Getting rid of mold is one thing... documenting it
Is Involved In A Post-Remediation Verification
Post-Remediation means "after mold has
been removed". A post-remediation verification
survey (sometimes called clearance testing) includes
a visual inspection and moisture assessment of the
construction materials that were part of the
remediation work, and air quality testing inside the
work area. Both are necessary to properly assess
whether or not the mold remediation was successful.
Successful mold remediation is defined as follows:
1. No visible mold growth on any of the construction
2. All construction materials are dry according to
current industry standards.
3. The cause of the mold growth has been resolved.
4. Airborne mold spore levels are consistent with
indoor air quality standards.
5. Cross-contamination of non-work areas has not
For more detailed information please read on.
No Visible Mold Growth on Remediated Construction
Mold remediation means REMOVE the MOLD. The goal is
never to KILL mold, it is never to TREAT mold, nor
is it ever to COVER mold up with paint or other
solid color coatings. The goal of mold remediation
is always to REMOVE the mold.
picture was taken during a post-remediation
verification survey. The contractor claimed the work
was completed and ready for inspection. However, the
obvious mold growth seen on the framing materials
shows that all of the mold has not been removed.
This remediation job clearly does not meet industry
standards for the visual component of a
post-remediation verification survey. Ultimately, as
would be expected when visible mold growth is
present, it did failed the air quality test as well.
ENCAPSULATING MOLD GROWTH
The concept of encapsulation was created
by mold removal contractors. The idea is to
literally glue down mold growth that might be
trapped in small, hard-to-reach cracks and crevices
by applying a water proof, anti-microbial coating.
In theory it sounds logical. But technically, if all
the mold has been removed there should be nothing to
encapsulate. Nevertheless, encapsulating has become
an accepted practice when the purpose of doing it is
to prevent a few rogue mold spores from failing a
clearance test. When encapsulation is not acceptable
is when the purpose of doing it is to hide or cover
up mold that could have and should have been
picture was also taken during a post-remediation
survey to show what encapsulation does NOT
look like. This is what painting over mold looks
like. Painting and encapsulating are not the same
thing. Painting over mold with KILZ or any other
solid color paint is just covering up mold so it
cannot be seen and that is NEVER acceptable. If you
are facing a mold remediation project, ask your
contractor before the work begins if he intend to
encapsulate. If encapsulation is to be part of the
remediation process, insist on anti-microbial CLEAR
coatings only. Paint products such as KILZ have no
anti-microbial properties and therefore offer no
protection against reoccurring mold growth.
Furthermore, solid color paints and even solid color
encapsulants make it impossible for an inspector to
know whether or not the mold was removed or simply
picture was also taken from a post-remediation
survey. The remediated framing materials are
restored to original, mold-free condition. A clear
encapsulant, virtually invisible, was sprayed on to
the lumber from the floor to 12 inches high, making
all lumber accessible for inspection. This is an
exemplary example of proper and successful
Why is it so important to REMOVE the mold?
#1. Mold that has been killed, treated, or
covered up can always begin grow again if moisture
reoccurs - even if the moisture is just high
#2. Dead or dormant mold still releases mold
spores into the air. While mold must be alive to
cause further property damage, dead mold spores -
when inhaled - have the exact same effects on people
and animals as mold that is alive. Mold can be
killed, treated, or covered up but if it is still in
your building, all of the health risks associated
with mold are still there to.
All construction materials are dried to current
Mold grows on wet construction materials.
Inexpensive mold contaminated materials such as
drywall, wood trim, cabinets, etc. are typically
removed and replaced. Other materials that are
generally too costly to replace, such as wood
framing, studs, joists, etc. can usually be
remediated by scraping, sanding, and wire brushing
off mold growth.
picture was taken during a post-remediation
inspection. The infrared image shows that some areas
of the construction materials were still wet after
mold remediation (the blue spot in the center frame
is moisture). In this remediation, no visible
evidence of mold was present on any of the
remediated materials. However, the wood framing was
not thoroughly dried. If new drywall had been
installed over this wet lumber, mold would have
begun to grow again.
Infrared cameras are use in all AMI post-remediation
verification surveys to insure all construction
materials are dried out in compliance with industry
standards. If your post-remediation inspection does
not include infrared thermal imaging, your results
The Cause of the Mold Growth Has Been Resolved.
In a Post-Remediation Verification, a visual
inspection is performed inside the containment area
to confirm that the source of water intrusion that
caused the mold growth has been remedied.
picture was taken during a post-remediation
inspection. The contractor said the job was ready
for reconstruction. Yet you can clearly see by the
dark stains on the framing lumber and sub-floor that
the lumber was still wet and the plumbing leak that
caused the mold problem to begin with has not been
resolved. Any new materials installed here would
have been wet immediately and within 2 to 3 days new
mold growth would be certain. Obviously, this
remediation was unsuccessful.
The indoor air quality is within acceptable
The final test of a successful remediation job is
the airborne mold spore levels inside the
containment area are the same or less than outdoors.
This is accomplished by collecting a samples of air
from both locations using specialized equipment
designed specifically for this purpose. Test result
are simple and straightforward. For example:
- If there are more molds in the containment
air than the outdoor air, or if there are
different types of mold in the containment air
than outdoors, the remediation was unsuccessful.
- If airborne spore levels inside the
containment area are higher than outdoors, the
remediation was unsuccessful.
In a Post-Remediation Verification Survey, air
sampling is provides analytical data to
scientifically confirm that which cannot be
confirmed visually. Many mold remediation
contractors provide post-remediation testing,
however, hiring clearance testing out to a
disinterested, unbiased third party mold testing
company can insure against fraudulent testing.
Cross-contamination of non-contained work areas has
When suspicious conditions are visually observed
which raise concerns that cross-contamination may
have occurred in other parts of a building during
the remediation process, testing the air in those
areas is done to confirm or rule out that concern.
Cross-contamination typically occurs when a
containment area has been breached and mold spores
have been blown out of the contained work area and
into other parts of the building. Suspicious
conditions that cross-contamination has occurred
- Improperly or poorly installed containment
walls and doors.
- Tears, holes, and broken seals in the
containment plastic or tape.
The following pictures will help you recognize
the difference between a proper containment job and
an improper one.
This was the entry way into a containment
work area. The excessive use of tape
indicates a lack of contractor experience in
establishing secure containment barrier
Rips, holes, and gaps are seen between the
plastic and the tape that is intended to
secure it. Mold-filled air from inside the
work area is being blown into a non-work
area by high-volume air filtration machines.
This make-shift 3-sided containment was
wrapped so closely around kitchen island
cabinets that there was no room to work
inside. The worker broke the tape seal
several times, cross-contaminating kitchen
air with containment air.
1 of 2 breaches in the tape seal at the
floor. The seal had been broken so many
times that the tape no longer held the
plastic down. Breaches in containment
materials cause cross-contamination of areas
outside the contained work area.
Classic mold blooper story! This contractor
did an excellent job at installing the
containment materials. The plastic was tight
and perfectly sealed around all four sides.
But the plastic in the room right next to
the one on the left was never sealed at the
bottom. This minor detail blew mold spores
through the entire first floor.
This is an example of a properly installed
containment area. Unlike the make-shift
example above, metal pole framing was used
to keep the plastic tight and straight with
no breaches in the tape seal.
Even though the actual remediated area was a
small section of wall, the contained area is
large enough to work in without damaging any
of the materials or putting stress on tape
Choosing A Qualified Remediation Contractor
Before choosing a "qualified" mold
remediation contractor consider this:
Not all mold remediators are licensed contractors.
Currently in most States including
California, there are no licensing requirements for
people who remove mold. In California, removing mold
is classified as janitorial work. That means that
legally, anyone who can wash windows or sweep floors
is allowed to perform mold remediation. This is
important to know because many mold removal jobs
require the removal of cabinetry, plumbing fixtures,
electrical fixtures, and HVAC components, all of
which should only be removed or installed by
licensed carpenters, plumbers, electrical
contractors. For that reason, it is important to
know your mold remediators legal qualifications to
address the entire scope of work, and not just the
removal of mold.
The best person to trust your mold remediation work
to is a licensed contractor who is certified to
perform mold removal. See more on certifications for
mold remediation contractors below #3.
Not all licensed contractors are mold remediators.
If you or a loved one had a
life-threatening condition that required brain
surgery would you choose the best brain surgeon you
could find or a podiatrist that came highly
recommended by Aunt Martha? Obviously that is a
rhetorical question. Yet every day people choose
highly qualified repair contractors to do mold
removal work that they are not qualified to do.
There are many excellent, reputable licensed
contractors who are highly-qualified to perform room
additions, kitchen and bathroom remodels, and even
construct an entire building from the ground up. But
that does not necessarily qualify them to perform
mold remediation. Proper and safe mold removal
requires specialized knowledge and expertise. If
mold remediation work is not done properly,
significant collateral damage can occur to other
mold-free areas of a building by cross-contamination
of airborne mold spores. Furthermore, failure to
implement adequate safety measures to protect the
occupants of a building before, during and after
remediation work can result in serious health risks
and costly litigation.
Choosing the best kitchen and bath contractor to
perform mold remediation work is rarely a wise
decision. It is always best to hire a certified mold
remediation contractor to perform mold remediation.
Always Choose An AmIAQC or IICRC Certified
AmIAQC stands for American Indoor Air
Quality Council. In mid 2009 the AmIAQC was renamed
the American Council for Accredited Certification (ACAC)
to better reflect the exclusive prestige of being
the only IAQ certifying body with CESB accredited
Council-certified mold remediation contractors are
required to maintain the highest industry
qualification standards including a rigorous
continued education credits program and mandatory
recertification every two years. When searching
online for a Council-certified mold remediation
contractor look for one or both of these logos.
IICRC stands for Institute of Inspection, Cleaning
and Restoration Certification. IICRC is a non-profit
certifying body for cleaning and restoration
professionals. It was founded in 1972 to establish
and monitor educational programs and standards most
phases of property restoration. When searching for
an IICRC certified mold remediation contractor
online search for this logo.
Again, the best person to trust your mold
remediation work to is a licensed contractor who is
certified to perform mold removal. The second best
would be one who may not be a licensed contractor
but who is certified by one of these two certifying
bodies. The least desirable choice would be a
licensed contractor with no mold remediation
One last note on choosing a mold contractor. A
Council-certified or IICRC certified mold remediator
is always the best place to start. But always ask
for at least three references and never assume that
a contractor must be OK just because they give you
references. CALL THEM! In fact, always ask for
references that are at least one year old and call
them. Why? Because right after a mold removal job is
done everything looks great and everyone is happy to
be rid of their mold. But if that job was not done
right it might take 6 to 9 months before anyone
knows it. A referral might have nothing but praise
for the contractor immediately following a job, but
nothing good to say about him a year later.
Get referrals and call them. Call the State
Contractors Board to check on their license. Call
the Better Business Bureau to check their rating. If
you don't get satisfactory answers, call another