Mold damage is a secondary factor that follows water damage. If the cause of the primary damage is not resolved in a timely manner and water is left standing or high moisture levels persist, mold growth may begin. Mold damage restoration should be informed by the results of lab testing and professional remediation expertise.
Services affiliated with United Water Restoration Group have the specialized skills and equipment necessary to test for mold and interpret the results of analysis of air, bulk or surface spore samples. Accurate testing methods are helpful for identifying fungus subspecies and estimating the extent of an infestation based on concentrations of spores and microbial volatile organic compounds. Lab testing can also determine whether mycotoxins are present, which can help property owners and restoration professionals make informed decisions about mold cleanup and remediation.
What Is Mold Restoration and Remediation?
Mold is a form of secondary damage that results from untreated water damage. As a result, the restoration process is slightly different than for primary damage. Fungus spores settle and begin to multiply based on the availability of food and moisture. While it is possible to use mold-resistant building materials and paints, the easiest way to stop mold in its tracks is to control moisture levels. If ambient moisture remains high and an organic, carbon-based source of nutrients such as cellulose, paper or wood is available, some form of fungus will probably grow.
Certain subspecies of mold are known to produce mycotoxins, or microbial volatile organic compounds known to be toxic to animals and humans. Occupants of buildings infested with toxic mold may experience respiratory difficulties or other health issues. Professional testing is also important for anticipating mold damage restoration costs ranging from the type of personal protective equipment workers wear and the containment setup to the cleaning supplies and labor needed to complete a remediation job.
Why Is Mold Damage So Dangerous?
Water damage that is allowed to linger can cause a variety of structural problems. From corroding metals to rotting wood, persistent leaks, plumbing problems, or standing water due to flooding or sewer backups can undermine the condition of any structure. Mold is more insidious because it may not be immediately visible to the eye.
Plumbing problems and roof leaks are two of the most common sources of water damage. Both of these issues may occur behind walls and not be immediately apparent to occupants until colonies have already formed and started to spread. The smell of mold does not necessarily indicate that airborne spores are already spreading. This odor originates with microbial volatile organic compounds or off-gases released during the metabolic cycle of fungi.
If mold spores have access to a suitable food source and sufficient moisture to settle and thrive, an odor may become apparent. It can take a long time before the occupants of a commercial building or residents of a home realize that mold is growing and they have been breathing in more and more mVOCs, and possibly spores.
What Species of Mold Are Dangerous?
Mold species pose a range of potential health risks and may affect individuals differently. There are several factors to consider in assessing the dangers posed by any mold subspecies. Most types of mold are allergenic, meaning that exposure to mVOCs released during the active growth cycle or spores may aggravate mucus membranes and cause antihistamine reactions in healthy individuals with normal immune systems.
Pathogenic mold poses particular risks to immunocompromised occupants. Toxigenic mold contain mycotoxins, which are associated with a variety of health risks. Here are a few of the most common mold types that run some risk of being toxigenic:
- Stachybotrys chartarum (black mold)
Even if a professional mold test identifies the presence of these species in a structure, not every subspecies or strand is toxic. For this reason, it is important to arrange for professional testing, lab result assessment and mold damage restoration.
What Are the Common Causes for Mold Damage?
The number one factor that leads to mold growth is water damage. If a home or commercial property has recently experienced any of the following incidents, the risk of mold growth may be elevated:
- Appliance leak
- Broken pipe
- Roof leak
- Sewer backup
Mold spores are everywhere. Even if you run a HEPA air filter rated to filter out most spore-sized particles, fungus spores travel by attaching to clothing and pets. Many spores are airborne. If elevated levels of moisture remain present for a prolonged period of time, it is almost a guarantee that some type of fungus, such as mildew or mold, will start to develop.
Mold spores may settle into place and start to multiply within just 24 to 48 hours after water damage occurs. Furthermore, the condition of the water will degrade. Even clean, treated water that originated from a burst supply line can become grossly contaminated if left standing in a structure for 48 to 72 hours or longer. In general, the more contaminated water becomes, the more types of fungus will flourish. Mold only requires moisture and food sources to grow.
How Do You Test For Mold?
Professional mold testers and environmental hygienists use several methods to test for mold. Air samples, bulk samples and spore samples are all commonly used methods. Look out for any service that promises instant results. There are over 100,000 different types of mold, and lab analysis is necessary to determine which species and subspecies might be present in a residence or commercial property.
What Does Mold Damage Remediation Involve?
After mold damage restoration experts identify the type of mold present in a structure and the size of the affected area, cleanup should commence. Professionals will wear personal protective equipment that may include goggles and respirators while eliminating existing colonies. Cleanup experts may contain an area with plastic sheeting and use on negative air pressure during this process to prevent cross-contamination.
How Much Does It Cost To Remediate Mold?
In general, mold is costly to repair. Expect to spend hundreds to thousands of dollars to eradicate a minor infestation up to tens of thousands of dollars for large-scale remediation of an infestation that spans many square feet.
The best way to limit mold damage restoration expenses is to prevent fungus spores from starting to grow. Contact water damage restoration professionals after a major leak or flood and ensure that the affected area is completely clean and dry after cleanup is complete. Dehumidifiers and vent fans can also discourage mold or mildew growth in humid climates.
Why Work With United Water Restoration Group?
Rather than running the risk of an inaccurate mold test, property owners should rely on an exclusive nationwide network of restoration professionals. Home mold tests are notoriously inaccurate and do not provide essential information such as the species of mold or its level of potential toxicity. United Water Restoration Group offers a full suite of remediation services, starting with precise testing and continuing on through assessment, containment, eradication and prevention.
Whether your home or commercial property has recently experienced water damage and you are concerned about the possibility of mold damage or you have already caught a whiff of that telltale musty odor, call 1-800-430-5838 toll free to arrange for a call back from a recommended local or regional mold damage restoration service.