What To Do When You Find Mold And Mildew
Both mold and mildew can signal that there are serious problems in the home regarding excess moisture, and if they aren’t eliminated right away, the contamination may spread. Fungal contamination is a common problem in humid areas, but it can emerge in any building where there are moisture infiltration issues or plumbing concerns. If the problem is caught very early, it may be possible to remove the contamination before it spreads, but in most cases, a home or business owner will need to bring in professionals to properly deal with the contamination.
What should a home or business owner do when they spot mold and mildew?
Professionals should always be contacted if the mold or mildew contamination covers at least 10 square feet of material. At this point, it is usually impossible to contain the fungi without professional intervention. However, even if the contamination only covers a small area, it is still wise to contact a professional if it’s a difficult to reach area, if the fungi has been introduced by plumbing or moisture infiltration problems, or if the home or business owner isn’t confident in dealing with the problem. The longer it takes to remove the contamination, the further it will spread and the more expensive the problem will become.
There are, though, some things that a homeowner can do to minimize the damage the contamination causes. Here are a few ways to mitigate the threat of mold and mildew:
- Consider removing any porous materials that have been contaminated or are near the contaminated area. Porous materials accelerate the spread of fungi and they may not be salvageable once affected. By removing them, a homeowner can slow the progression of the fungi and protect more of the home. It’s important, though, to wear safety gear when doing this and to do it slowly, as agitating the fungi can cause it to disperse in the air.
- Keep the contaminated area as dry as possible, and if there is a significant plumbing leak, consider cutting off water flow into the home. Moisture causes fungi growth to explode, so drying everything out can help isolate the contamination.
- Do not paint over the contaminated material. It may be tempting to paint or apply finish to the affected area, but this is only a temporary fix, and not an effective one at that. The fungi will prevent the paint or finish from properly adhering, and professionals will need to remove it to properly deal with contamination anyway.
Professionals address fungal contamination by discovering the root cause of the problem, addressing it if possible, and treating the affected area using commercial grade products and processes. Certified firms know how to seal off the area from the rest of the building to ensure the contamination does not spread. They will also salvage as much as possible, and safely dispose of anything that cannot be restored. This is the kind of comprehensive approach that will protect the home and family from further harm
Article written by: IICRC