Post-Remediation or Clearance Testing in Los Angeles

Mold removal los angeles mold remediation in Los Angeles California
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FREE INSPECTIONS AND OTHER MOLD SCAMS
SECRETS TO MOLD REMEDIATION in LOS ANGELES

2 SECRETS TO MOLD REMEDIATION

1. ALWAYS GET A CLEARANCE TEST

2. NEVER LET YOUR REMEDIATION CONTRACTOR DO IT

Avoid being the next victim of mold remediation fraud. Do not let your contractor clear his own work!
Click here for details.
 

 

Who Pays For Post-Remediation Verification?

You do! That's another reason why it is so important to choose the right remediation contractor. If a remediation job fails to meet industry standards the contractor must find out why and correct the problem. Then the work must undergo a second post-remediation verification. And if that fails, a third. And if that fails, a fourth. And every post-remediation verification costs the same as the first one.

During the interview, talk to your contractor about post-remediation verification (also called clearance testing). Most contractors do not pay for testing. If they do they usually insist on doing it themselves or having someone they know do it. But even the best contractors don't fail their own work. For obvious reasons it is always in your best interest to have a third-party independent Inspector perform clearance testing.

If you paid to get rid of a mold problem and the clearance test fails, you still have a mold problem. If you still have a mold problem, you will be dealing with it again sooner or later. An independent testing company can help you avoid future problems by insuring that your remediation job was done properly.


Tips

Here are a few tips to help you better understand post-remediation verification. Discuss these things with your contractor.

1. Tears, holes, and gaps in containment materials can cause a clearance test to fail. Additionally, breached containments cost more because areas outside the contained work space require testing to confirm or rule out cross-contamination.

Increase the likelihood of first-test clearance with air-tight containment. Stay out of the containment during remedial work. Traffic in and out increases the probability of a breached containment and a second test.

2. Post-remediation verification should be done after all the mold has been removed but before any new construction materials are installed. The Inspector should be able to examine all salvaged remediated materials. If new drywall is installed and the clearance test fails, the new drywall will likely have to be removed to find out why.

3. If anti-microbial coatings are going to be applied, (a step some contractors call "encapsulation"), it should be done after verification as a precautionary measure to help construction materials resist moisture in the future, not to cover up water stains or hide mold growth. If for some reason the contractor chooses to encapsulate prior to verification, only clear coatings should be used. Solid color coatings, paint and stain hiding products like Kilz are often used on framing materials to cover up mold that was not removed. A containment full of freshly painted wood framing may look nice, but if the clearance test fails it is virtually impossible to see why.

Ask your contractor if anti-microbial coatings are going to be used. If so, insist on clear products only. Also, Kilz is strictly a paint and should never be used as an encapsulant. It is not an anti-microbial coating nor does it have any water-proofing properties whatsoever. It serves only one purpose; to cover stains. Often times water damaged framing wood is permanently stained and damaged. But there is a distinguishable difference between water-stains and mold. Water stains don't fail a clearance test, mold does - even when it is painted over with Kilz.

The best way to minimize post-remediation clearance testing costs is to educate yourself on the remediation process from start to finish. Recognizing when something is wrong early.

 

SEE WHAT INFRARED SEES

If your mold inspection is not conducted with infrared thermal imaging, your mold inspection may be inconclusive.

Los Angeles mold removal

Moisture detected in a first floor bathroom ceiling caused by a leaking shower on the second floor.

Mold remediation Los Angeles CA

Moisture detected in a first floor ceiling caused by an improperly sealed shower door gasket above.

Mold testing Los Angeles

Moisture detected in a bedroom ceiling caused by a roof leak.

Post-Remediation clearance testing

Moisture detected in a first floor kitchen ceiling caused by a leak under a second floor kitchen sink.

water plus construction materials equals mold

Moisture detected in a bedroom closet ceiling caused by a roof leak.

Moisture in the ceiling

Moisture detected in a bedroom ceiling caused by an improperly installed drain in a second floor deck.
 

MOLD IN HEATING & AIR CONDITIONING VENTS

Mold collects in dust inside ductwork

Can air ducts become contaminated with mold?

Yes. Dusty HVAC ductwork provides an ideal environment for mold and other allergens to grow in. Air duct systems may be constructed of bare sheet metal, sheet metal with fibrous glass insulation on the exterior, or sheet metal with an internal fibrous glass insulation. Bare sheet metal systems and sheet metal systems wrapped in fibrous glass insulation can be cleaned and disinfected. If ductwork made of sheet metal with internal fibrous glass liner or ductwork made entirely of fibrous glass becomes water damage or mold growth occurs, replacement may be necessary.

Call AMI today for a quote on testing your recycled indoor air
1-800-369-8532

 

Post-Remediation or Clearance Testing


Getting rid of mold is one thing... documenting it is another.

What Is Involved In A Post-Remediation Verification Survey?
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 materials.
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 occurred.


For more detailed information please read on.


Reason 1:
No Visible Mold Growth on Remediated Construction Materials


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.

Mold removal Los AngelesThis 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 removed.

This is how NOT to do mold removalThis 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 painted over.

This is the right way to do mold removal in LAThis 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 remediation job.

 

 

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 humidity.

#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.

 

Reason 2:
All construction materials are dried to current industry standards.

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 of construction materials that were still wet after mold remediation. The blue spot in the infrared picture shows moisture. This 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 are inconclusive.

 

Reason 3:
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.

Mold removal, mold remediation San Diego California. This 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.

 

Reason 4:
The indoor air quality is within acceptable standards.

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.

 

Reason 5:
Cross-contamination of non-contained work areas has not occurred.

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 include:

  • 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.

San Diego mold remediation contractor does a bad containment job. mold remediation containment leaks and cross-contaminates other rooms.   Bad example of a mold remediation containment area. Mold leaks through sloppy containment seal.
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 walls.   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.
     
Good example of a mold remediation containment seal.   Ooops! Forgot to tape the bottom of the containment doorway.
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.
Good example of a professional mold removal containment area.   Clean, professional mold removal contractor work.
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 seals.


Choosing A Qualified Remediation Contractor
Before choosing a "qualified" mold remediation contractor consider this:

1. 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.


2. 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.


3. Always Choose An AmIAQC or IICRC Certified Contractor.
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 certifications.

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 certifications.

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 contractor.
 

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