What should I do when I find mold when I am renovating?

Many D-I-Yers that take on home renovation projects like interior painting, kitchen remodeling, bathroom renovation, floor replacement, and window replacement, rarely understand the risks of mold. Even if they do, they may not know how to ensure that the mold contamination is prevented from spreading throughout the home.

The biggest risk you encounter by doing the renovation yourself or hiring an inexperienced contractor is contamination, meaning the mold spores spread throughout the home. You need to contain the area where you find mold to prevent this from happening. Most importantly, prevent the spores from entering and contaminating your HVAC system and air ducts, which could spread spores throughout your home.

With this in mind, if you find mold during the teardown process of drywall, removal of carpet or flooring, and/or during the removal of bathroom fixtures such as the tub, shower liner, etc. your  FIRST STEP is to determine the extent of the problem. 

Before you continue with your project, determine what the underlying moisture issue is because mold only grows when there is moisture present. Further renovations and reconstruction should only resume once the cause of the moisture problem is identified and fixed. Failure to do this will result in future costly headaches if this step is not taken.

If you are seriously considering removing the mold yourself, contact an indoor environmental consultant for an educated assessment and further advice on how to tackle the issue.

It is worth getting a mold inspection and/or air quality test on your home before you decide to remove any mold yourself. It is better to be safer than sorry when you are dealing with mold because exposure can cause health issues.

If you decide to remove the mold yourself, make sure you keep these tips in mind:

  1. Prevent cross-contamination by setting up containment, using a polyurethane barrier at least 3 mil thick that you can get from your local hardware store. Also, be sure to cover any vents or shut down the HVAC system in the area of mold removal.
  2. Understand that mold can be life-threatening, so be safe. Wear safety glasses, rubber gloves, an N95 or equivalent respirator, and a disposable suit.
  3. Don’t just spray the mold-contaminated materials with bleach, praying your mold problem will go away. Bleach is not effective on porous materials, so it is best to properly dispose of contaminated ceiling tiles, carpet, drywall, etc. Be sure to use 3 mil thick trash bags and dispose of mold-contaminated materials properly, double bagging is recommended.
  4. Mold contamination on non-porous materials can be scrubbed or brushed off then possibly encapsulated with mold inhibiting paint. You may find a microband at your local hardware store or online that could be effective.
  5. To prevent mold spores from becoming airborne and spreading use a HEPA-equipped vacuum that filters up to 99.97% of contaminants.

To learn more or to join our BREATHE HEALTHY Initiative, visit baxtergroupinc.com.  Request a copy of our BREATHE HEALTHY ebook.


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