Indoor area after a mold remediation that looked good but was not successful How to Visually Inspect After Mold Cleanup
     


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Mold clearance procedures using visual inspection: this article describes the visual characteristics of a successful mold cleanup job.

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What are the VISUAL CHARACTERISTICS of a Successful Mold Remediation Project

Mold remediation job site (C) Daniel FriedmanThis article is part of our ACTION GUIDE which provides an easy to understand step-by-step guide for dealing with toxic or allergenic indoor mold and other indoor contaminants: what to do about mold "mildew," moisture, in your house or office, building-related illness, involving your physician, treatment, sick building investigators, reduction of irritants, and special products to help clean buildings and air.

In our page top photo the remediator left a dryer running into the crawl area because it was still wet at the time of our clearance inspection.

Notice the old insulation left in the crawl area at the rim joist. The cleanup of the crawl area was incomplete and there was a risk of remaining mold reservoirs as well as a need for more cleaning.

All suspect or mold-contaminated material, which cannot be cleaned, should have been removed. There should no demolition debris left in the building.

Our next mold remediation job photo (above left) shows a home that was partly gutted after flooding. We were concerned about remaining mold reservoirs in fiberglass insulation left in the upper section of wall cavities (tested by vacuum sampling) and possible moldy insulating board exterior sheathing.

The sheathing board was a critical call since if it needed to be removed the job cost would be increased enormously.

Areas where moldy surface coverings have been removed leaving exposed framing or other hard surfaces, such as remaining structural components, floors, and other surfaces should have been thoroughly cleaned, HEPA (High-efficiency particulate air filtering system) vacuumed, wiped, and sealed if a sealant was to be used.

HEPA vacuuming is important since ordinary "shop vacuums" and most home vacuum cleaners will simply pass small mold spores right through the system, actually increasing the level of airborne mold.

Remediated areas should be free of visible mold. On previously infected structural members or surfaces, some remediators use fungicidal sealants as extra assurance against movement of remaining incidental spores and to reduce potential future moisture uptake in wood and thus future mold growth. I report the extent of such treatments if evidence of such is visible.

The most common mold cleanup mistakes we encounter are

  • Failure to maintain a working dust containment system for the cleanup area during the procedure,
  • Failure to actually clean up demolition dust and debris from every surface,
  • Bringing in new building materials or actually beginning reconstruction of the building before a successful clearance inspection and test have been completed.

This last "error" means that either the clearance inspection and test are limited in assuring the success of the job or that some of the new work has to be removed to permit inspection and testing.

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