Behind the Scenes of a Do-It-Yourself Remediation Gone Horribly Wrong: 5 Ways Homeowners Screw Up Amateur Mold Remediation
The Midwest is full of self-reliant people who love hard work.
So, when they find mold in their homes or businesses, some folks immediately Google “mold cleanup,” or watch a short YouTube video.
Then, they dive right into an amateur mold remediation.
More cautious customers might call us for an inspection … just to get a better idea of what they are dealing with.
Then – sometimes – they decide that they can handle the job themselves.
We love their gumption. And some minor remediations absolutely don’t require professional expertise.
But if you try to take down a major mold problem without the right gear and expertise, bad things can happen.
- You spread the mold all over the house
One of the most important aspect of mold remediation?
That’s what we call the plastic-walled area we build around the mold-contaminated area. Most DIYers don’t take the time to quarantine the work area.
Then, they set about ripping apart walls and cabinets, and the next thing you know, the mold spores are released all over the house.
- You don’t have an air scrubber. So, you spread mold all over house
This plays directly into our first point.
Let’s say you actually do take the time to set up plastic barriers around moldy areas. Maybe you even go the extra step and seal the edges with tape.
Congratulations, you clearly care about your family’s health.
But you still spread mold all over the place.
Building a containment area is just the first step. You also must vent the containment area to the outdoors.
An air scrubber (a big air filtration machine) sucks air from the containment area, forces that air through HEPA filters, and then exhausts that air outside.
In addition, it’s creating negative pressure inside the containment area. This means air always flows from the rest of the house, through the containment, and then outdoors.
Without this negative pressure, air can and will flow through tiny gaps in the containment area.
That means mold spores will be released into the house, either during or immediately after cleanup.
- You miss parts of the mold colony
Sure, you can see that visible mold on your basement wall. All you have to do is cut out a bit of the wall and call it a day.
Mold remediation requires constant probing and analysis. Often, visible mold is just a tiny part of the overall colony.
In some cases, we’ve started remediations in one small corner of a home, only to look in the wall cavity and see mold growing from floor to ceiling.
If you take out just the visible portion, you’re not accomplishing much. And you might have made things worse, because you disturbed the mold and provided airflow that makes it spread through the house.
- You overdo it
We also meet DIYers who take things too far.
Like, way, way too far.
Sometimes, that bit of mold behind the baseboard is limited to just one small area. By carefully disassembling the wall, we can quickly decide whether we need to keep looking or if the job is done.
Amateur mold remediators, on the other hand, aren’t familiar with mold growth patterns. They haven’t seen thousands of moldy basements.
So, they go crazy. They remove foot after foot, wall after wall, just to make sure that they’ve gotten all of the mold.
We love that kind of determination.
However, this is wasted time, energy, and money. You’ve taken a small remediation and turned it into an unnecessary fiasco.
On top of that, now you must pay to rebuild the areas you removed.
- You use outdated techniques or improper chemicals for mold
If we had a dime for every time someone said, “I used bleach to treat my mold and everything’s fine,” we could have retired years ago.
Diluted bleach is a fine cleaner. It’s a wonderful disinfectant and it kills many odors.
But is it a go-to anti-fungal chemical?
Same goes for all your other household products. From Pine-sol to Borax, none of these chemicals are designed to kill mold spores and inhibit future growth.
What’s more, they treat only surface mold. Not the stuff that grows in and around and in sneaky, hard-to-find places.
Mold Remediation the Right Way
Dave Bayne, owner and general manager of A1 Mold Testing & Remediation, says he’s witnessed all sort sorts of amateur remediations gone wrong.
“The do-it-yourself mold remediation failure I see the most is that people fail to put proper engineering controls in place, and they make a bigger mess than they already had,” he says. “It is not simply a matter of ripping out the contaminated drywall and you are done, as most homeowners seem to think. Mold remediation can be much more complex than that. As I tell most DIY’ers, a bad remediation is often worse than no remediation at all.”
Those are some of the major reasons to trust certified professionals. And there are plenty more.
Professionals understand that mold remediation is a bit like a puzzle.
There are a lot of pieces to this puzzle:
- Knowledge of construction techniques
- Scientific understanding of mold species and how they grow
- Environmental factors and how they contribute to mold
- Understanding of mold’s impact on human health and how to minimize its spread
If just one of those puzzle pieces is missing, the whole remediation falls apart.
That’s why it’s best to call a certified professional for help.
Professionals — like Dave — treat each job site to get a better idea of how the mold started, how to correct that problem, and finally, how to perform a quality remediation that lasts.
Call or email A1 Mold Testing & Remediation today, chat with Dave about the mold issues in your home, and then put him to work for your family’s health and peace of mind.