Frequently Asked Questions (FAQS)
Attic mold is a winter issue – When an attic stays warm, or has visible icing, no snow is showing on the roof and your neighbors have snow on their roof; This isn’t necessarily an insulation issue. It could be the result of a venting and humidity issue. Check to see if your home’s furnace humidifier is set too high. A rule of thumb, if you’re noticing moisture on the inside of the windows throughout the home (not just the kitchen or bathroom) then you are adding too much moisture into the air. Each person in a household produces 75 gallons of water per day thru breathing, perspiring, cooking and bathing. Pets also add to the humidity of the home, especially fish tanks. All the moisture travels to the relatively cold attic and condenses on the attic roof decking. Attics in Northern Ohio have areas that stay colder than other parts. It’s common for the north side of the attic to have more mold damage then the rest of the attic. This happens because the north side receives less direct sun on the exterior of the roof. Attics with bath venting directed into the attic may have dark mold staining near the bath fan discharge.
Molds commonly found in attics are usually less toxic than those found in the basement. Keep in mind not all molds that are black produce toxins and some molds that are white and other colors can produce toxins. We only bring this up because most people assume mold is always dark and black. Dark mold found in most attics is not toxic (although it may be allergenic). The most common type is Cladosporium mold which can cause common health conditions like “Jock Itch” and “Athlete’s Foot”. This is a normal mold you would expect to find in attics. Attics are unique areas because they contain a hybrid of both commonly found inside and outside when they are ventilated properly. This happens because they are under cover of a roof but air can travel freely and be blown in and blown out. Cladosporium mold is one of nature’s strongest recycling tools and is responsible for the decay of organic materials similar to turning leafs and wood into topsoil. When the dangerous types of mold are found in attics they will be accompanied with a higher humidity level.
Issues causing attic mold can include an on-going roof leak or severe lack of ventilation. Aspergillus which is commonly viewed as a white, powdery, fuzzy material and Stachybotrys “the black mold” can often be found in attics that have suffered a long period of water intrusion like a roof or chimney leak.
A properly vented attic never molds. Once an attic becomes molded you have to correct the venting issue first in order to ensure it doesn’t come back.
Is it necessary to have proper venting per square foot of the attic floor? Most sources say 1 box vent per 400-500 square feet of attic floor. A typical 1000 square foot attic would require 4 to 5 box vents. The next consideration is to ensure that bathroom fans are properly venting out of the attic. This is a common venting issue that leads to mold growth in the attic. It’s important they are vented through the roof for the roof to breath. Without proper venting, the attic will build up with heat in the summer causing the roof to expand, pop roofing nails, and loosen shingles. This reduces the life of a roof and will lead to leaking and degradation of the roofs integrity. If you ever noticed in the summer months that your second floor is drastically hotter than the downstairs it’s likely the roof is not vented correctly.
In the winter the attic sheathing gets wet and softens causing the wood decking to bow and decay. Indications of this problem include: icicles and ice damming. If you’re wondering why your roof doesn’t have snow on it when your neighbors does; this is likely caused by improper air flow not a lack of insulation. Ridge vents alone won’t do the job. This is especially true for hip roofs (pyramid/ pie shaped roof lines) if the peak vent or ridge vent is too small or there is not enough running feet installed from the entire length of the roof. Other roof issues occur when a roof has a very low / easy to walk pitch. These roofs have air that doesn’t really move; warm air sits in the middle of the attic and doesn’t get out through the ridge vent. Ridge vents work best on homes that have a long run on the peak and are more steep. This allows the ridge vent to act as a chimney, but the ridge is only one part of the system. The ridge is an outlet of hot air. Proper installation of this venting system would include soffit venting. This lower vent at the eves allows cooler air to come into the attic and pushes hot air out of the attic through the peak. Some houses have soffits but they are sometimes decorative and are not open enough to allow for proper venting . These can be opened and we can discuss this as an option however in most cases the biggest value is to add additional box vents (sometimes called static vents or turtle vents).
Generally if you can’t see daylight in a watertight roof then there is not adequate ventilation. Bathroom fans need to vent directly out of attic. Venting into the attic adds unwanted moisture. This can even happen when the bathroom fan isn’t being used. The warm moist air for the home’s interior is still being pushed through the bathroom fan opening. This occurs when the forced air furnace kicks on and pushes air that has more force behind it then the air in the attic.
For most of us, mold has always been in our environment and we have adapted. Many of us experience allergic reactions from owning a cat or dog but for a small percent of our clients this issue is more severe than a simple allergic reaction.
Some clients have issues where they have an immune response that causes health issues. They can no longer process the mold in their environment and get a buildup of mold and the toxins produced in their bodies. The 5 major types of molds that cause reactions include: Aspergillus, Penicillium, Fusarium, alternaria, and of course the dreaded “Black Mold “ Stachybotys. Mold toxins can cause skin reactions, immune response, fatigue, mental fogginess, fatigue and other health issues that can be debilitating. When treating your home for these issues, We will generally begin searching your home where you spend the majority of your time.
Before we get into mold issues we should discuss what may look like mold but is not. White crystal material found on basement blocks or concrete floors is not mold. Efflorescence is a mineral accumulation sometimes indicative of water pressure pushing through the block. Since concert and concrete blocks are non-organic materials, mold will not grow on these surfaces. The main cause of mold in Northern Ohio is due to basement floors existing as a cold surface. The floor is located below the frost line (the frost line starts at 36 inches down from the dirt surface) and the ground is warm enough not to freeze. For this reason, buildings are built below this level to insure the foundations won’t heave or move due to seasonal freeze cycles. Below the frost line the earth maintains a constant temperature of 57 degrees. Basement mold growth is mostly a summer issue. During the summer the warm moist air finds the cold floor and condenses, then it evaporates and goes up. The moisture starts the mold growth process on the basement walls, floors and ceilings. Without a dehumidifier mold can grow within 24 to 48 hours.This includes a flooded basement. Some homes have mold that was brought in by the builder who provided lumber at the time of construction. The mold generally is not toxic but is unsightly. The mold generally referred to as “builder mold” is commonly Cladosporium or Basidiospore molds that can be allergenic but don’t produce toxins.
Generally we find more toxic molds in basements versus the attics. These molds include Aspergillus / penicillium and often Stacybotus “The Black Mold”. You are likely to find harmful molds from water issues that remain unresolved for long periods of time. These issues can be the result of flooding, hot water tank leaks, furnace a/c condenser pipe leaks, pipes bursts, kitchen ice makers and, water line leaks. The most common issue however is from not running a dehumidifier. If the ceiling tiles in the basement are drooping or the ceiling tracks have rust this may be indicative of moisture and in turn a mold issue.
Mold professionals can’t see behind drywall or under carpet but signs of water can often be found on soft materials where damage is seen behind or under these items.
It often makes sense to test for mold behind these areas because basement mold types tend to be more toxic than attic mold. Unlike attics that we have less contact with and airflow is present, basements have a direct impact on our everyday life. The Basement is an area where your family spends the most time. It may be a place your kids play, you work, workout, or do laundry.
Most houses have a forced air furnace. This means that air from the basement goes through the duct system and then circulates throughout the home. This pushes mold throughout the entire home. We recommend a furnace and duct cleaning with sanitization when mold work is completed in the basement . If the attic and basement are areas that don’t get a lot of attention, mold can go unnoticed but should be cleaned and treated once you have the facts.
Most often a crawl space exists without a vapor barrier. If the crawl space has a dirt floor, water is percolating and evaporating from the ground up. A vapor barrier will stop this moisture from coming into this space. Crawlspaces grow mold because of waterproofing issues and lack of dehumidification.
- Dry out the area with fans and dehumidifiers
- Remove damaged materials – drywall and wood
- Remove personal items including clothes and furniture
- Wash clothing with 20 mule team borax or dry-cleaning clothes to kill mold
- Clean the carpets, cleaning chemicals kill mold
- Drying the area will not stop mold from being a problem. Mold goes dormant and will not go away on its own even after the area is dry To remove mold you wil want to wipe it down whn its on a hard surface with bleach. The CDC says to mix it at a ratio of “1/3 cup per gallon of water“and it will kill mold. The caveat is that it only works on hard surfaces and not on soft materials. These soft surfaces include drywall, carpet paneling ceiling tiles. they should be removed and disposed of off site . Also bleach pulls paint so be careful not to ruin your painted walls or ceilings.
- Another DIY treatment that is especially good for chemically sensitive individuals is white vinegar diluted at a ratio of 2 parts vinegar to 1 part water. Most store bought vinegar is very low in the active chemical that kills mold so this process will take more materials to get the job done.
- Keep in mind some individuals with high sensitivity to scents and chemicals may have issues with all these approaches.
- Call us for more ideas, we can help. There isn’t a product that can be purchased at a local hardware store to seal and prevent mold growth. Our products are commercial and not easily obtained by the general public. “Kilz” type paint is not always the best solution, as some of these products are latex based and are often a food source for mold.
- For diy mold cleaning tips the EPA and the CDC have a great great additional information at the following links
- If the area of concern is under 100 sq feet, most homeowners can do a Diy fix. If you are uncomfortable about attempting this type of work and want some guidance call us for free. We will walk you through what you can do yourself. If the mold issue is over 100 sq feet you may need a mold expert.
Mold can be any color, sometimes mold is white and can be missed. Most people think of mold as black or brown in color. If you have a health issue that you believe is caused by mold, it may make sense to have an extra set of eyes to look and evaluate the home for mold . If you have have medical testing that indicated a sensitivity to mold, it makes sense to have areas tested. This testing will determine if the home has issues that are not visible. This will let you know if your sensitivities are the result of higher concentrations of mold in your home and identify any links to your issues. Testing is a great way to document your exposure to mold and be able to discuss in an informed way with your health advisor. The best test for this purpose would be air samples. Air sampling identifies what you are breathing in, not just what molds a surface has on it. A mold professional can help to identify the molds found visually on surfaces as there are a handful of usual suspects we deal with on a regular basis.
Our mold inspection process starts with a visual inspection of the outside. We look for any damage that is leading to a water intrusion. Once we come inside we take the time to listen more then we talk. We want to understand your concerns and your families general health issues. We do ask if there are any known past or present water issues in the home. After understanding your concerns we begin the visual mold inspection in the basement or lower crawlspace.
Is the basement dry? Is there visible water or moisture damage? Damage can include wood rot, drooping ceiling tile, carpet damage and floor molding damage. We look up at the ceilings as well to determine if mold is present on the ceiling joist, and we inspect the HVAC system for a humidifier.
On the living floors we do the following checks: is there a general water issue on walls, floors and ceilings? We check closets that can be cold areas where the home’s humidity can settle out. We also look at the areas under sinks to see if there is any damage. The attic is next on the list. Does the attic have enough insulation? Is there enough venting for the area? Are the bathroom fans vented properly? Are there any roof or chimney leaks? Most importantly have these issues caused mold in the attic? Our construction knowledge helps us to understand how building components work together. We can correct the underlying cause with our mold work to insure no new mold growth. Tools we utilize include thermal cameras , temp/ humidity sensors, moisture meters and mold testing equipment.
Testing is recommended when: we can’t visually see the mold in an area of concern, If there is a health issue it makes sense to test to see if the mold levels are elevated, for pre or post mold work to make sure there has been good value for the work completed. Types of mold testing include: air sampling, tape lifts , swabs and viable testing. Air sampling is one of the best ways to know what mold is present in your indoor air. Generally air sampling equates to what we would breathing. We compare the outside air (baseline) and want to know if the inside air is elevated as opposed to the outside air. The outside air sample is used to determine if the area is within acceptability for mold types and levels. Air sampling is the most comprehensive mold test for most situations. Tape lift and swab mold testing gives only limited knowledge. They are great tests to gain an understanding of what molds are specific to an area including wall, ceilings or floors. These tests do not provide levels of mold but focus on learning the strain of the mold found or if the substance is mold.
A viable test is one that traps mold spores and keeps the material alive. Viable mold testing reveals the mold type present and whether it is alive or dead.
It is important to know you have mold removal options when removing and treating your home. We offer different processes to match your individual needs including a “Green process”, “Regular process” and “Low oder, low impact process”.
Why do we have 3 options available? We have found that because of the sensitive nature of our work one size fits all just won’t work for every situation. We take our time to listen to your concerns and your hopes for a great outcome.
So which process is best for you? The most popular process is the “Regular option”. This process utilizes general chemicals that are EPA approved for the treatment of mold. These chemicals are safe and used in hospitals and food services. This product kills mold, bacteria and viruses. We can make available all the MSDS sheets for your review. The “Green process” mold removal utilizes nature based materials. They are Thyme based and have a lemon smell. They work as well as our “Regular process”, but they have drawbacks as well. Highly sensitive people may still have an issue with the smell. We can share a sample of the materials before starting work. We do this to ensure that there will be no issue with the smell as we do not want to encounter any frustration or stress with the process. The “Low impact process” utilizes a high concentration of vinegar that is only commercially available. This product does have a smell as well and we would want to ensure that you understand the process before work begins. All three processes are great for the right project. It is important that we understand your specific issue in order to recommend the right approach for your individual needs.
We start our work by protecting the home. We place protective barriers on floors, walls and separations between the areas we are working in and the rest of the home. We seal vents and cover the electrical systems, hot water tanks and the furnace. We start a specialized machine called a negative air machine / air scrubber in the work area. This machine moves the air out of the area and filters it while it works. We remove molded materials and take them with us off the job site. We then HEPA vac the area. After that we apply the correct EPA approved mold killer for your situation to the area. If requested we can use a stain removal treatment to remove or lighten the mold staining in the work area. The next step is to apply a mold encapsulate, this seals the wood materials and prevents mold. We then clean up the job site and take everything with us. We will even recommend or install a dehumidifier for basements and crawl spaces. For attics we will install venting to ensure the underlying cause of the mold has been corrected.
Generally the cost to remove / remediate mold of an average attic in Northern Ohio is between $750.00 – $2400.00. Generally the cost to remove / remediate mold in a basement is between $750-$2000.00. Both ranges are for average homes, a larger home or more complex job that requires more work will be higher.
- We are certified
- We adhere to EPA guidelines
- We use the IICRC Standards
- 18 years experience
- We are local
- We are a woman owned company
- We are not a franchise
- Over 10,000 past clients
- Over 975 good reviews
- Multi year awards for our service
- We have serviced hospitals and government building
- We have taught coursework for mold
- We don’t sell, our approach is all about educating our clients
- Warranted Work: Our difference extends to the warranty you get with our work. For some products it is lifetime guarantee, ask for details, limitations apply.
18 years ago I was selling a home. The home inspector found mold in the attic. Our house was clean, the roof was new, the house was newly sided and the interior was freshly painted. So we were surprised to get this news. We asked the home inspector to come back and show us the mold they found. The news was upsetting and I never had to deal with mold. I was wondering how this could affect the sale of the home. The inspector was patient and showed me that we indeed have mold. This was early in the history of “mold being a thing” era. But other than pointing the mold out he wasn’t that helpful. We had so many questions like would the house ever be sellable. Will we need a loan to pay for something that might be too costly to handle on our own.
We contacted 6 different mold companies and were disappointed with our findings. They wanted to scare us. Many embellished what needed to be done to correct the problem. Some companies recommended removing the entire new roof and the attic insulation, then installing a new roof, treating the attic, taking out and installing new insulation. This huge undertaking for mold that wasn’t even toxic! These companies never told me that materials like fiberglass insulation can’t mold and are non organic.
I wish they just gave me the facts and let me make the right decision. This problem wasn’t in proportion to the issue. I did find a company or 2 that had a more direct approach but it was still very expensive. Under much direst we decided on a company and their prices was 4 times more than what Airguard Restoration charges today. The work was a nightmare. The job was stretched out for over 4 days. That company strung out the job look for more hours then were actually needed to get the job done. With multiple supply runs and other delaying that gave them the “justification “ for the amount paid. They never took care of the underlying issue which was poor venting and no warranty came with the work they performed. I was made to believe their process was like the “emperors cloths” What’s really crazy is that Airguard does this same type of work in about 1 day.
With our proprietary equipment that makes the process faster and less stressful on everyone. Airguard comes fully prepared to complete the work. We bring everything a job requires We send enough man power, tools and material to do it right the first time . But the two most insulting things this company did was to leave me all the trash from their clean up. This trash included bags of molded contaminated materials and used chemical containers. I had small children at the time. Airguard takes everything from the job when it’s completed and cleans up like it never happened.
The cherry on top for this project was the damage to the ceilings of my home. This damage came in a period of time right before the sale of the home was to be completed. When we confronted the contractor he stated that the price was “so tight “ there was no money to repair the damage that they caused. This was unacceptable and down right disrespect-able to treat a customer in this manner. They didn’t fix the issue they caused and left us to pick up after them . Airguard has always had policy to do the right thing. We treat you and your home as if you were family and it was our home. After 10,000 individual jobs we have had issues. But it has been our policy in the course of 18 years to self report. If we caused an issue we will apologize and we own it. Both the good and the bad. Secondly, we would ask you respectfully, do you want us to do the repair at our cost or do you want to pick someone you know to do the repair. Either way we will pay, no arguing, no hassles.
Ohio is a non-licensed mold contracting state. In theory this means that anyone with a pickup truck and a website can do mold work. Like in everything, experience matters. Time in a profession matter but so does being Mold Certified. A certifications in mold help to insure your project is done to industry best practices. These practices will leads to beneficial results for everyone. No one wants to spend good money after bad. A mold Certification has 4 basics parts that are covered with a focus on best practices. The core knowledge covered in obtaining a mold certification include 1) Mold inspection, 2) Mold types of found 3) Mold testing protocol 3) Mold remediation protocols . Inspection is knowing where to look and knowing what you’re looking at. Is there a water source, if so how does that fits in to the understanding of the home in holistic way. The types of mold found is important as well because certain molds need more moisture than others. Some molds also have more health related issues. Mold testing , should it be done? An example in a basement with no dry wall that is completely open may not need testing when the mold is visible. In this situation a visible inspection may be adequate. Unless there is a health issue. 4) Mold removal protocols include setting up containments. This insures mold isn’t brought thru the entire house and causing cross contamination. Proper cleaning techniques. Including never mixing chemicals in a manner that are dangerous. Also a Certified Mold Company should talk to about the process and get you a list of MSDS sheets. They should explain your options and that a green process may work best for you. The focus should be on getting you the result you need.
Some use the term of mold and mildew as interchangeable words but below is a more nuanced look at each.
Mildew is wet mold it is slim like. It is most found in wet areas like showers of sink basins. This mold is mostly 2 dimensional as it is flat. It can be most colors, not just black. when its on hard surfaces it is easy to scrub and remove.
Mold has a hypha structure similar to a tree. It has finger branches on top the cilia ( which can give mold a fuzzy appearance) the middle is has a stem structure and the bottom has a root systems. The moisture amounts on surfaces that breds mold typically have less moisture content in it than mildew. Mold can be all colors and not just black. When found on soft surfaces Mold needs to be removed with the materials it is growing on and disposed.
So which is more dangerous. Both mold and mildew have the same types it’s all a mater of what state you find them in wet or more dry.
Mold Warranty Up to 10 years ( with some products )
Having the mold work completed successfully is one part. But isn’t the assurance that the issue will not return just as important. We have the longest warranty in the industry with some services caring a 10 year fully transferable guarantee. The others guys can kill the mold but can they reassure you or your homes buyers that the mold issue was guaranteed to not return.
We can achieve this by our exclusive process of Killing the mold , removing the staining, apply a mold growth barrier and our venting work . This 4 part system has over 10,000 satisfied customers .
Our core values are integrity, satisfaction, education and value. We have the best reviews of anyone in our industry, with the highest amount of past customer referrals. We pride ourselves on our ability to not only fix those problems, but ensure it never happens again. We have over 18 years experience in the mold remediation industry, helping HomeOwners, Realtors, Hospitals, industrial and commercial clients with their mold issues like basement mold, attic mold and all other moisture related issues. Our inspectors will get to the root of the problem. Our work is backed by an industry leading Lifetime Fully Transferable Guarantee on some services (restrictions apply see warranty for details).
Airguard Restoration specializes in residential, commercial, and industrial mold and moisture problems. Whether you’re selling your home and need to get rid of the mold for pending inspection, or you’re a healthcare facility that wants to ensure the well being of your patients we have a solution. We offer several options including 100% non toxic green processes. We work with banks, realtors and home inspection teams daily and know exactly what they require when you buy or sell your home. Mold can grow anywhere in your home, because of that we are not just a mold team. We can get your issue handled from mold removal to helping you understand what roof repairs or stopping water from coming into your foundation whatever you may need. We are your local family owned solution. We are northern Ohio’s most trusted with over 950 good reviews and have won 10 years in a row as a super service award. We have helped over 10,000 customers in our 18 years.