MOLD REMEDIATION AND PREVENTION

Crawlspaces and More is proud to provide mold removal services for your home or business. We don't just kill the mold, our goal is to completely remove all types of mold from your crawlspace or basement and prevent it from recurring. By using a safe mixture of bio-degradable cleaning agents and our proprietary application method, we are able to service your home in a way others can't.

What is mold, why do I have mold in my home, and should I be concerned?

All varieties of mold (sometimes called mildew) are a type of fungus. Fungal growth is all around us in nature, in our homes, on our bodies, and even in the produce department of your local grocery store. You've probably even eaten some recently.


So what's the big deal?


The common consensus among doctors and scientists is that mold isn't bad for you - as long as it's not concentrated and allowed to grow in a confined space. Essentially, it's not the mold itself that's bad for you - it's the buildup of toxic spores that get into the air. Once these spores are airborne in an environment that allows them to thrive, the mold multiplies quickly and emits more spores. This concentration of spores is what becomes harmful to your health. If you have respiratory problems or allergies, you're probably already familiar with the effects of breathing in a moldy environment. Even if you're a perfectly healthy person though, you should be cautious. Like smoking, inhaling mold spores can take weeks, months, or even years before you see the effects. Mold remediation is far less expensive than dealing with long term health problems. We offer free inspections, and solutions are probably less expensive than you'd imagine. Why risk it?


Other than the obvious health concerns to people living in my home, is mold bad for my home?


Yes. There are many types of mold, but all mold is a type of fungal growth. Fungus naturally occurs on wood and it's purpose is to deteriorate and destroy wood. Aside from discoloring drywall and causing foul odors, mold growth can develop into structural problems. Some infections are as serious as termite infestations. If mold is allowed to develop unchecked, it develops mycelium, a root structure similar to the way trees grow deeper into soil as they grow larger in size. Mycelium feed on your wood, slowly destroying it the same way fungus kills trees. Eventually, it completely rots the wood, which can destroy your home. This is especially concerning for homeowners who have a home that is over 25 years old, because mold could be old enough to already be causing damage. We will inspect your foundation and framing when we evaluate your home for mold, and can quote and perform repairs if needed.


How did mold get into my home in the first place?

Mold spores are always present in the environment. Every time you open a door or window, a few microscopic spores enter the home. Normally, it dies out quickly once inside. Mold needs four things to grow: moisture, warmth, food, and oxygen. As a homeowner, you can only control one of these: moisture. You cannot eliminate warmth, food (organic surfaces such as wood), or oxygen. You can easily control moisture. Mold needs moisture - a lot of it - to stay alive and flourish. Aside from direct contact with a water source (such as a leaking basement), mold gets moisture directly from the air. Fortunately, we live in a golden age of science and we know exactly home much moisture mold needs to thrive, and the number is 65% relative humidity (RH). Humidity is always related to temperature, but that's complicated  so we'll skip the science lesson and you can research that on your own. 


The point is, through air conditioning, we are able to control the moisture level in the home so that mold isn't a factor. You may not know it, but your HVAC system is a huge dehumidifier that happens to blow cold/warm air - conditioned air. The problem is, your crawlspace and your basement need to be conditioned too, not just the living spaces of the home. Keep scrolling for specific details related to crawlspace or basement mold.

Mold on joists and sub-flooring in crawlspace.

Mold on drywall in basement as a result of rainwater intrusion.

CRAWLSPACES

What is a "Crawlspace", why do I have one, and why should I care?

A crawlspace is a loose term used to describe any space in the home at ground level that the builder didn't frame out or otherwise make a useful space out of. A typical crawlspace is about 3 feet tall, is enclosed by foundation walls, and has a dirt floor. Crawlspaces come in all shapes and sizes. A house is built on a crawlspace because it is convenient to the builder, and because it's the least expensive foundation style option. This doesn't mean your home is poorly built, sometimes the longest lasting, well-designed homes are placed over a crawlspace. Crawlspaces also feature great service access, utility space, and even storage if setup correctly. If you didn't have a crawlspace, you'd have furnaces, ducts, water heaters, electrical wires, and plumbing in your garage or attic (or worse yet, cemented in place under a slab). Think of a crawlspace as being a basement, just shorter.


So why the fuss?

According to latest studies, around 25% (up to 50% if your HVAC is located there) of the air in your home comes from the crawlspace due to the Stack Effect. Every time you open a door or turn on the A/C, you just caused a pressure and temperature difference. The result is that air is always circulating the home. Most HVAC systems aren't sealed properly, and commonly pull air from the crawlspace into the home. This is why it's important to do what home-builders usually neglect: take care of the crawlspace. It's as much a part of your home as any other room, and arguably more important because it's the foundation your entire home is built upon.

Since mold is a wood-destroying fungus, it is just as bad for your wood framing as termites or water damage. It can also cause significant health problems. 


How did I get so much mold in my crawlspace?

Mold in the crawlspace is caused by excess humidity. Humidity is the measurement of water vapor in the air. Even if you have a seemingly dry crawlspace and good ground coverage, you probably have mold somewhere. This is because of one critical building fault: foundation vents. Foundation vents are those rectangular shaped cutouts in the foundation wall. They represent very old science and cause your home to be at the mercy of the outside weather. An open air "vented" crawlspace causes the air under the home to be whatever the the air is outside - cold in the winter, and hot/humid in the summer. If it's just rained and outside humidity is 70%, guess what the humidity level is in your crawlspace? 70%. More info about vents can be found at our encapsulation page. In addition to vents, you may have an inadequate plastic ground cover, water intrusion, HVAC condensation, and other problems. When we inspect for mold, we not only look for mold, we also look for ways to eliminate the causes so that it cannot grow back once cleaned. Head over to our encapsulation page to learn more.


What are my treatment options?


Mold in crawlspaces will grow on any wood framing surface. This includes pressure treated wood, main beams, and subflooring. None of these affected areas can be removed and discarded, so we remediate them using Sodium Hypochlorite spray. This leaves wood mold free and clean. More information on treatment below.

Left to Right: A foundation vent, mold damage

Far right: Visible mycelium destroying the joist. This home was built in the 1970's.

BASEMENTS

We Service both Finished and Unfinished Basements. If you have a musty smell, discoloration on trim (baseboards) carpets, wood, or visible mold in your basement, we are here to help. Unlike mold found in crawlspaces, basement mold is typically due to rainwater intrusion. Since we also perform waterproofing services, we not only treat the mold, but we also stop the cause of the mold: a leaking foundation. By combining services with the same company, you not only have less hassle, but you also save money.


If you have a basement or are considering buying a home that features a basement and you suspect mold or moisture problems, contact us today to schedule a free inspection and quote.

HOW DO WE TREAT MOLD?

Mold can be removed two ways: By cleaning the affected surface ("remediation") or by removing/discarding the affected surface. Drywall, carpet, and other non-permanent surfaces cannot be cleaned and must be discarded. 

Permanent surfaces such as wood framing and structural supports are remediated by using a Sodium Hypochlorite liquid treatment. This not only cleans the affected surface, it completely removes all mold. Other companies may only kill the mold using peroxide or poisons, be we eliminate it completely. Once the mold is sprayed, we apply another crawlspace de-odorizer/disinfectant spray, and scrub by hand as needed. That way it's completely destroyed you never see or smell it again, the airborne spores are gone, and you have healthy air quality. 


I heard bleach is bad for cleaning mold?

Regular bleach is bad for a couple reasons, and here's how we're different. Household bleach contains 5% Sodium Hypochlorite, compared to our concentrated mixture of 15%. Because regular bleach is mostly water, it just smears mold and doesn't kill or remove it entirely. Also, we take great care to dry out the treated area quickly. This is important because household bleach contains a lot of water, which can make the mold worse if not dried properly.


I don't believe you, I'm going to clean it myself.

 As fellow homeowners, we understand. We love DIY as much as you do and are big fans of saving money wherever possible. But, consider this. For just pennies an inch, we use a chemical you can't buy online or in stores, we use a pressurized spray applicator that we built, we own safety gear, exhaust fans (each one costs as much as a car payment), and have years of experience to deliver the results you want. We'll be happy to help you any way we can, but at the end of the day we think you'll be glad you let us handle this project for you.


How much is treatment?

In a basement, mold growth is usually contained to drywall and trim. These cannot be treated and must be discarded and replaced. Every situation is different, but usually removal is included in the cost of waterproofing. We do not install new drywall, carpets, or floors.

In a crawlspace, mold is usually contained to joists and sub-flooring. If you have insulation, we can remove and replace it as part of the service at additional cost. We also install vapor barriers and waterproofing systems. Every home is different so there isn't a flat cost per foot, but we can assure you our pricing is competitive and we deliver value and quality.


Did you know?

If you are allergic to mold, dead mold can still cause a reaction. Also, mold that has been killed by moldicide still smells bad, and can negatively affect your home's value when it's time to move on. Make sure you choose a professional that removes mold, not just kills it or solely relies on disinfecting a surface.

Cleanup pictures and results of actual projects

Exhaust Fans create negative pressure in the crawlspace as we work



Go Green! Facts about Sodium Hypochlorite: 

Sodium Hypochlorite is the active ingredient in a common household cleaner you are already familiar with: Chlorine Bleach. It is a safe, natural cleaning agent that not only completely destroys mold, it also disinfects application surfaces.


Sodium Hypochlorite is applied in liquid form and evaporates as Chlorine gas, which degrades into oxygen as it dries. This is a quick process which only takes a few hours after application. Some companies apply dangerous moldicides or sand - blast mold into the air, which can contaminate your home for months. We clean your home safely and in a way that does not damage our environment.


Sodium Hypochlorite is non-carcinogenic, non-flammable, and complies with the EPA's Clean Air Act. It is manufactured with non-ozone depleting substances. It is not defined as a Hazardous Air Pollutant per 40 CFR 112. Sodium hypochlorite 12.5%+ products are registered with the U.S. EPA as a fungicide as required under Federal law. All data is taken from the Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS).

Sounds Good, What's Next?

 Schedule a free evaluation by contacting us.

SAFETY FIRST

Important Things You Should Know:


Your safety is our top concern. Before we begin treatment, we will install negative pressure exhaust fans. This constantly sucks air from the crawlspace to the exterior so that airborne spores are ejected. You will need to make sure the HVAC system (regardless of location) is Off for all zones for 8 hours. This helps us prevent contamination while working.


While our product degrades safely and quickly once dry, because we use strong concentrations you will notice a strong smell while we are working. We advise that all people (including pets) be out of the home for 8 hours once we begin. We try to make treatments early morning work. Fans are left in place for 24 hours to ensure all surfaces are dry. You should not walk near the fans while in operation. You will be able to hear them and placement is near access doors and foundation vents.


Treated surfaces will have a similar smell to bleach, which lasts for up to 1 week. Some homeowners report this smell in the living are of their home. The first 24 hours typically have the strongest smell, especially in older homes. This is normal and a result of the application of the Sodium Hypochlorite. Most people relate the smell to walking into a grocery store just after the floor is mopped, or getting near a swimming pool. If this bothers you, opening windows 8 hours after treatment to clear the air is advised. You can use the heating and air system normally 8 hours after we clean. This typically evacuates any smell very quickly if windows are left open while running. If you have any questions or concerns along the way, call us anytime. If you have respiratory problems, are elderly, or have young children, ask a doctor if you should arrange to leave the home for a period of time longer than the recommended 8 hours.