Often efforts to remedy a mold problem fails from lack of knowledge. The varied skill sets of the experts are often narrow in each offering which leads to misdiagnosis and loss to health and home.
Winter of 2013 - 14 Causes Mold Proliferation
Buildings and residences in the winter embattled sections of the United States, especially the Northeast have succumbed to extensive mold damage resulting from the lengthened temperatures, ice and snow. The very lengthened heating season has caused moisture to build within structures and compromises in the walls and ceilings have caused damaging condensation. The liquid moisture feeds mold growth and as the temperatures raise, so does the onset of mold growth.
Often hidden in attics and basements, mold grows until the mycotoxin levels spike causing noticeable musty odors. It is common that inhabitants of a domicile will become accustomed to the odors and the call for help is delayed until an outsider mentions the odor. Basements and attics are often the places where mold grows and a mixture of causes that many mold experts do not understand are left unchecked.
The snow accumulation accentuates landscaping deficiencies and water table problems and with rapid melting, leaks in the foundation can be problematic. Roof leaks are common in severe winter weather conditions. Ice dams cause massive infiltrations of water in short periods of time. The noticeable damage is usually not the extent of the problems. Water trapped within walls can ignite already present, but dormant mold colonies and growth is immediate. Mold in the walls is one of the most insidious problems for the mold inspector to detect. Crawl Spaces that are deficient in vapor retarder measures can cause condensation on the underside of floors and go unnoticed for years.
It is important to understand that water issues are not always noticeable as direct leaks. Many people including mold inspectors do not understand moisture vapor migration and condensation. This is why mold problems often return after a time even though remediation has been done several times prior. Even highly educated engineers fail miserably to diagnose moisture migration issues. Moisture migration can be a secondary or a primary cause of mold proliferation. If you think of your residence as a giant terrarium where moisture migrates and condenses on the glass and then drops into the soil in an unending procession, you can visualize the problem of trapped moisture within walls and cellars and attics.
Mold experts come in two categories. One is the testing phase. These experts will test outdoor mold spore levels against indoor spore levels in the air to ascertain the degree of active mold present. Swap and cultures are also used at known areas of infestation. The second phase is mold removal or remediation where operating on the report of the inspector, professional remediators work to ensure safety standards while removing the elements of the affected areas and killing of the mold. Reconstruction is often subcontracted out to installers.
Testing for mold is often necessary unless validation if required. Potential litigation and real estate transactions require a degree of substantiation. Health matters sometimes require cause determination. Other than the aforementioned, testing for mold is usually a waste of time and money.
It is imperative that the person in which one is relying to offer expert advice be an expert in building construction, along with years of experience in actually tearing into mold related problems. Hands on experience is imperative in not only diagnosis but in the resolution of the problem. Typical mold experts are versed in the species of mold and the degree of potential harm they can do but usually fall miserably short of needed construction knowledge. The type of mold present is not an issue as to removal. The removal process is the same not matter the type of mold present. The complete assessment of the water problem will lead to resolution and prevention of the return of the problem.
Before spending hard earned money on relentless experts get a consultation with a company that knows the trades and knows mold remediation. Single trade companies are probably the worst to ask for advise on resolutions. Trade specialists tend to only posses skills related to one trade. It is usually where one trade meets another that problems arise. Builders often cause problems in reliance on the single trade practitioners for their final product. In short, mold is usually caused by incompetence and it is only resolved by experts that are knowledgeable in the trades and building science.