If your building receives water damage, you often have to deal with a resulting mold problem. In best case scenarios, mold removal is an easy cleanup process. In the most severe cases, mold can cause serious health problems and irreversible damage to your property. What should you do if you find mold in your building?
You can often resolve minor mold problems by cleaning the area with bleach. CDC put together an article on How to Get Rid of Mold to use as a guide for cleaning small areas. If you are dealing with an area larger than 10 square feet, you should seek the assistance of a professional.
Find the Mold. First, you must find the source and type of mold. Because mold may or may not be visible, this is accomplished by a combination of visual inspection and scientific testing. Results will indicate the potential health problems and skill needed to correct the problem.
Stop the Moisture. Mold is usually caused by excessive moisture, so it is important to find the source of the water and stop it as soon as possible. If you clean up the mold, but don’t fix the water problem, most likely, the mold problem will come back.
Remove Contaminated Materials. Contaminated materials must be removed and all affected areas must be dried thoroughly. Porous materials should be discarded, but plastic, metal, and wood items can be thoroughly cleaned. For items that cannot be removed, such as structural beams, use an antimicrobial coating to prevent mold spores from escaping.
Replace Materials. Replace the materials that could not be salvaged. During this phase you may have to repaint and refurnish to return your building to its original appearance. Do not paint or caulk moldy surfaces. Paint applied over moldy surfaces is likely to peel.
Serious mold problems may require calling a professional, but choose a professional carefully. If you choose to hire a contractor (or other professional service provider) to do the cleanup, make sure the contractor has experience cleaning up mold. Ask about their qualifications and check their references!