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Mold Removal vs. Mold Remediation

Mold Removal vs. Mold Remediation: Understanding the Difference

Mold Removal vs. Mold Remediation

Mold is one of those problems that can be a bit off-putting once you learn the facts. It can pose serious health hazards and property damage if not addressed properly. If you’re dealing with mold damage, it is often said that you can either remove the mold or remediate it. You may encounter these terms when researching mold problems, and it’s common to see them used interchangeably. But there are important differences between mold removal and mold remediation that you should be aware of when seeking a solution to your mold problem. Here we’ll clarify the difference between mold removal and mold remediation, and when each may be appropriate in resolving your mold problem.

Understanding Mold Removal:

What is mold removal (or mold abatement, mold cleanup)? Mold Removal is the actual cleanup of mold from contaminated surfaces. Mold Removal typically entails the following steps.

  1. Figure out how bad the mold is: The first step is to determine the cause of the mold problem,  that is, where the mold is growing and why. This includes identifying the source of moisture that’s feeding the mold, such as leaking pipes or a flooded area.
  1. Containment: In order to mitigate the spread of mold spores to unaffected areas, containment procedures are put in place. This may involve sealing off the affected area with plastic sheeting, utilizing negative air pressure machines, and installing HEPA filtration devices to trap airborne mold spores.
  1. Demolition: After containment, mold-infested materials are physically removed from the property. This includes drywall, insulation, carpeting and other porous items that are not able to be cleaned and salvaged.
  1. Cleaning and Disinfection: After removing mold-damaged materials, salvageable surfaces are cleaned and disinfected with antimicrobial or antifungal cleaners and procedures to kill residual mold spores and inhibit regrowth.
  1. Post-Remediation Verification: Once the mold is removed, post-remediation verification is done to verify that a satisfactory result was achieved. This could be a visual inspection, air sampling or surface sampling to show that the level of mold has been brought back to an acceptable level. 

Mold removal is recommended for small, limited areas of mold growth where the mold growth is confined to a small area, and not widespread. While the mold is removed, leaving no visible mold growth, this does not correct moisture problems or prevent the mold from growing back.

Understanding Mold Remediation:

Mold remediation, by contrast, is a systematic protocol that is designed to resolve the fundamental moisture problems that give rise to mold, and prevent its return. As a protocol, mold remediation entails: 

  1. 1. Assessment and Moisture Control: Like mold remediation, mold removal starts with an assessment of the type and severity of the mold problem. Along with looking for visible mold growth, the technician performing removal should also look for evidence of moisture and identify potential sources of moisture that allow a mold problem to recur.
  1. Containment and Removal: Like mold removal, containment measures (eg, using plastic sheeting, negative air pressure, and a HEPA air filtration system) prevent mold spores from escaping during remediation. mold-contaminated materials are removed, and remaining surfaces are cleaned and disinfected to prevent mold growth.
  1. Drying and Dehumidification: Once all the infested materials have been removed from the affected area, it is dried to remove excess moisture and create an inhospitable environment for mold growth. This drying can be done through the use of fans, dehumidifiers or other moisture-management equipment to reach optimal moisture conditions. 
  1. Repair and Restoration: Any part of the building structure that may have been damaged in the mold growth is restored or repaired as part of mold remediation. This would include the repair of leaks, replacement of damaged drywall or insulation, and restoration of affected areas to their pre-mold condition.
  1. Prevention: In an effort to prevent the recurrence of mold, the remediation professional might suggest preventive interventions such as improving ventilation, sealing cracks and gaps, and installing moisture barriers to reduce indoor moisture levels, and therefore discourage future mold growth. 

When to Use Each Approach:

The distinction between mold removal and mold remediation depends on the extent and severity of the mold problem, and on the underlying causes of mold growth. mold removal and mold remediation may be appropriate in the following circumstances:

Mold remediation: mold remediation works for very small, localized mold issues. The mold problem is generally limited to one area and has not traveled throughout the building. If you have properly addressed the moisture issue, mold remediation may be all you need to completely remediate the mold problem.

Removal of mold and/or mildew growth is recommended for extensive mold infestations or where mold growth is widespread and has affected multiple areas of the property. If there is ongoing moisture that is contributing to the mold growth or there is a likelihood of further mold growth and recurrence, it will need to be remediated to address those issues.

In conclusion, mold removal is basically a physical removal of the mold from the affected surfaces. Mold remediation is a more extensive solution that deals with the underlying causes of the mold growth, such as moisture issues, and ensures that the mold doesn’t recur again. Both solutions are effective but which is better really depends on the severity of the mold problem, the extent of the mold infestation and what might be causing the mold growth in the first place. By understanding the difference between the two approaches to mold, people can make better decisions about how to resolve their mold problems and keep the buildings and people safe.

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