Collected samples will be promptly sent to an accredited microbiology laboratory for analysis. Normal turn around time for lab results is two to three days.
Cladosporium, Aspergillus, Penicillium, and Alternaria–all considered toxic. Stachybotrys, Fusarium, and Trichoderma (also considered toxic), produce mycotoxins that are easily absorbed into skin, intestinal lining, airways, and lungs. Other toxic molds include Coccidioides, Blastomyces, Histoplasma, and Memnoniella.
It is difficult to be absolutely certain. Most mold sampling analysis does not identify mycotoxins, but it does reveal the mold genus. Genus results are compared to the list of molds that have the potential to produce mycotoxins.
Indoor mould spore counts should be similar to those of the outdoor air in your immediate vicinity. This axiom is supported by scientific principles and approved by recognized authorities of air quality. These authorities include, but are not limited to, the American Conference of Governmental Industrial Hygienists; the New York City Department of Health & Mental Hygiene, Environmental & Occupational Disease Epidemiology.
Mould sampling (and testing) will supply answers to questions like: Are mould spore counts higher in my indoor air than naturally occurring mold spore counts outside? What kind of mould (genus) is growing in my home? Is the discoloration, found on the floor (or attic) joists, mould? Sample analyses can also assist your healthcare professional in identifying medical problems that could be related to mould. And, should legal action become necessary, “chain of custody” protected samples would be essential for providing evidence of mould contamination.
A Certified Mould Inspector will conduct an indoor environmental visual examination (survey) that is enhanced by state-of-the-art devices. Some of these devices measure structural moisture (moist conditions encourage mold growth), air particulates (high particulate counts can be identified with an air sampling device), and thermal variations (cool areas may have a high moisture content). The enhanced examination thus helps pinpoint otherwise invisible moisture intrusion areas where hidden mold may exist (example: inside walls). Mould testing is also offered by the Certified Mould Inspector and samples are collected by following scientific protocols (there is more on mould testing in the following answers). You also receive a written report with recommendations for your specific situation.
A mold inspection can provide invaluable information about any structural investment you are considering purchasing. Home inspectors sometimes report mould when it is visible, but they typically do not have the aid of specialized equipment that reveals hidden problems (please see the following answer). And, through air sampling, the Certified Mould Inspector can alert you if there is a mould-related indoor air quality problem.
You can, but we recommend a mould inspection that includes moisture measurements of floors, walls, and ceilings. Any materials with a high moisture content can indicate hidden mould growth. Comparison of air and mold samples can also indicate hidden mould, as well as reveal what kind of mould you are dealing with. We will be happy to discuss different mould inspection options that best fit your needs and budget.
Actually, given the proper conditions, mould colonies can appear within twenty-four to forty-eight hours. There have also been incidents where wood building products were contaminated with mould prior to being fastened in place at the home construction site.
It is very important to verify the effectiveness of the cleanup. Work can be evaluated using what is called post-remediation sampling, or clearance sampling. The clearance inspection and sampling are performed after the remediation is complete, but before the rebuilding (restoration) of the affected area. When the post-remediation sampling test results are satisfactory, the Post-Remediation Sampling Report provides professional third party documentation that the mould was effectively and completely removed.
While working in the containment, our certified technicians will wear Tyvek® suits (made of white tear-resistant paper that provides a dry particulate barrier) and air filtering respirators. Many of the mouldy and water damaged materials will need to be removed from the premises. All affected wood studs will be “scrubbed” (sanded) to remove discoloration, vacuumed with a vacuum cleaner (HEPA filter equipped), and then sprayed with a fungicide. Air-moving blowers called “negative air machines” take in air from the containment and are exhausted to the outside. These blowers can also be used as air “scrubbers” to filter out mould spores while recirculating air. Dehumidifiers may also be used to remove moisture from the structure. These machines make a loud noise, and some must run constantly for the duration of the remediation and post-remediation testing periods.
Generally, mould remediation does not compel you to temporarily move out of your home. This is because the work area is enclosed in plastic sheeting (forming an air containment), and isolated from the remainder of the house. Exceptions include the remediation of a critical room, such as the kitchen or the sole bathroom of the dwelling. For example, if your house or apartment has only one bathroom (and that room requires remediation) it may be necessary for you to arrange for temporary quarters elsewhere. Individual room mould abatement can typically take four to ten days to complete (your unique situation may vary from this), and will not be accessible by you during that time. Other work condition considerations are covered in the next question.
Mould remediation is sometimes covered by insurance, or it may be included under water damage repairs. You will need to contact your insurance agent for details.
Our technicians are trained in and conform to accepted containment, removal, and treatment procedures, ensuring that contamination does not spread to other areas of your home. HEPA air filters and vacuums are utilized extensively to reduce the likelihood of cross contamination. Without these stringent procedures, thousands of mould spores could be released, allowing possible mould contamination in other areas of the structure.
- HEPA air filtration
- HEPA vacuuming
- Negative air containment procedures
- Demolition, removal and replacement of damaged materials
- Cleaning and disinfecting of remaining building materials
- Antimicrobial treatment
- Attic and crawlspace treatment
Antimicrobial treatments are useful when dealing with building materials that are not easily removed. Areas such as attic sheathing or crawlspace subflooring are expensive to replace and typically the mould growth is only superficial. Antimicrobial treatments provide an economical yet effective solution for these difficult areas. Additionally the area can be sealed with a stain blocking primer after the mould growth has been eliminated.
Any accessible bare wood within the home can receive the antimicrobial treatment. This includes attic sheathing and rafters, crawlspace materials and exposed framing.