I Have Mold in My Crawl Space – Now What?
Assuming that you have already identified the source of elevated moisture within your crawlspace that lead to mold growth and you have had the situation corrected.
We now need to remove the contamination. Simply applying a kill product like bleach or some other form of antimicrobial will only kill the active growth but it will not remove the mold. The mold structure (Hyphae and spores) will still remain.
[bctt tweet=”Simply applying a kill product like bleach or some other form of antimicrobial will only kill the active growth but it will not remove the mold.” username=”SanAirClean”]
Mold remediation (removal) is normally performed by a professional remediation company that is either certified or licensed to perform mold remediation. It is important to select a company that is properly trained in and follows industry accepted standards and guidelines. Some of these are as follows:
Institute of Inspection, Cleaning and Restoration Certification (IICRC)
- “ANSI/IICRC S520 Standard and Reference Guide for Professional Mold Remediation
Copyright © 2008 by IICRC All rights reserved
- “ANSI/IICRC S500-2006 Standard and Reference Guide for Professional Water Damage Restoration – 2006
Copyright © 2006 by IICRC All rights reserved
Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)
- A Brief Guide to Mold, Moisture and Your Home
If an area of contamination is relatively small then you may be able to perform the remediation yourself. However, you must familiarize yourself with personal protective equipment (PPE) that is necessary to reduce the potential for exposure to mold or any other potential hazards within the crawlspace. Having performed work in crawlspaces for over twenty years, here are some potential hazards I’ve encountered:
[bctt tweet=”Spiders, snakes, raccoons, opossums, rats, mice, feral cats, dogs, asbestos pipe insulation, exposed electrical wires; sharp objects, rusted nails, and the list could go on.” username=”SanAirClean”]
As with any crawlspace, which by definition is a confined space there is limited egress and it is prudent to have someone outside of the crawlspace monitoring you just in case something were to happen to you, affecting your ability to exit the crawlspace.
Let’s be realistic, most of these projects need to be performed by professionals due to the scope and size of the remediation and their complexity.
Here listed are some of the steps necessary for a successful mold remediation:
- Protocol – A written protocol describes the extent of contamination and the procedures to be followed for a successful remediation. The protocol is often produced by an independent third party. The protocol should be generated by a Certified Industrial Hygienists (CIH) Certified Indoor Environmentalist (CIE) or other appropriately certified or licensed professional.
- Containment – One of the most important components of a mold remediation is to prevent cross contamination of your home or building’s occupied spaces. This is called containment. Containment is best described, by me anyway, as surrounding the remediation zone with plastic barriers (Plastic sheeting) and placing the area under negative air pressure. Basically we are creating an area that remains under vacuum until the mold is removed.
- Removal – Removing the mold from the crawlspace usually involves removing the floor insulation, which also exposes the floor joists and subflooring. The mold will then need to be removed from the joists, subflooring, banding, etc. There are several methods of removal and the appropriate removal method usually depends on the extent of the contamination. In cases where mold has not significantly penetrated the wood, damp wiping and or HEPA vacuuming can be effective. Where contamination is wide spread and the mold has penetrated the wood, Dry ice blasting or hand sanding is often preferred. The vapor barrier should be HEPA vacuumed at this time as well as all other surfaces within the space. In some cases the vapor barrier will need to be replaced.
- Post Remediation Evaluation – This should be performed by the company (preferably the individual) that produced the remediation protocol. The evaluation will confirm whether the remediation was performed correctly. This is very important to have done prior to restoration which would include replacing insulation that could cover mold that was not removed.
- Optional Antimicrobial/ Moisture Control Application and Restoration – In many locations along the Southeast, like here in Tidewater Virginia, high temperatures and high levels of humidity can be around from late spring through early fall. The moisture laden air often enters our crawlspaces and creates condensation and sometimes leads to mold. Application of products like BactiBarrier and Kefa Coat are effective tools at preventing mold growth, indefinitely. After a product has been applied, new insulation can be installed along with a new vapor barrier.
This should have provided you with a general idea how mold is removed from a crawlspace. Please give us a call or visit our website for more information.