What You Need To Know Before Hiring A Mold Remediation Company

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Chances are you have found this article because you have a mold situation and need to know what to do. Should you hire a mold remediation company or should you attempt to DIY the area in question? If you do hire a company how do you know what to look for?

Let’s take a look at mold remediation in general and then discuss where you go from there.

What Is Mold Remediation?

The term mold remediation is defined as “the removal, cleaning, sanitizing, demolition, or other treatment, including preventive activities, of mold or mold-contaminated matter that was not purposely grown at that location.”

Mold Removal vs. Mold Remediation

Mold removal is exactly what it sounds like…removing mold from something. Mold remediation is everything mentioned in the above definition.

How Much Does Mold Remediation Cost?

That depends on so much including the size of the impacted area, the degree of damage, whether there is still standing water, how much mold growth there is, what has to be removed from the area, whether the building itself requires some level of demolition, the area you live in, and more. There is no “average” cost of mold remediation and don’t believe anyone who says otherwise. It is on a case by case basis.

Professional mold remediation

How Do I Find A Reputable Mold Remediation Company?

A qualified restoration company understands the science behind mold and mold growth. They also understand the health risks associated with mold. In addition, they should be willing to go the extra mile to ensure that YOUR requests are met.

I’ve been through too many mold rodeos (both my own and helping others) and know just how FEW reputable remediation companies are out there. It’s a joke really. But as you know, mold is no laughing matter.

So how do you find a reputable mold remediation company?

Don’t rely on your insurance company to send out a qualified remediation company. Most insurance companies default to ServPro. They are not a bad company but the quality depends on who is running the franchise in your area. I’ve had mixed experiences with them.

Instead, try the following:

  • First – ask your friends and neighbors. They may have used a company in the past and be able to give you some insight.
  • Don’t hesitate to ask on websites like Nextdoor or Facebook. There are lots of Facebook groups dedicated to mold and chances are you can find some members in your area to steer you in the right direction.
  • Read Google and Yelp reviews of various companies.
  • Call a few local plumbers and see who they recommend.

Once you have a list of companies to call, arm yourself with questions to help you vet their knowledge of mold and approach to remediation.

Questions To Ask A Mold Remediation Company Before Hiring Them

Do you consider mold to be a potential health hazard? This should ALWAYS be yes! The company should also know the difference between a mold allergy and mold illness due to mold exposure.

What’s a mycotoxin? If they can’t answer that then they should not be in business.

Do you test for mold before starting remediation? If they answer yes, you can be assured that they are going to over charge you and likely insist on a lot of additional products or services you don’t need. You already know you have mold in a particular area. You do not need to test for it until AFTER remediation is complete. If high levels of mold are still showing up this might indicate that you have a separate problem elsewhere. If there is a reason to test for mold before, this should NEVER be done by the remediation company but instead by a mold inspector or environmental hygienist.

Do you document your work? This should always be yes and documentation should be a combination of pictures or videos and written notes.

How do you contain the area and keep the rest of my home safe during the remediation process? Proper containment includes plastic sheeting and protection at the entrance to the containment site to avoid cross contamination.  Any air vents or air returns in the impacted area should be closed and sealed off in plastic. Plastic should be both stapled and taped with no gaps for air to escape. The entrance in and out of the area should be zippered and taped. Ideally there will be a double entrance – one into the area to be remediated and another into a “clean room” between the impacted site entrance and the rest of the house.  Plastic should be secured on the floors throughout any portion of the home the remediation company will need access to and clean shoe covers should be worn when leaving the containment area before entering the rest of the home. Negative air machines (NAMs) should be HEPA filtered and exhausted outside.

Do you have insurance? I think it goes without saying that the remediation company must be licensed and carry insurance.

What kind of protective gear do you wear? Workers should have hazmat suits, safety glasses, and respirators. Like I mentioned above, shoe covers are necessary as well. Gloves should be worn at all times.

What do you do with all the wet, moldy material you remove? The response may depend on whether this is an insurance situation, if there will be litigation, or if this is self pay. For self pay, the remediation company should immediately bag the material they remove in an industrial bag or double bag it. Spraying the inside of the bag with fungicide is a good idea but not a deal breaker. These bags should be removed from the premises that same day. Moldy material should not be left outside your home for removal later.

If the insurance company has not yet come out to inspect the damage, the remediation company will likely have to leave larger items like cabinetry and furniture, outside for their inspection. Once the inspection is done these items should be immediately removed.

If you are planning litigation your attorney may advise you to keep and store the damaged items. In this case, rent an outdoor storage unit and follow the advice of your attorney in terms of how long to keep the moldy items and building materials stored. The remediation company will not transport this for you.

Do you clean and wrap your equipment before each new project? The answer should always be yes! Air scrubbers and dehumidifiers that go from one moldy environment to the other can cross contaminate and do more harm.

Will you get all of the mold removed and will my house be mold free? If their response is something like “mold remediation focuses on getting mold levels back to normal, natural levels, not removing it all” run away! You want them to say that they are going to remove ALL of the mold and make sure that the rest of your home was not cross contaminated.

What Is The Process For Mold Remediation?

Mold remediation is a complex and detailed process in many cases. However, there are 14 standard steps for mold remediation.

  1. Turn off the main water line if the mold issue is related to an active leak. If it was related to flooding from a natural event then proceed with step 2.
  2. As discussed above, properly seal off the damaged area as well as any air vents/returns in the area. Turn off the air conditioner/heater to prevent the spread of mold spores.
  3. Suck up any standing water with a wet vac.
  4. Remove wet and moldy loose building materials, furnishings, décor, etc…
  5. Open up wet and moldy walls, remove flooring, remove affected cabinetry, etc…
  6. Spray materials with fungicide and place in doubled up construction trash bags (double bagging) having a 6-mil thickness.
  7. Vacuum debris from demolition with a wet/dry HEPA vacuum.
  8. Apply a fungicide to the entire area. Wipe down all non-porous surfaces with an EPA registered fungicide.
  9. Bring in fans and dehumidifiers to dry out the area + clean the air of airborne mold spores using HEPA (High Efficiency Particulate Air) air scrubbers and air exchange (i.e. replacing dirty moldy air with clean fresh air through simple ventilation or more sophisticated negative air controls for bigger jobs). This can take anywhere from 1-10 days depending on the extend of the damage.
  10. Re-spray twice the cleaned out area with another wet spraying of a fungacide to kill any remaining, living toxic mold spores or mold growths.
  11. Apply a sealer to make the treated areas more resistant to water damage and mold and also to help with odor control.
  12. If the air ducts were impacted, clean the air ducts.
  13. Remove mold spores from all personal property, furniture, and equipment in the entire home by washing the items outdoors or in a plastic-sheet-built clean room with a fungicide. In addition, spray a fungicide on all surfaces or fog the home.
  14. After the toxic mold remediation is completed, mold test (clearance testing) all of the remediated surfaces plus the air of each room, attic, basement, crawl space, garage, and the outward air flow from each heating/cooling duct register to find out if those areas are now safe from mold prior to rebuilding the cleaned out areas with new building materials.

Is There Anything Mold Remediation Does Not Include?

Yes. It will not include fixing any leaks. It also does not include the restoration process although many remediation companies have a division for that.

Can You Do Your Own Mold Remediation?

Yes, of course you can. Should you? No. I’ve remediated some very small mold issues myself. But anything over 3 feet by 3 feet really should be handled by a professional mostly for your own safety.

If you do decide to tackle remediation yourself, please purchase, read, and follow the instructions given by Brian Turner in A Homeowner’s Complete Guide To Mold Remediation. I also suggest you read Mold: The Ultimate Homeowner’s Removal Guide by Dainian Nembhard.

DIY mold remediation in a kitchen and living room

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26 Comments

  1. Victoria Addington says:

    Thanks for helping me find a mold inspection company. After our vacation house got affected by a huge storm three months ago, we thought that the house might have consumed some mold and mildew. With that said, I’ll take note of your tip to take time and read Google and Yelp reviews made by previous clients before I choose the company to make sure that I receive the best remediation service.

  2. Afton Jackson says:

    My sister moved into the new house she recently purchased and has found some weird smells in her basement and I want to help her out with getting rid of it. I appreciated it when you stated that mold remediation requires specific equipment and must be asked if the service has further preventive measures because my sister has a newborn baby that she’s taking care of at her new house and letting it be exposed to any harmful natural substances may be bad for the baby’s growth. I’ll be sure to get a mold remediation service to stop by my sister’s house to be extra safe. Thank you for the article!

  3. Kate Hansen says:

    It’s good to know that you need to find one that is insured. My husband and I have been noticing a musty smell in our laundry room for the past couple of weeks, and we are worried that it might have a mold issue, so we want to look into finding a professional to come and get rid of it as soon as possible. We’ll make sure to keep these tips in mind as we search for a mold remediation service that can help us.

  4. Shaylee Packer says:

    I didn’t realize that plumbers may have a mold remediation company that they would suggest. My neighbor was telling me the other day that he fears there may be a mold situation in the bathroom at his office. I will have to let him know that it may be a good idea to ask the plumber who he would suggest to have it checked out.

  5. Levi Armstrong says:

    I find it helpful to know that I should hire a mold remediation company that would insist on testing for mold before the service since you already know there’s mold in the particular area. The company should only perform the test after the remediation service is done. I’ll keep this in mind since I plan to hire a mold remediation service for our basement after it was flooded a few days ago. Thanks.

  6. tacoma mold removal says:

    I am very impressed and appreciate much. Mold professional should be able to explain the problem in a way you can understand and help you of what needs to be done to fix it.

  7. Braden Bills says:

    I’ve been having issues with mold in my home, but I’m not sure what to do about it. It makes sense that I would want to get a professional to install it for me. They would be able to ensure that everything works out properly.

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  10. Alice Carroll says:

    Thanks for the reminder that mold remediation has no average cost because it’s hugely a case-to-case basis. I’d like to know more about mold removal services because that might be what I would want for my basement. Turning the place into a bit of an extension of my living room will surely require me to keep the place dry.

  11. Bonnie M. says:

    The only time pre-testing is recommended is when there is visible mold, and you need “hard proof” for a negotiation. For example, if you are buying a new home that already has some mold, it’s usually a good idea to get it approved and tested as it becomes easy to negotiate the price with the seller.

    Regards,
    Bonnie | FDP Mold Remediation

  12. Eli Richardson says:

    It’s great that you talked about the differences between mold remediation and removal! A few days ago, I visited my mom and helped her move some boxes to her attic. After helping my mom, I realized her attic’s infested with mold, so I’ll be sure to help her find a professional to remediate it! We appreciate your tips on mold remediation and how a professional will assess the mold and deliver a quote for its removal.

  13. Thomas Clarence says:

    Thank you for pointing out that it can be a good idea to call local plumbers when you are looking for a mold remediation company. With that in mind, I would think that it would be a good idea to ask remediation companies what makes them stand out from their competitors. This seems like a good way to find a company that offers the best services.

  14. Alice Carroll says:

    Thanks for the reminder that preventive measures should also be used when trying to get rid of molds in a home. I’d like to get some mold testing done in my attic because the air up there feels a bit damp. I’m sure that’s the perfect condition for molds to propagate.

  15. Luke Smith says:

    I like that you talked about how a qualified mold remediation company should understand the science behind mold and mold growth. I went to our basement yesterday and I noticed quite a lot of moldy spots in the room. I don’t think we should ignore this, so we definitely need to call for some mold experts to take care of it soon.

  16. Alice Carroll says:

    Thanks for the reminder that the cost of mold remediation can only be determined when proper inspection has been done. I’m interested in looking for a good services like that because I’m thinking about renovating my attic soon. Getting the molds up there dealt with will have to be done first.

  17. Afton Jackson says:

    I really appreciate your warning about mold removal and why you shouldn’t do it on your own. With how risky that is to my health, it’s definitely ill-advised if I were to attempt that without any kind of protective equipment, so I should hire someone who does. I’ll go and look for any mold removal businesses that can help me out immediately so they can help me deal with all of that.

  18. Tony Lott says:

    Jennifer, do you know a remediation/ restoration company near Cartersville, GA. that you would recommend?

  19. Mia Evans says:

    Thanks for helping me understand that mold removal would not have an average cost, so we should not believe those that say so. We actually need such services in the basement because it seems musty and moldy there. And I worry that my kids’ respiratory system might get affected if we do not get them addressed as soon as possible which is why I am hoping that I will be able to afford them.

  20. Daisy James says:

    It’s good to know that you should find a company that will document their work. My husband and I found mold growing in the walls of our bathroom a couple of days ago, so I want to make sure we know how to find the right company to help us with removing it as soon as possible. I’ll keep these tips in mind as we search for a mold remediation company.

  21. Jennifer, can you recommend a mold remediation company in Richmond, VA?
    Thank you.

  22. Susan White says:

    I’m so thankful that you put this Article out there. I have already had a couple encounters w/mold remediation companies. I’m so glad I read this before I hired any of them. They have sort of a cavalier attitude towards my problem & that really irritates me. I wrote a list of questions & emailed them, with no replies. I’m using the information you set forth & finding myself a more professional company, with your specifications. Thank you.

  23. Hi Jennifer,
    Should the company getting rid of the mold offer a warranty on their work? If so, for how long should they warranty for?
    I found a company that uses all natural spray to get rid of the mold. They say it kills the mold better than other sprays. Is that true. Is natural mold killer spray a good way to go?

    1. Hi Alesha! Warranties and guarantees vary. It really depends on exactly what services the remediation company is providing. If they are saying that their treatment will prevent mold for 5 years or more, and the mold comes back sooner, they have an obligation to address the issue at their cost. Language is key here though. If they say anything like “might,” “should,” “can” and words like that, be wary. These are loophole words.

      I do not use chemicals for mold removal. They are many natural and non-toxic products out there that work. Having said that, you can’t just spray away mold either. So really it depends on how complex your situation is and the extend of remediation being done.