services.
Visual inspection only – It is cause for concern if an inspector performs a visual inspection only. Certified mold removers carry themselves with professionalism and always conduct tests to catch on what they are dealing with.
Too good a deal – If the deal is too good to be true, then it probably is. Always go with your gut feeling.
Scammers will often discourage home testing or a second opinion. Be cautious if you come across a contractor who wants you to take his word without a second or third outlook as you might be dealing with a con.
Instigates fear of the problem – Fraudsters will often try and rush you into a contractual agreement defrauding you, and there is no better means than fear. If a contractor makes the problem more significant than it seems and instigates fear, chances are s/he is a swindler.
Payment – Most reliable mold contractors request payments be made to a company and not an individual. There is comfort in knowing that there is a paper trail showing proof of payment should anything go wrong. Avoid an individual who pushes you to make cash payments and forces you to make payments before the work is complete.
No guarantee – If an individual or company cannot assure you of what to expect, it’s likely they are scammers. A reputable company will pull all the strings to warrant that they have done a thorough job of mold removal and reduce the chances of mildew coming back. And seeing as they have been in the industry for a while, they can give pledges of what to expect.
Price – For a typical home, remediation should not cost more than $6000 and this is in extreme cases. Therefore, be cautious of an individual who asks for more than this. Also, if you feel the price is too high for the work to be done, feel free to ask for a second opinion. But then again, exercise caution if the cost is too low.
Now that you know how to identify scams, some prevalent scams are:
Demolition-only – Demolition-only is one of the most occurring mold remediation scams. It happens where an individual says they can remove molds cheaply and that mold remediation is nothing special. The results are often devastating as it leads to cross-contamination and fungi eventually returns. Always ensure that this fungus are dealt with by a certified technician.
Smoke and mirrors – Though less frequent, this scam has been known to happen. A company comes in, with tons of equipment but don’t remove the mold.
10 Questions to Ask Mold Removers Before Hiring
1. Are you licensed and insured?
There are many companies out there advertising themselves as mildew remediators but cannot perform as professionals. Find out the credentials and insurance a company/individual carries and you are on your way to hiring a competent organization.
Regarding the insurance cover, it’s better to hire a company that has professional liability or errors and omission cover over general liability insurance. Professional liability insurance covers mistakes from an experts acts which general liability insurance doesn’t cater for. In conclusion, make sure you see a copy of the documents and don’t just take the organizations word for it.
2. Do you have professionals you can call on?
This is to establish whether the contractor or company will admit their limitations. Watch out for organizations that don’t divulge their shortcomings as it’s impossible for anyone to know everything.
Proficient contractors should have qualified sources they can contact to fix a problem that falls outside of their area of expertise.
3. Should I hire a different company to conduct the mold inspection and post removal testing?
This is a requirement in some states, but it’s still a significant question for your remediation company. Most competent mold removers know that it’s standard practice to have a client hire a different company for mold inspection and post-removal testing to avoid conflict of interest.
Always ensure you get different organizations for all three activities even if the contractor says, it will be cheaper if you hire them for the testing and remediation. Furthermore, so as not to be victimized, ensure you have it in writing that the company will meet some post abatement testing before the final payment.
4. Do the company employees wear uniforms?
In the interest of security, company employees should all wear uniforms. This helps a homeowner identify who is on the property and who is not supposed to be there. As a rule of thumb, avoid companies whose employees don’t wear uniforms.
5. How long has your company been in business?
Knowing the history of a company is as good as finding references if not better. The period they have been doing remediation work will show their level of experience and proof they are a credible company. Though the history does not say you are dealing with the best company, it does show credibility. Confirm this information with the better business bureau and the federal trade commission.
6. What guarantees can you give me?
A competent company will always stand behind their work and offer assurances of what to expect once remediation is over. Ask for guarantees and have a certified mold inspector carry out a post-remediation to ascertain that the guarantees were met.
7. How can I be sure the mold will not return?
This question is to test the company’s understanding of the problem and their expertise. A proficient group should know the three causes of mold (food, moisture, and time, and that you can only control moisture to prevent mildews. Other than identifying the three factors leading to mold growth, they should tell where the moisture problem stems from and how to manage it.
8. What is your remediation process?
Though remediation comes in various forms given the material you are dealing with, some processes apply across the board. Pay particular attention to safety precautions for employees and occupants, precautions to avoid cross-contamination, and removal techniques.
9. Do you provide a free assessment?
A reputable company should provide a free in-person assessment without obligation. Make sure of this before calling them for mold assessment
10. Do I get a signed contract?
In conclusion and perhaps the most crucial question is to warrant whether you will get a signed contract. A signed contract is not only to lock the homeowner in but to ascertain that the contractor will do as stipulated.
That’s it about mold removal services, and hope you found this piece insightful. Tell us what you think by leaving a comment, and please do share.