As Storm Season Continues, Be Vigilant About Mold Growth and Call Sibley For Remediation
Storm season gets everyone’s attention about increasing awareness of the dangers of mold growth in your home, but your home is actually susceptible to this problem any time of year. It’s true that the likelihood of mold infestation increases if your home is flooded or if storm damage to the exterior of your home allows water to seep in. But every-day water leaks can also cause huge problems even if they don’t seem to be catastrophic.
Causes of dangerous mold growth from every-day water damage include toilet over-flows, washing machine supply lines breaking and the air conditioner’s condensate line or pans overflowing. If the amount of water visible is not significant, you may not really think about mold issues. However, it’s actually a mistake to attempt to dry up the water with towels or mops and then put a fan in the area and call it a day.
These incidents that may seem relatively minor have the biggest propensity for growth of mold and other microbial organisms. Remediation of the resulting microbial growth can get very expensive if you don’t call in a professional to dry the area. The water gets behind the cabinets – or even worse, behind a tub or shower tile surround. If we find microbial growth behind cabinets or showers we have to remove the affected areas to properly remediate the problem.
The most important thing you can do to protect your home and family from mold and microbial-related illness is to call Sibley Construction Services when the incident happens. Don’t wait until you smell an odor or see the mold growing on surfaces such as carpet or drywall.
Here’s the problem: with any indication of mold or other microbial growth in your home, whether it is by odor or sight, you may have a bigger problem than you can detect without professional intervention. This damage is nothing to play around with because it can only get worse. Mold growth will not go away by itself, and if you try to remove it yourself you may make it worse.
How Trying to Clean Up Mold Growth Yourself Can Make it Worse
- If you only remove the mold or other microbial growth you can see, and leave damp areas behind walls or under flooring, the growth will continue and your efforts will be wasted.
- If you disrupt mold spores and stir up dust, you and your family will likely breathe in the spores and be more susceptible to respiratory illness or infection. You also risk the mold getting into your HVAC system if it is in use during the clean-up.
Definitions: Mold Remediation, Mold Abatement and Mold Removal
The terms can be confusing because they are often used interchangeably, but they don’t always mean the same thing.
First, we need to explain that a certain amount of mold is in the environment normally and naturally. Dry mold spores are microscopic, meaning not visible without a microscope, so we don’t see them. Health risks occur when mold spores get wet and that dampness remains for more than 48 hours. Mold in damp conditions forms colonies and those colonies spread. When you actually see mold growth, it has formed a colony; otherwise, it would not be visible.
Mold Removal – This term implies that you can remove mold completely. You cannot. What needs to be removed are the colonies of mold growth as well as any damp materials that provide moisture the mold colonies need to thrive. Too often, people think they have cleaned up mold growth without realizing additional mold contamination is still hidden behind a wall or under the floor. That’s why you need to call Sibley Construction Services, a Louisiana Licensed Microbial Remediation firm specializing in mold remediation.
Mold Abatement – Abatement can mean “the ending, reduction, or lessening of something.” Sibley Construction Services is your mold abatement specialist. What we end is the growth of mold colonies so they don’t continue to grow, and we remove the damp environment that allowed the mold colonies to form.
Mold Remediation – Remediation means “the action of remedying something.” In the case of mold growth, the remedy – the reason you call Sibley Construction Services – is to remove the mold growth and find the source of dampness that allowed it to colonize and spread. Often, finding the source of dampness requires that we remove drywall, carpet or flooring. Because we are a Louisiana Licensed general contractor specializing in Home Restoration, we can locate and repair the source of moisture creating the problem. Once the source is found and repaired we can complete the remediation process and restore the home back to its pre-loss condition. Sibley Construction Services IS your mold remediation specialist.
3 Steps Essential to Professional Mold Remediation
Now that we’ve established the meaning of mold remediation and the importance of taking care of it (professionally) as quickly as possible, let’s review what that entails:
- Create a mold remediation plan.
When Sibley performs your mold remediation we start with a remediation plan, but as we gather more information, the plan could change. To create the initial plan, we will document the mold growth as thoroughly as possible without (yet) actually removing drywall or flooring. We use photos, video and a written report to document conditions on site. We need to determine whether you, the homeowner, will need to relocate during the remediation process. While we try to disrupt your live as little as possible, it’s important that we are thorough.
- Determine the extent of mold growth.
At this point, we may need to remove some portion of drywall, carpet or flooring to pinpoint the source of moisture feeding the mold growth and to define the affected area. For example, is the area of dampness, mold or other microbial growth contained to a few square feet or does it extend the length of an entire sheet of drywall – or more? (A sheet of drywall is approximately 30 feet long.)
- Remediate mold growth.
This is where the hardest work begins.
– Before we remove the remaining materials affected by mold growth, we must repair any damage to your home that contributed to the dampness in the first place.
– Then we erect a barrier between the affected area and the other parts of your home. For that we use sheets of polyethylene and duct tape so mold spores are not launched into other areas. We close windows and seal doorways. We always construct our barrier and install negative air machines to create a negative air condition prior to removing any contaminated substrate.
– Now we remove all of the damp materials including building materials and any curtains or carpet showing evidence of mold colonies. We are required to remove all porous materials with mold growth, and EPA regulations dictate how we carry out the removal. We double-bag everything for removal with plastic bags having a thickness of 6 mil, which is not the same as 6 millimeters. One mil equals 0.0254 mm (millimeter). Compare that to an every-day trash bag, which has a thickness between 1.2 mils and 1.7 mils.
– Next, we clean wood surfaces with a wire brush or by sanding, and the areas are then HEPA-vacuumed and wiped down with EPA-approved antimicrobial solution. We leave no mold or microbial growth behind and no damp materials that would encourage re-growth.
– Finally, we replace the construction materials we had to remove for remediation. Drywall, flooring, carpet, moldings … and this is why you’ll be glad you have Sibley Construction Services performing your mold remediation. Our expertise in home remodeling means your home will be “put back together” before we are finished. We will not leave gaping holes in your home’s construction!
Professional mold remediation, to meet EPA standards, requires equipment and supplies the typical homeowner does not have on hand. This is not a job you want to handle on your own. Sibley Construction Services’ experience with professional mold remediation ensures a more complete resolution than a do-it-yourself approach. The worst outcome would be recurring mold and microbial growth resulting from a homeowner’s incomplete mold remediation.
Whether mold growth at your home is caused by a flood, storm damage or an every-day leak, look to Sibley Construction Services for professional damage assessment, mold remediation and abatement, contractor services and insurance restoration. In Lafayette, LA, call Sibley Construction Services at (337) 264-9238.