Secrets of How Mold Remediation is Actually Done—Part 1
What exactly is done to remediate a mold problem?
Part One: Building materials
Building materials that are organic and porous generally need to be removed and replaced to address a mold issue. As an example, drywall (technically gypsum board, commonly called ‘sheetrock’) has paper on both sides of a gypsum core. Paper is organic so mold can grow on it. In fact, this is the primary building material we see mold growing on following a flood or moisture event. While you may see some companies presenting that you can spray an enzyme on drywall or heat it up to “kill” the mold, these are not accepted approaches in the restoration industry as they don’t really address the mold situation, its cause, and they leave behind contamination that you do not want to have in your living space. The only accepted solution is to remove mold or moisture-affected drywall
Inorganic building materials, such as items made from metal, vinyl (plastic) or glass are not subject to mold growth and generally only require specialized cleaning.
What about wood? Technically, it is organic material. And it is kind of porous. But the lumber used for framing a home is fairly mold-resistant. It can have mold activity that affects only the outer surface. This is not really a major concern and can be addressed either abrasively or chemically to care for the surface mold growth. Sometimes, depending on the product used, the chemical approach may address the problem but leave a stain behind. This is only a cosmetic issue which will potentially be covered over anyway when drywall or other surfaces are put back on the wall or ceiling. If you are concerned about residual staining, you could discuss that with your contractor which will influence the method he chooses to address the problem.
Long-term moisture exposure can lead to a different type of fungal activity on lumber that results in what is often referred to as “dry rot”. This fungal activity can structurally compromise the framing of a structure and requires support activities beyond the scope of a typical mold remediation project.
What about furniture, clothing and other contents? Check back in July for another edition of Honest Mold Advice.
We have tried to cover the most common situations that we have observed during mold inspections that we have done over the last ten+ years. However, there are many other possible scenarios not covered above. Feel free to reach out to POWERS ENVIRONMENTAL LLC for a free phone consultation.
Mold Fact No. 4
Mold only grows on organic materials. Generally speaking this includes wood (or any product made from wood; plywood, OSB, MDF, particle board, cardboard, paper), natural fibers (such as wood, cotton, linen, silk), or leather products.