Mold Remediation Blog

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The Complete Mold Remediation Process (Done Right)

Welcome to the Valor Mold blog. Today we’re going to walk you through the complete mold remediation process. 

However, you should know that our process is 100% by the book. It takes longer. It takes more work. It typically costs a bit more. And while the general mold remediation success rate across the county is about 65%, we have a 96% success rate after HUNDREDS of projects since 2006.

So let’s dive right in. 

Note: we cover this same information with a bit more specificity and picture on our Mold Remediation page as well. 

Step #1: Setting Up Containment Areas

Almost everyone has seen the iconic Speilberg film E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial by now.

One of the more emotional parts is when our friendly bright-fingered alien gets sick (along with his human buddy) and government agencies transform a nice suburban home into a full-fledged clean zone.

Clean zone movie scene from ET

The goal is to prevent any alien bacteria or potential disease from spreading to the surrounding non-bright-fingered populations of Earth. These kinds of containment zones are built to completely control the environment and the air within it.

While not as dramatic, when we set up containment areas in homes today to deal with mold infestations, they’re similar but on a much smaller level.

The following image from one of our projects is a perfect example.

We briefly touch on the different components in bullet points below it so you can see how everything works (though keep in mind the differences between a nice big room vs. a cramped crawlspace or attic).

Mold remediation barrier done right

  • Barrier 1: This is special 6mil plastic completely covering the floor to protect carpeting. All the other barriers are sealed to the floor barrier, so it goes down first.
  • Barrier 2: This is a typical barrier over doors no one will use during the mold remediation process. You can see strong double-sided tape around the frame, then a custom-trimmed plastic wrap. There are actually two layers of duct tape to create a tight seal.
  • Barrier 3: This is the kind of barrier we put around doors which will be in use during the remediation process. It’s the same as barrier 2, but with a heavy-duty zipper (these are high-quality, rather than the cheap alternatives which can break or cause the plastic to tear). Here’s another look.

mold containment barrier doorframe

  • Barrier 4: These are free-standing plastic walls set up and sealed to the ceiling, walls, and floor with two careful layers of duct tape on all four sides. The tension poles are made specifically for containment areas.
  • Foam-Rails: In our part of the country, we’re one of the few remediators who use these 5-foot foam rails to help hold the barriers to the ceiling. What kind of ceiling do you have? Is it textured or typical popcorn? Products like these barriers make all the difference.
  • The Details: In this particular project, we had to seal up an HVAC register. The point is we cover every detail in the area for a far more controlled environment.

 

As you can imagine, sloppy work, using inferior products and materials, and failing to make a mold-tight seal is easy for low-quality remediators! It takes time to do it right. You can’t rush it but must go slowly and carefully.

Why?

Because when you disturb a mold colony, it releases hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of spores into the air. They also get on remediators, and all steps must be taken to contain, contain, contain.

This also lets your AFDs work effectively.

Step #2: Setting Up Air Filtration Devices (AFD)

With a tightly-sealed containment area, now we can set up a strategically placed, HEPA-filtered AFD that has two jobs:

  1. During the demolition phase (Step #3), it runs as a NAM, or Negative Air Machine that pumps the filtered air outside along with the moldy odors. This works with the containment area to keep spores from spreading. No containment zone is going to be 100% effective by itself. Negative air is critical. 
  2. To run as an air scrubber in the clean-up phase (Step #4). Many mediators get it wrong running the AFD as an air scrubber — these clean the air of spores– the entire time rather than only during the clean-up after visible mold is removed. 

Negative Air Machine illustration

Without negative air pressure and a secure exhaust, the entire project is pointless. 

Consider This: There are 1,000,000 spores per square INCH of visible mold. Meanwhile, the number of fungal fragments can outnumber spores by 320 times! 

To quote our mold remediation page:

Most importantly, the S520 says the containment should be under -5 Pascals or more of negative air pressure. And the only way to measure the pressure is with a special $1,500 machine called a manometer.”

Does your local mold remediator use a manometer to ensure the AFD they’re using is working optimally? At Valor, each lead tech has their own!

Step #3: The Demolition Phase -- Removing Mold

This is actually the brunt of the ‘Remediation’ part of the process. 

Simply put:

Can’t Be Saved = Safely Removed. All the irreparable moldy porous materials with too much mold are cut out and removed from the containment area: carpet, drywall, insulation, etc. Techs use a special method of tying trash bags called “goosenecking” that prevents mold spores from escaping while they walk around and do their work. 

Can Be Saved = Sanded, Wire-Brushed, or Soda Blasted. All the recoverable moldy materials like wood framing, subfloor, or plaster are cleaned. The method depends on the surface and the extent of the mold. This stripping is needed because mold grows roots into the surface. We have to strip a thin layer off the surface to remove the mold colony and its roots, much like a dentist cleaning out a cavity.

What is Soda Blasting?

We use a material almost exactly like regular everyday baking soda to harmlessly remove (blast!) mold from services like glass and wood. 

Step #4: Intensive Clean-up

To say our clean-up is tedious and meticulous would be an understatement for most people. It’s serious business! Before we dive into the process a bit, let’s look at how less experienced or lower-quality remediators get this part wrong. 

Why Remediators Botch Cleaning
  • The cleaning process is not where the money is.
  • It’s hard to train techs to clean well. It’s also hard work! 
  • There are no repercussions for shoddy cleaning.
  • Remediators can ‘cheat’ on mold tests – they test the air, not surfaces.
  • Homeowners don’t know any better. They aren’t Mold Nerds like us

In truth, cleaning up the mold you can’t see with the naked eye is as removing the icky most you can. We do it through a 3-step process.

Step 1: Industrial-Strength HEPA Vacuuming

Mold spores are removed by vacuuming every square inch of the containment area using a HEPA-vacuum specially built for mold removal. 

Step 2: Careful Damp Wiping

We damp-wipe the top of every pipe, wire, duct, door frame, baseboard, and window frame. This is to get rid of any leftover sticky mycotoxins. Their bond with the surface is broken by damp wiping every square inch with a 70/30 mixture of isopropyl alcohol (rubbing alcohol) and water with a splash of dish soap.

Step 3: HEPA Vacuuming &/Or Damp Wiping (Again)

The damp wiping we perform in Step 2 releases the mycotoxins hold on the surface. So we perform a second round of vacuuming or wiping to clean up what we “freed.”

Step #5: Restoring The Area

Unfortunately, we’re not carpenters. We’re not framers or interior remodeling professionals either. We’re going to help restore as much as we can after the cleanup, and then refer you to any relevant home improvement partners. 

Either way, we don’t use chemical agents in 98% of our projects, and we clean things up so well you could manufacture microchips in the area!

Wrapping Up: The Complete Mold Remediation Process Is Effective When Done Right

A professional mold remediation project can last between 1 and 5 days, and the process is meticulous when all the appropriate steps are taken.

If you don’t live within our service area, use this page as a basic outline so you can separate the superior ‘by the book’ mold remediation companies from the subpar. On the other hand, if you have a mold problem and you live in Charlottesville, Washington DC, Northern Virginia, or the Southern Maryland area… reach out and contact Valor Mold Today!

Why Choose Us

We remove mold the right way… and it would be an honor to hear from you.

96% Success Rate

96% Success Rate

Your home is in the best hands—our chemical-free remediation has the highest success rate in the industry.

Instant Mold Testing

Instant Mold Testing

You get the answers you need—our special mold testing provides 100% accurate results on the spot.

300+ Happy Clients

300+ Happy Clients

You can trust our process—we’ve performed over 300 successful projects since we opened in 2006.

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