Mold can be a challenge to deal with. If you have to hire a professional for help, do not hire anyone without prequalifying them first. Use this questionnaire to help find the right one for you!
OK. So we opened up with a trick question. Be wary of a remediation firm that wants to test their own job. It is a potential conflict of interest. On the front end of a job, they could be misleading you to believe a problem is worse than it really is, thus creating a false need for their services. On the back end of a job they are essentially grading their own test. Neither is a good situation. To avoid this, we highly recommend that a professional, independent third party perform pre and post-testing verification on mold jobs.
Watching 20 minutes of YouTube videos on “mold cleanup” does not qualify one to perform mold remediation. Is it rocket science? No, but there are a lot of standards-of-care and liability issues at play. You should look for certifications from organizations such as the IICRC and RIA. In addition to formal multi-day courses, continuing education is required for certified mold remediation contractors.
It’s very important to get specific with the prospective mold remediation contractor on the qualifications of the technicians actually performing the work. Many firms are qualified to do mold remediation under a blanket or umbrella certifications (i.e. franchises). Every project should have at least one certified mold remediation technician leading and supervising the jobsite.
You should request a certificate of insurance for any contractor doing work at your home, particularly mold remediation. Is the firm insured to do mold remediation or are they just a general contractor or handyman? General liability insurance does not encompass mold remediation. Ask to see the “pollution liability” coverage on their certificate.
Mold remediation can come in many shapes and sizes depending on certain variables. For example, what is the material that is affected? Porous materials such as carpeting and sheetrock require a different process from semi or non-porous materials such as wood or metal. Regardless of the variables, you should still listen for some key elements to the process: Safety precautions for employees and building occupants, containment and engineering controls to prevent cross contamination, and mold removal techniques.
Mold needs three things to grow: moisture, food, and time. The only thing we can really hope to control is moisture. If not already known, a good mold remediation contractor should be able to help you identify the source of the excess moisture. The problem (improper ventilation, leaking pipe, etc…) should be addressed along with the mold remediation issue. If the moisture problem is resolved and the mold is removed, the issue should not return.
Have you ever heard of the “tail light guarantee”? The service is guaranteed until you see their tail-lights as they drive away. Obviously this is not acceptable. A reputable mold remediation contractor should offer a minimum of a two year workmanship guarantee on their services. It should be transferable to the new owners upon sale of the property.