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Free Encyclopedia of Building & Environmental Inspection, Testing, Diagnosis, Repair
ENVIRONMENTAL HAZARDS - INSPECT, TEST, REMEDY
MOLD: A COMPLETE GUIDE to TEST CLEAN PREVENT
ACCURACY vs PRECISION of MEASUREMENTS
ACTIVITY of MOLD in buildings
AGE of MOLD - Old is the Mold?
AIR POLLUTANTS, COMMON INDOOR
AIR TEST SAMPLING CASSETTE STUDY
AIRBORNE MOLD COUNT NUMBER GUIDE
AIRBORNE PARTICLE ANALYSIS METHODS
ALLERGEN TESTS for BUILDINGS
ALLERGENS in BUILDINGS, RECOGNIZING
ALLERGY & MOLD IAQ PRODUCTS
ALLERGY TESTS for PEOPLE
ALLERGY TEST ACCURACY
BASEMENT MOLD WATER IMPACT
BIBLIOGAPHY for ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH, MOLD, IAQ
BIOLOGICAL POLLUTANTS in the HOME - EPA
BLACK MOLD, HARMLESS COSMETIC
BLACK MOLD, TOXIC & ALLERGENIC
BLEACHING MOLD, Advice about
BOOK MOLD, Moldy Book Cleaning
BOOKSTORE - ENVIRONMENTAL
CAR MOLD CONTAMINATION
CARPET DUST IDENTIFICATION
CARPETING & INDOOR AIR QUALITY
CARPETS & PADDING ODORS IN buildings
CHINESE DRYWALL HAZARDS
CLEARANCE INSPECTIONS - MOLD CLEANUP
DIRECTORY of MOLD / ENVIRONMENTAL EXPERTS
DIRT FLOOR MOLD CONTAMINATION
DISINFECTANTS & SANITIZERS, SOURCES
DISINFECTING BUILDINGS with BLEACH
DO-IT-YOURSELF MOLD CLEANUP WARNINGS
DRYWALL MOLD TESTING
DUCT SYSTEM & DUCT DEFECTS
DUST, HVAC CONTAMINATION STUDY
EFFLORESCENCE, Salts & White / Brown Deposits
EMERGENCY RESPONSE, IAQ, GAS, MOLD
FEAR of MOLD - MYCOPHOBIA
Fiberboard Insulation Sheathing Mold
FIBERGLASS INSULATION MOLD
FIND MOLD, ESSENTIAL STEPS
MOLD in BUILDINGS
FLOOD DAMAGE ASSESSMENT, SAFETY & CLEANUP
FLOODS IN buildings-mold
FLOOR & SUBFLOOR MOLD, HIDDEN
HIDDEN MOLD, HOW TO FIND
HUMIDITY CONTROL & TARGETS INDOORS
INDOOR AIR HAZARDS TABLE
Indoor Air Pollution Book Online CPSC
INDOOR AIR QUALITY & HOUSE TIGHTNESS
INDOOR AIR QUALITY IMPROVEMENT GUIDE
INDOOR AIR QUALITY METHODS COMPARED
LAB PROCEDURES MICROSCOPE TECHNIQUES
Legionella BACTERIA & HVAC Equipment
MEDIA BLASTING for MOLD REMOVAL
MILDEW in BUILDINGS ?
MILDEW ERRORS, IT's MOLD
MILDEW REMOVAL & PREVENTION
MOISTURE CONTROL in BUILDINGS
MOLD: A COMPLETE GUIDE TO MOLD
MOLD CLEANUP GUIDE- HOW TO GET RID OF MOLD
MOLD COUNT NUMBER GUIDE
MOLD CULTURE TEST KIT VALIDITY
MOLD DETECTION & INSPECTION GUIDE
MOLD or INDOOR AIR EMERGENCY RESPONSE
MOLD LEVEL IN AIR, VALIDITY
MOLD ODORS, MUSTY SMELLS
MOLD PREVENTION GUIDE
MOLD RELATED ILLNESS GUIDE
MOLD SAFETY WARNINGS
MOLD TEST KITS
MOLD TESTING METHOD VALIDITY
MSDS Material Safety Data Sheets
MYCOPHOBIA, STAINS MISTAKEN for MOLD
ODORS GASES SMELLS, DIAGNOSIS & CURE
OZONE for MOLD OR ODORS
PAINTS & COATINGS ODORS IN BUILDINGS
PARTICLE SIZES & IAQ
Particulates & Allergens Indoors
RADON HAZARD TESTS & MITIGATION
RENTERS & TENANTS GUIDE TO INDOOR HAZARDS
SMELL PATCH TEST to Track Down Odors
SEWAGE BACKUP TEST & CLEANUP
STAINS on & in BUILDINGS, CAUSES & CURES
STAINS on CONCRETE
STAIN DIAGNOSIS on BUILDING EXTERIORS
STAIN DIAGNOSIS on BUILDING INTERIORS
STAINS & Thermal Tracking
THERMAL IMAGING MOLD SCANS
THERMAL TRACKING & THERMAL BRIDGING
TRAPPED MOLD BETWEEN WOOD SURFACES
TRAPPED MOLD BETWEEN WOOD SURFACES
UV LIGHT BLACK LIGHT USES
VOCs VOLATILE ORGANIC COMPOUNDS
Here we list big and costly mistakes that people make when cleaning up moldy buildings. We start with unnecessary mold testing and unnecessary professional mold remediation for small mold contamination areas. This section of our "How to Clean Mold" article describes common mistakes people make when attempting to clean up mold. Avoiding these mold cleanup errors can save you money and may also avoid dangerous side effects of bleach, mold chemicals, or ozone when improperly applied. Our page top photo shows mold growth behind wallpaper under a leaky window in a condominium in New Jersey. Just wiping off the wallpaper surface was not very helpful. But the entire scope of this mold contamination was trivial - just about two square feet. Was mold testing needed? Mark Cramer assisted in development of this material.
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This discussion lists common mold remediation or mold cleanup errors specific to attempts to clean mold from contaminated framing lumber or building sheathing such as plywood or pine boards used for subfloors or roofs. Inadequate cleaning and cross contamination are the two most common mistakes we find when inspecting and testing sites to perform a post remediation clearance for mold cleanup.
Using bleaches, sprays, or ozone instead of cleaning are close behind in frequency of mistakes. Other mold remediation errors such as performing only demolition and failing to clean up the dust and debris caused by that step, are important but are not discussed in this moldy wood cleaning document.
Throwing money at mold: At MOLD EXPERT, WHEN TO HIRE we list the questions to ask when deciding just how far to go in inspecting and testing for problem mold in a building.
Small areas of mold: In short, if a mold problem is trivial, less than 30 square feet of contiguous mold, and if none of the risk factors that would suggest a thorough investigation apply, then mold cleanup can be handled as a normal building cleanup and renovation project.
Our photo (left) shows a small area of mold on drywall in an otherwise problem-free no-complaint home. Notice that dark line at right angles to the wall at lower left? Furniture or boxes were stored in this corner, reducing air circulation and increasing condensation on the cooler wall corner - possibly the cause of mold growth on this surface. If there were no known or suspected leaks into the wall we probably have a small do-it-yourself or handyman mold cleanup project. The cost of professional testing and remediation are not justified.
This article offers advice on cleaning mold found on surfaces of both finished & un-finished wooden building materials such as framing lumber (rafters, floor joists, wall studs), and building roof, wall, and floor sheathing such as plywood, tongue-and groove pine boards, and other structural wood surfaces in buildings.
We discuss the pros and cons of using fungicidal sealants and bleach on wood surfaces and give sources and list types of those products. We also discuss common errors made when cleaning wood surfaces, such as relying on bleach or performing expensive and unnecessary cleaning on cosmetic black mold on wood surfaces.
SMALL MOLD CLEANUP WARNING: even during a minor mold cleanup job, keep alert for the discovery that there was actually a large but previously unknown mold problem.
So if you are removing two square feet of moldy drywall and you find that the wall cavity side of the drywall is moldy you'll need to keep removing drywall until you've found a 24" or one stud (or joist) bay of clean drywall surface. If the size of that cleanup project grows to exceed 30 square feet of contiguous mold, stop the job and bring in an expert to give advice. Otherwise you risk spreading moldy dust and contaminating other building areas.
Cosmetic Mold or Non-Mold Stuff that is harmless: Also be sure you're not spending unnecessarily to clean up stuff that's not even mold (mineral efflorescence) or to clean up harmless cosmetic mold (which you may be able to determine by simple visual inspection).
See Stuff that is Not Mold for photos of things that are sometimes mistaken for mold. See Molds that are Harmless - Cosmetic for photos and description of Blue Mold and Ceratocystis/Ophistoma - cosmetic black molds found on framing lumber.
COSMETIC MOLD WARNING: When we sampled at a chain of lumber supply stores and at some building sites we found that on treated lumber that has been prepared green and wet we sometimes find a mix of both harmless cosmetic mold and possibly harmful Aspergillus sp. or Penicillium sp. - so if these products are to be used indoors they might need to be surface-cleaned.
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Technical Reviewers & References
Related Topics, found near the top of this page suggest articles closely related to this one.
Allergies, Allergens, Allergy Testing in buildings - References & Products
Mold Contamination Testing, Cleanup, Prevention: references & products
OTHER IAQ ISSUES: How To Find and Address Other Indoor Air or Indoor Environment Contaminants Besides Mold
Mold or allergens may not be the only or even the main indoor environmental contaminant. Don't let media attention to mold cause so much enviro-scare fear that other, possibly more urgent hazards go un-addressed.