Do you need Anti-microbial coatings in the mold removal process? All to often remediators use them inappropriately. Surprisingly many in the industry believe they are a part of the mold remediation process; they are NOT! When should you use them, less often then you might think?
As we have discussed in earlier blog posts, the key to mold prevention is controlling moisture. Keep indoor relative humidity below 60 percent, ideally between 30-50 percent. Ventilation and conditioning your interior spaces are essential to preventing microbial growth. Ensure that there is no excess moisture penetration or accumulation and whenever possible prevent excess condensation through the use of dehumidification. If microbial contamination does occur, addressing the source of the moisture is vital. Once this has been addressed remediation may need to occur using a certified mold remediation contractor if mold growth has occurred (and can occur within 24-48 hours once moisture and some building materials, which act as a potential source of mold food, meet).
You probably know from reading my blog and visiting my website, mold is not as bad as the media and some of my colleagues make it out to be. Mold affects different people in different ways. For the majority of us it's nothing more than an allergen that we may or may not react to. Some people are more sensitive and susceptible to the potential adverse effects of mold growth. Of course if someone has a compromised immune system mold can be life threatening. Once a client makes it clear that he or she falls into the sensitive category, a mold remediation contractor should always consider approaching an already sensitive topic (anti-microbial coatings) with even more caution. Sensitized individuals can react to coatings in the same way that they react to other chemicals.
Too often my project managers and I find ourselves looking at a project where mold cleanup has supposedly occurred. What we often find is mold remediation contractors not using the proper cleaning protocols and relying on the anti-microbial coating to do their work for them. Just this week alone, I saw one residential project where they sprayed (applied) just enough product to conceal the visible mold growth, yet not enough to be effective. The other project was a commercial building where the moisture had not been addressed and it had a very heavy application that left the surface looking normal to the untrained eye. The building materials were water damaged to the point that the moisture meter went right through the wall when I attempted to take a reading.
As an indoor air quality expert with decades of experience, I have done my research and have application experience in the field with regards to the use of any anti-microbial coatings. In fact, as the Philadelphia Chapter Director of the Indoor Air Quality Association I've run workshops on the use and misuse of these coatings.
If you're considering a mold removal project I would suggest that you consider your own interaction or potential reaction to all chemicals that may be considered. In the same way that mold has different effects on different people; different products have different effects on humans and other animals.
Craig Camel the founder of http://www.advancedmolddiagnostics.com is an environmental consultant and building scientist specializing in mold remediation and mold removal. He is also the owner of http://www.advancedstuccoinspection.com which specializes in stucco removal and stucco repair.
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