Can mold be completely removed from a house? It depends on the type of mold, the severity of the problem and the state of the house itself. We’ll answer some of the biggest questions regarding mold remediation.
Should I Get My House Tested for Mold?
The answer is typically not. If you see the white, grey or black mold growth, there’s no point pre-testing it. You know it is there and has a rough idea of the severity of the problem. You don’t need to know what type of mold it is because remediation methods don’t change based on the type of mold.
The only time people can reasonably demand a mold test is to prove the prior mold problem was properly remediated. For example, a potential home buyer who learned that the house was previously flooded may demand a mold test.
How Does Mold Affect the Value of a Home?
If there’s a little mold growing in the soap dish in the bathroom, it is unsightly but not harmful per se. After all, you can remove that with the right cleaning chemicals and an afternoon of scrubbing. This won’t hurt the value of your home.
Black mold growing in the walls and floors is a health hazard, and in this case, it severely impacts the value of the home. Large areas of mold growth in unusual locations will hurt the value of your home, too, because it suggests drainage problems or water leaks. This is why you may be forced to remove the mold completely before you could sell the house or get an FHA loan on it.
If the house has a mold problem and you failed to disclose it or remediate it, and you could be sued. In fact, this problem is so bad that many people have the house tested for mold if the inspector suggests it is an issue. If the house has a mold problem you’ve tried to clean up or hide, they can break the contract to buy it citing fraud.
What Can Prevent You from Removing Mold From a House?
Dampness in a home can fuel mold and mildew growth. Sterilizing a house to kill the mold won’t matter in the long run if there are still water leaks in the plumbing pipes in the wall or periodic flooding in the basement. You cannot completely remove mold from a house if the water that feeds its growth is still a problem.
Another reason mold may come back is that mold spores have gotten into the heating and cooling system. Then they are recirculated throughout the house, re-infecting anywhere there is enough water to let it grow.
Changing out the air filters in the HVAC system after you remove the mold is only the first step. Cleaning the air vents and drying out the attic may be necessary, too. A side benefit of this approach is that mold growth is retarded by good ventilation.
What Factors Determine the Cost to Remove Mold?
We’ve mentioned that mold may be fueled by a water leak in the wall or flooding of the home. The cost to remove the mold in the home is proportional to the size of the problem. If the mold is limited to a section of wet drywall, it may all be removed for a few hundred dollars while the plumbing problem is fixed.
The more work it takes to rip out the affected materials, dry it out, sterilize it and replace, the greater the cost. If it is affecting an entire wall or floor, expect to pay at least a thousand dollars.
If you’re repairing and remediating an attic or HVAC system containing mold, the price tag is several thousand dollars. If the entire house has been flooded and now has mold growing throughout it, the cost to remediate the mold damage will be more than ten thousand dollars.
If the flood damage is only compounded by a serious mold problem, the homeowner may have to sell the house to an investor who will gut it, clean it and rebuild it.
This is why you must break out the fans and try to dry out an area as soon as the floodwaters recede or the hot water leak has been plugged.
Another reason is that the insurer won’t cover the full cost of the damaged flooring and mold remediation if you didn’t try to mitigate it. This can include fans or industrial-grade dehumidifiers.
What Should I Do to Get a Good Price on Mold Remediation?
Shop around. Get several price quotes before you hire someone to solve your mold problem. This gives you a reasonable price range for your particular problem. It also gives you enough information to recognize an unreasonably low price quote. Don’t go with a bidder who costs a fraction of what everyone else cites.
They’ll either inflate the scope of work or add in surprise charges at the end to cover the cost of their labor and materials. For example, the scope of work should be the removal of the obvious affected area and cleaning the rest of the room. Depending on the situation, you may need to clean the adjoining rooms, too.
However, you shouldn’t expect to get the house because there is mold in one corner of the bedroom.
Price quotes that are extremely high can be discarded as well when you have several other quotes. A side benefit of having multiple quotes is that you can present that information to your first choice contractor and see if you can get a discount.
Don’t try to save money by hiring a regular handyman. If the mold problem is so bad you can’t clear it up with bleach water, the job should only be done by a licensed, experienced tradesperson.
They have higher overhead costs for their job than the average handyman, too, since they have to carry hefty liability and worker’s comp insurance in case you or their workers are made ill by their work.
Note: If the mold removal team isn’t bothering with HEPA air scrubbers while wearing safety gear, you know they’re cutting corners and endangering everyone’s health.
Mold is in the air around us, and that’s why it appears so quickly when the right conditions arise. However, this doesn’t mean you can’t deal with it when it appears or do what you can to prevent it in the first place.