What to Do When You Find Mold During Remodeling?
We tend to remodel our homes when things start to go into disrepair or the style becomes outdated. As you rip up old flooring, remove drywall, or take anything old out to make room for the new, you might find mold. Mold grows in moist places. If your home has been exposed to any leaks, too much humidity, or neglect, then there’s a higher possibility of finding mold.
So what exactly should you do if you find mold during remodeling? Obviously you’re not going to be able to just leave it. You’re going to need to take action.
5 Steps to Tackling Mold During a Remodel
1. Don’t Ignore It
You may be tempted to paint over a moldy wall or cover it up in some other way. Truth is this won’t take care of your issue. The mold will still be there and might even get worse. Our blog post, “Why you shouldn’t wait to take care of your mold” highlights the dangers of mold. It talks about three different classifications of mold: allergenic, pathogenic, and toxigenic. A little bit of mold may not be too dangerous, but certain types of mold can actually lead to respiratory issues, immune disorders, and even life-threatening issues. Because of the risks, it’s best to get rid of the mold if you know it exists. Covering it up will not minimize the dangers at hand.
2. Analyze the Situation
To analyze your mold situation, ask yourself two questions:
- How much mold is there?
- What color is the mold?
Is there only a few small spots of mold? This mold is most likely new. Chances are that you’ll be able to wipe this away with bleach and water. Just make sure to thoroughly dry the area and make sure that there aren’t any nearby leaks before continuing with your remodel.
Are there huge (face-size or bigger) spots of mold? This is mold that has probably been there for a while. Handling it yourself may be consequential. It would be wise to seek mold remediation services.
If you have a lot of mold, is it black? Although mold often appears darker and different types of mold may appear black, you need to be cautious of black mold. After all, black mold can cause the following symptoms:
- Runny or stuffy nose
- Sore throat
Should you choose to clean black mold yourself, you can use borax, vinegar, or hydrogen peroxide. Keep children and pets away as well as make sure you’re wearing the proper gear. If you have any respiratory issues or other ailments, always seek professional assistance.
3. Wear Protective Gear & Have the Proper Equipment
While cleaning up mold, you’re going to want to wear old clothes. After being used, these clothes will either need to be washed really well or thrown out entirely. You’ll also need to make sure you have the following equipment on hand:
- N-95 or P-100 respirators
- An old box fan or a cheap new one (expect to throw this away later).
- 6-mil plastic
- Large plastic bags
- Tape (duck tape and blue tape)
- A garden sprayer
- Vacuum with extra long hose
- A bucket with bleach, detergent, and water
- Scrubbing appliances
- Dehumidifier and a new fan
4. Set Up Your Workspace
While wearing protective gear, set up your workspace so that you are safe and making sure that the mold doesn’t spread. Set the box fan in the window. This will help ventilate the room while you work. The fan will collect mold spores, and these are near impossible to get rid of. Because of this, you don’t want to keep the fan. Throw it out!
Before turning on the fan, tape cardboard around the window openings. This will prevent the mold spores from coming back into your home. You’ll also need to wrap any carpet you tear out in 6-mil plastic. Then, double-bag it with large trash bags and tape it to ensure that it is completely closed off before disposal.
While you work, it is likely that there will be mold spores that will become airborne. To control this issue, take the garden sprayer and moisten the moldy areas. This may seem controversial, but this will trap the spores so they don’t go in the air and possibly make scrubbing away the mold easier. To further help control this airborne issue, turn off your HVAC system and cover ducts and doors.
As for the vacuum and extra long hose, you’ll want to have the vacuum running outside while you clean up on the inside. This will help make sure that mold spores don’t just end up back in your house. Don’t use the super nice vacuum you got for Christmas, because you will want to throw this vacuum out after using it to clean up mold. Get a cheap 2-part vacuum with a canister (part where the debris runs and air sucks into) and handle. The canister is the part that will be kept outside while you work on the inside of your home with the handle. Some rental companies may have this type available for you to use for this purpose.
5. Remove & Prevent Future Mold
Mix half a cup of bleach, one quart of water, and a little detergent into a bucket of water. For your safety, make sure that the detergent doesn’t contain any trace of ammonia in its ingredients. Then, start scrubbing away. Make sure that all used cleaning supplies are double bagged and taped up before being thrown away.
Once you’ve removed the mold, set up dehumidifiers and new fans (not the same one you had in the window before). You’ll want to have these running for three days to ensure that everything is dried completely. Once everything is dry and you can see that there is no more mold, you may want to consider sealing off the area. If the mold was on a wood surface, you’ll also want to seal it off with shellac to help prevent further mold growth in the area.
Finally, you can move on with your remodeling project.
It’s a Lot of Work, Right?!
Ask yourself three questions:
- Do you have enough spare time to remove your mold?
- Is the cost of equipment alone worth it to you?
- Do you have asthma, other respiratory issues, or any health risks that could be compromised by exposure to mold?
As you think about these questions, consider professional mold remediation. At Rapid Restoration, our team is highly experienced with mold removal situations. We have it down to a science, and we know what we’re doing. We have all of the equipment we need on hand, and we’re ready to get to work. Ready for us to get your home back to its pre-mold condition? Give us a call!