fbpx

Mold Remediation Service Guide

By | Mold | No Comments
Close-up Of A Shocked Woman Looking at moldy room

Close-up Of A Shocked Woman Looking at moldy room

Household mold isn’t something that should be taken lightly, and part of this is due to the sheer variety of different ways that it can impact health when people are exposed to it for a long period of time. In some cases, it may be mild discomfort, indistinguishable from some common allergies. In other situations, it may present a more serious health issue.

No matter how your body reacts to mold, no one wants to take a chance, especially with the different species of mold that can grow in your house if left unchecked. Because of this, it’s essential that you take the time to consider mold remediation services as a solution to your greater issues.

The #1 Question Everybody Asks??

How Do You Know It’s Time For Mold Remediation Services?


Some sources would have you believe that if you see a small patch of mold in your home, that you’re in good shape to deal with it yourself via a few DIY treatments or cleaning products that you can buy over the counter. Not necessarily, and here are a few reasons why.

  1. Store-bought “test kits” aren’t always reliable, and if you try to apply a specific treatment to the wrong species of mold, you may not get the results you want.
  2. This approach only works for mold that is easily visible or detectable. As we will mention later, there’s a variety of ways mold gets into areas that are much harder to see.
  3. There are other elements that you need to keep in mind, including the presence of dead spores and comparing levels before or after your “remediation” process.

With this said, how can you determine the difference between a smaller mold issue and something that requires full-scale remediation? The truth is, it can be difficult to detect the difference. Mold can grow in any situation where there is humidity or moisture. A lot of the horror stories you hear about mold involve flooding or another water intrusion because it adds a lot of moisture at once, but some summers in certain climates should always be accompanied by a mold inspection. If your home is flooded, though, you should include mold remediation as part of your recovery, no questions asked.

Aside from that, the biggest signs that you should look for mold remediation versus smaller-scale efforts is if you see prolonged signs of mold exposure. For example, mold has a distinct smell, and if you apply some DIY methods and see little results, this may mean that you have it in more areas than anticipated. In addition, if you see a prolonged health impact related to mold, it’s better to be safe than sorry and get mold remediation services before these issues go any further.

Finally, there’s the simple matter of confidence. If you can smell or detect mold in a certain area and aren’t confident about your ability to properly remove it or if there may be mold in other places, you’re better off looking into mold remediation services. Even if you save money upfront with a DIY method, if it doesn’t work, you may have to do it again and again, with no guarantee that you will remove all mold. This will erode the price advantage pretty quickly.

One reason why profession mold remediation services are preferable to DIY options is the timeline that you have to work with when it comes to mold. In optimal conditions (dark, damp, humid) mold can grow in as little as 24 to 48 hours. Note that this is the initial germination. It can take up to a week or longer until the mold is actually visible, which could mean a week of potential health symptoms and issues before you have an idea of what you are dealing with. Going the professional route saves you from dealing with this for even longer.

Sources Of Mold In The Home (and how mold remediation services target them)

One thing you want to do yourself before calling mold remediation services is to get a basic idea of where mold is growing in your home. The biggest reason for this is for your personal and financial benefit. Mold remediation is an essential process but can get expensive if there needs to be additional steps taken to get to the mold, like tearing down drywall or other similar procedures. By knowing how and where mold has gotten into your home, you can budget accordingly.

The easiest way to break this down is by explaining the different components any mold species needs to grow. If any one part of the following list is missing, mold won’t be able to grow.

  1. A food source: In nature, mold will grow on fallen trees or other plant matter. In the home, wood and drywall are some of the most common sources they turn to.
  2. Darkness: Ultraviolet light is harmful for mold, so there needs to be some degree of darkness or cover present.
  3. Oxygen: Although mold can grow without light, it cannot grow without sufficient oxygen.
  4. Warmth: Freezing temperatures and below make it impossible for mold to grow. This is why people in year-round warm climates need to pay special attention to mold.
  5. Moisture: As mentioned before, doesn’t need to be standing water in order for mold to grow. Any moisture can provide a home for mold.

In your typical home setting, there are a variety of different situations that can lead to mold growing. The bathroom and kitchen are always good places to look because certain appliances can lead to more humidity. Combine these with forgotten areas that have shade and aren’t cleaned often, and you have an ideal home for mold.

Aside from these, water leaks of any size are also a prime candidate for mold. For example, if you have a leaky pipe, the dripping water from here provides a constant source of moisture for mold to grow. The same situation applies to moisture from outdoors that comes in through a leak in the roof or attic. In general, on top of acting quickly if you smell mold or have any sudden symptoms that could reflect growing mold, a good practice is to check your roof, attic, and other areas after any rough storm, even if it doesn’t seem like there was major damage. Even a small leak can provide enough moisture for mold to grow, leading to larger issues in the future.

Staging Your Home For Mold Remediation Services

At this point, you’ve established, or at least have an idea, of what is causing your mold and are ready to call in professional help. There are a few steps you can take as a caring homeowner in order to slow the growth and make the work a little easier for your mold remediation professionals when they come.

  1. Take Care of Water: While it may not halt the growth of mold, you can prevent things from getting too out of hand by taking the initiative for outstanding water. In fact, it’s generally recommended that you wear some sort of protective clothing, including a N-95 respirator, protective gloves, and some sort of apron. Most homeowners don’t have these, so you’re probably better off calling a plumber to handle any leaks, as many mold remediation services can’t start until those leaks are fixed.
  2. Be Ready To Fix Adjacent Issues: As we alluded to before, mold growth can also be a symptom of another problem in your house, like a leak. Depending on what contractors you use, you may be able to get mold remediation services and the necessary other repairs done at once, but it’s good to start budgeting for both now.
  3. Check With Your Insurance Company: In general, insurance companies only cover mold remediation costs if the mold issue stems from what is called a “covered peril.” Generally, this includes sudden, accidental situations, like an ice dam in your gutters causing a roof leak and sudden mold. By comparison, mold that slowly grows in your shower likely won’t be covered. Situations like natural disasters generally require their own insurance.
  4. Test For Mold?: The question mark may surprise you, but remember, we mentioned how unreliable home mold tests can be. You’re better off paying the extra money and bringing in a professional before getting your mold remediation services done. This helps you know exactly what type and how much mold you are dealing with. It’s possible that mold remediation services offer these tests as a part of their package. Choosing the right contractor means one less piece of work for you.

As a final side note, we’ve mentioned how mold leads to different medical issues for different people. Once you’re set with the staging process, it may not be a bad idea to talk to your doctor and mention that you’ve found mold in your home. This can give them additional insight to provide treatment.

The Process of Selecting Mold Remediation Services

After staging your home for mold remediation services, the time has come to choose your ideal contractor. You have a lot of different options as far as this is concerned, so it’s important to know what separates the best from the rest of the pack.

For starters, in the world of mold remediation, you need to take a close look at certifications when looking for who is qualified. Unfortunately, there are a lot of certifications out there that may sound official but carry little actual weight when it comes to showing how skilled an organization is. There are a few standing exceptions, though. For example, at Total Care Restoration, we are fully certified by the IICRC, a long-standing organization that requires in-person training.

Another important thing to keep in mind when it comes to mold remediation services is that racing to the bottom in terms of price rarely works out well for you. The reason for this is that mold remediation can be a prolonged and sometimes expensive process. For example, if it’s just about removing some carpet, it may take a few days, while it can take far longer if mold needs to be cleared from attics or if demolition and rebuilding is involved. Make sure that you are working with professionals who will follow all the steps needed to remove both living and dead mold from your home, as both can cause issues.

When it comes to online reviews, it’s always a good idea to practice some caution. Because of the nature of mold remediation services, there may not be a lot of reviews for a given contractor, which means you need to weigh each one carefully. Look at trends across multiple reviews rather than single responses.

After things are done, it may be a good idea to hire an outside mold inspector to test how well the remediators did their job. Remember, mold remediation services are more about cleaning things up and replacing areas damaged by mold. It’s also about removing mold spores from the environment to make sure that they don’t start growing again the next time there is a little moisture present. Of course, it falls on you to make sure you are hiring a qualified mold inspector.

Why TCR Stands Above Other Mold Remediation Services

There are a variety of mold remediation services out there, so you want to make sure that you are not only picking the right type of services, but also working with a company with a proven track record of not only helping minimize mold, but also properly staging a home to ensure that mold doesn’t get to unsafe levels in the future. For help in the Miami area, be sure to contact professionals like Total Care Restoration. On top of doing the most to help our customers, we are also:

  • 5 Star Rated on Yelp
  • IICRC Certified
  • BBB A+ Rated

This means that we have the skills and expertise to help you with mold remediation, no matter the stage of growth, type, or cause of mold that you are dealing with. Our customers also trust us to diagnose different issues and create a remediation solution that matches their needs. Reach out to us today for a free inspection.

10 Questions To Ask Mold Remediation Professionals

By | Mold | No Comments

 

Ask Picture

Ask Picture

If you find yourself in a major water damage situation or are beginning to deal with health issues as a result of the presence of mold, you want to get a mold remediation professional at your home as soon as possible. Part of the issue with this, though, is that you want to make sure you have the best option, even if you are in a rush. The nature of mold means that if your professionals miss even one area, you could have mold spread around your house once again before you even know it. Because of this, you want to cut the wheat from the chaff right away, and this list of questions will help you do just that when looking for mold remediation professionals. If you have questions of your own about mold remediation, be sure to look at our all-purpose guide on the subject (Think You Need Home Mold Remediation? )

  1. What Do You Do About Repairs?

Depending on the extent of mold contamination, you may incur some serious damage to your home that is necessary for remediation. For example, mold behind the drywall will require said drywall to be removed to handle the mold. Ask ahead of time whether your remediation company will be able to handle repairs or if you need to find another contractor for this process.

  1. How Do You Isolate Rooms?

One of the most important steps when it comes to mold remediation is isolating the impacted area to avoid any spread during the remediation process. Make sure that your provider has a set standard on how to tackle this important step.

  1. How Long Have You Been In Business?

As is the case with any sort of contractors, unfortunately, there are a lot of fly-by-night operations that offer mold remediation services, especially after hurricanes or flooding where a lot of people need these services right away. You want to work with established companies, not only because they have more experience to do the job properly, but also because it will be easier to follow up with them in case you have issues in the future.

  1. Are You Licensed?

Every state has its own set of rules and regulations to perform mold remediation. You want to make sure that your company of choice has the proper experience and expertise to perform the necessary job, and licensing is a major part of this.

  1. Are You Insured?

You want to make sure that any company that you work with has both worker’s compensation insurance to protect the employees who are working with the mold in your home as well as liability insurance to protect your home and property if something happens during the remediation process.

  1. How Do You Handle Waste Material?

Technically, there aren’t any regulations to dispose of mold-contaminated material, but your mold remediation company should still have some in place. The reason for this is that due to the nature of how mold spores spread, it’s very easy for materials disposed of in the trash to end up spreading spores back in and around the home. Double-bagging contaminated materials and cleaning the bags can do the job in a pinch—just make sure a set plan is in place.

  1. What Is The Cost Structure Of Your Contract?

Depending on the nature of your remediation needs, the process can get expensive. Make sure you know the exact financial breakdown so you don’t end up paying more than you can afford.

  1. Have You Worked In This Type Of House Before?

Different homes have different structures, which means different areas where mold may appear. Ideally, you want a company that has experience with exactly the type of job your remediation will require.

  1. Do You Have A Guarantee Policy?

In general, you want to use a mold remediation company that stands behind their work with some sort of guarantee. Find out exactly what their policy is if you are not happy with how they handle the mold or if some other issue arises during the process. The last thing you want is to go through the entire search process again.

  1. Can You Provide A Post-Remediation Report?

The last thing you want to do is pay for a second remediation before you are ready. A post-remediation report can minimize the chance of this happening by providing information and guidance on what you need to do next to deal with mold before it gets out of control.

A lot of the time, you’re going to need to go through this process to narrow down the different mold remediation professionals to find the best match for your budget and situation. If you want a company that is versatile, make sure to contact professionals like Total Care Restoration. Not only do we believe in doing the most for our customers in the Miami area, but we’re also IICRC-certified. This means that we have the skills and experience to help in a variety of mold remediation scenarios.

Why A DIY Mold Remediation Doesn’t Work

By | Mold | No Comments
Caution Picture

Caution Picture

Mold remediation costs can vary wildly, mainly because, depending on the spread of the mold, you may be trying to either clear out a few affected areas or trying to remediate several large rooms in your home. Because of this, you may end up paying anywhere from $500 to $15,000 for remediation, and it’s difficult to narrow down that range until the extent of contamination is discovered.

Because of this problem, a lot of people may be tempted to try and get rid of mold themselves. The presence of DIY mold remediation tutorials online tends to make the idea even more appealing. However, for the most part, trying to get rid of mold yourself is a big mistake. Here are some key reasons why.

Misconceptions: There’s a lot of false knowledge that gets handed out in the DIY world, and with something that has health impacts like mold remediation, you want to make sure that this isn’t the case for you.

For example, a lot of people may suggest that bleach is the  proper way to kill mold, but this isn’t the case at all. To truly get rid of mold, you will need a proper biocide, and while you can purchase these yourself, you may not understand which product to buy based on what type of mold is in your home.

Cross-Contamination: If you see professional mold remediation in action, you’re going to see professionals wearing protective gear as well as taking the time to isolate the affected area before the remediation process starts. This is an area where a lot of DIY approaches don’t take the time to prepare. The result could mean putting yourself at risk as well as giving the mold a chance to spread to other areas of the home.

Hidden Mold: This is probably the biggest place where DIY Mold Remediation falls short. Generally, what people do to get rid of mold themselves is seek it out based on sight and smell, but this isn’t always going to help you find all the mold in your home. Mold in the foundation, attic, or behind the walls won’t be detected in such a way, meaning that it can spread further. In addition, in some cases, you may need to remove parts of the home to get to the mold, and you may not be comfortable doing that.

With this said, there are a few active roles that people can have when it comes to dealing with mold in their home. For example, while waiting for mold remediation professionals to do their work, you can use humidifiers, dehumidifiers, and other tools to maintain a proper humidity level in your home. This can help curb mold from appearing in other areas.

However, your best asset is being an alert homeowner and doing regular checks around your home for mold. This means you can pay a lot less for remediation when you need it. If you have more questions about mold remediation, be sure to look at our all-purpose guide on the subject  (Think You Need Mold Remediation In Your Home?).

There’s nothing wrong with the DIY impulse, but as a homeowner, you need to understand that there are situations where this just doesn’t apply, and mold remediation is one of them.  A major reason for this is that mold and water damage are not the type of situations that you want to let progress because you either missed a location or didn’t do something properly. This could lead to permanent damage to your furniture or even the foundation of your home, and you want to make sure that you solve the problem by bringing on professional help.

If you are looking for a place to start, contact professionals like Total Care Restoration. Not only do we believe in doing the most for our customers in the Miami area, but we’re also IICRC-certified. This means that we have the skills and experience to properly see your mold remediation to its conclusion.

Knowing Your Mold Types

By | Mold | No Comments
Mold Growing

Mold Growing

Technically, we don’t have complete knowledge about all the different types of mold and fungi out there in the world, though there are believed to be roughly 100,000 types of mold, many of which have a decent chance of appearing in your home. The good news is that there are a few specific species that are a lot more likely to appear in a home, whether they’re stemming from humid conditions, excess water damage, or flooding. Here are some of the key examples.

Aspergillus mold: This very common type of mold can be found just about anywhere and is known to cause allergic aspergillosis when its spores are inhaled. This generally causes minor allergic symptoms for healthy adults, but can lead to more pronounced issues in children, the elderly, or those recovering from surgery and serious illnesses.

Cladosporium mold: Another of the more common types of mold you can encounter in your home, Cladosporium is a black or green “pepper like” substance that is often seen on the back of toilets, as well as fiberglass air ducts and painted surfaces. This mold is non-toxic, but it can cause allergic reactions like a sore throat and rashes.

Fusarium: This mold is similar to Cladosporium and can survive in both warm and cold conditions. Generally, it is found in carpeting, wallpaper, and other types of fabric. The major difference is that in time, Fusarium can become toxic. This means that its impact is far more severe, including bone infections and even internal bleeding.

Aureobasidium mold: This allergenic mold is generally found behind wallpaper or on painted surfaces, which can make it hard to locate. When you do see this, it has a pink, brown, or black color that gets darker as it ages. It can lead to eye, skin, and nail infections.

We should take some time to discuss the concept of “toxic mold” as part of this conversation. To be clear, mold can be hazardous to your health, but there are a lot of misconceptions. For example, only 50 species of mold out there truly have components that can be considered to be “toxic.” Toxic, in this case, doesn’t necessarily mean that the mold is toxic, but that it creates toxic compounds known as mycotoxins.

The most prominent example of this is Stachybotrys chartarum, also known as black mold. Black mold is commonly seen in flood-damaged buildings and areas. While some non-toxic molds can trigger allergic reactions, common symptoms of toxic molds include wheezing, chronic sneezing, coughing, eye irritation, and even regular serious headaches. Left unchecked, it can also cause issues like fatigue, depression, and breathing problems. Black mold is generally found in air conditioning pipes and ducts.

It can be difficult to identify different types of mold, and if you want to get technical, mold doesn’t have to be “toxic mold” to cause discomfort for any occupants. This is why, no matter what type of mold you are dealing with, it’s best for you to start mold remediation as soon as possible to avoid any health issues in your household. In addition, the quicker you act, the less expensive your remediation project could be.

If you have more questions about mold remediation, be sure to look at our all-purpose guide on the subject (Think You Need Home Mold Remediation?).  The best way to start the remediation process is by using professionals like Total Care Restoration. Not only do we believe in doing the most for our customers in the Miami area, but we’re also IICRC-certified. We have the experience and expertise to figure out what type of mold you are dealing with and help bring it down from potentially dangerous levels.

Think You Need Home Mold Remediation? Read This…

By | Mold | No Comments
Man shocked to mold in kitchen cabinet.

Man shocked to mold in kitchen cabinet.

 

Chances are, you could have some form of mold in your home without even knowing it. Experts suggest that roughly half of the homes in the U.S. have some form of mold problem. Compounding the issue is that 28% of the population has some sort of genetic factor that could leave them at risk for mold-related health issues. In addition, people in certain regions of the country may be at greater risk of mold in their homes, generally in areas with high humidity. In these situations, you need to make sure that you are ready to utilize mold remediation.

Mold Remediation vs. Mold Removal


At first, you may be confused about exactly why the term is called mold remediation vs. mold removal. Part of the reason for this is that mold remediation is a more accurate label. Mold, to some degree, is going to occur wherever there is any sort of water or moisture, including heavy humidity. As a result, you’re never going to technically remove every single iota of mold in a home, and even if you could, it would come back pretty quickly. This is where the legal definition of mold remediation makes a lot of sense—being: “the removal, cleaning, sanitizing, demolition, or other treatment, including preventive activities, of mold or mold-contaminated matter that was not purposely grown at that location.”

Mold remediation does not completely remove mold forever, but it brings it back to healthy levels. So, with this in mind, what exactly leads to mold in the first place? In nature, mold has a very important use—to break down organic matter like dead trees and fallen leaves, but indoors, it can lead to issues.

Mold grows in areas where there is moisture, and it continues to grow and reproduce by expelling spores that are invisible to the naked eye. There are a variety of different types of mold out there, and all of these require moisture to function. This is part of the reason why so many companies that help with water damage also offer mold remediation services—because the two go hand-in-hand. Water damage scenarios, like flooding, hurricanes, or burst pipes, are some of the areas where mold remediation is often needed most because the sudden influx of moisture leads to the greatest risk of mold causing health issues.

When You Need Mold Remediation?


To be clear, we should address the commonly held concept of “toxic mold” in the home. A lot of restoration services may use this in their marketing, but it’s a bit of a misnomer. Very few molds actually produce true toxins. However, those same spores that we mentioned earlier can cause health issues if they are ingested, and this applies to a variety of different species of mold. However, only roughly 50 species out of the 100,000 types of mold out there truly qualify as toxic (Knowing Your Mold Types).

Woman Sneezing

Woman Sneezing

Just because exposure to mold isn’t poisonous doesn’t mean that it can’t be serious, though. One of the most common negative health reactions to mold is mold allergies. These, like other allergies, are caused due to an overreaction of the immune system when someone inhales mold spores. This can happen even with some of the milder mold species out there. Typical signs of mold allergies include:

  • Sneezing
  • Runny/stuffy nose
  • Cough/postnasal drip
  • Itching in the eyes, nose, and throat
  • Watery eyes
  • Dried skin

Like other allergies, there can be a lot of variance in the severity of different reactions, as well as the duration of said allergies. For example, your mold allergies may only happen at certain times of the year or occur year-round. For the most part, mold allergies will make you extremely uncomfortable but don’t necessarily threaten your health. However, the issue may be further compounded for people who are dealing with asthma. Asthmatic people with mold allergies can easily have an asthma attack if they end up being exposed to mold that triggers an allergy.

While mold allergies are the most common health issue that will require mold remediation, there are some other more dangerous health conditions that can occur. These can include respiratory infections and conditions like bronchitis, especially among people who have compromised immune systems.  In some cases, post-flooding mold can be especially dangerous due to the other contaminants that are often brought in by floodwater.

With this said, even if mold is rarely life-threatening, constant allergic reactions can cause a serious impact on your quality of life. Because of this issue, it’s essential that homeowners have the means to detect mold as soon as they suspect that it’s present. There are a few ways that you can do this:

Check by sight: While you don’t want to use just this option, certain types of mold are more visible than others, like the infamous Stachybotrys chartarum, known as black mold, which has a distinct greenish black appearance.

Check by smell: One of the most common ways people first detect mold in their home is by the very distinct damp, musty smell that stems from substances naturally produced by mold as they grow.

Health issues: Because mold allergy symptoms can resemble other allergies, it may be difficult to pin health issues on mold at first. However, if you recently had a flood or humid season and are experiencing issues out of the blue, mold may be the culprit.

Technically, there are mold kits out there, but most of the time, you don’t really need those. If you have even a suspicion that there is mold in your home, the best course of action is to prep for mold remediation rather than delay the process. The longer it takes for you to get started, the more time the mold has to grow and spread.

If you’re struggling to find a place to start looking, remember that mold is naturally drawn to places where moisture is present. This means that bathrooms and the kitchen are a good place to start, but you may want to also look in areas that may have come into contact with heavy rain or leaks. Windows, air conditioning vents, humidifiers, and even indoor plants can become a home to mold. This is part of why pipe bursts and floods can be so dangerous when it comes to mold, as water and moisture can get into areas that are difficult or impossible to see or check. This is why you want to start looking for mold remediation professionals who can get the job done shortly after returning to your home after these issues take place.

Mold Remediation – Step By Step


The beginning of the mold remediation process, no matter what the size of the project or the location in the home, is going to be attending to the underlying water issue. Because the water is the root of all the major problems, it’s essential to clear out any excess moisture to avoid mold growth. At this point, you’re typically going to use the following steps:

  • Isolating the area. If the mold is limited to one area, mold remediation professionals are going to close all windows and doors to try to stop the spread of mold, and they should also be protecting themselves by wearing protective gear. Depending on the size of the remediation, they may also have to cover the doors and openings with sheeting to ensure there is no additional spread.
  • Removing wet/damaged items. Many areas that have been contaminated by mold or soaked by water damage will need to be disposed of. However, your mold remediation company should be following best practices to dispose of these items. Generally, this includes using double-bagged thick plastic bags. After the exterior of the bags are cleaned, these can be treated as regular trash.  
  • Cleaning the affected area. Different professionals will use different tools, but the basic concept stays the same. All affected areas need to be brushed and scrubbed using a cleaning solution until all mold has been removed. At this point, the cleaning materials need to be disposed of and the surfaces need to be rinsed with clean water.
  • Drying the affected area. The cleaning process will generally lead to some leftover moisture, and many mold restoration professionals will speed up the drying process by using dehumidifiers and fans, as well as raising the air temperature in the home. After things are dried, the homeowner can begin replacing anything that was discarded during the remediation process.

Depending on the location of the mold and the nature of your home, the exact process of remediation will vary, but this list gives you a basic principles behind remediation—isolating the affected area, clearing out any water, disposing of contaminated material, and then an effective clean and dry.  It may be worth it for you to ask the mold remediation company exactly what type of biocide/fungicide/moldicide solutions they use to kill any remaining mold during this process.

The Ideal Path Towards Mold Remediation


With all these steps in mind, is there anything that you can do as a homeowner to stage your home before your mold remediation starts? In general, it’s not a good idea to start your own DIY mold remediation because there are a lot of myths and misconceptions about clearing out mold that may cause issues. However, there are a few things that you can do, like turning down the humidity in your home. In general, you want indoor humidity at approximately 55%.

In addition, while you may not be able to eliminate mold completely, there are certain best practices you can put in place to avoid issues in the future. For example, get in the habit of looking for cracks in the foundation or leaky gutters at the start of each major rainy season. A lot of the time, areas that are difficult to detect can suddenly become havens for mold due to rain seeping into the home.  In general, if you live in a humid area or one with a lot of moisture, the best thing you can do is get into the habit of checking common areas of the home for mold. By acting quickly, you may only need remediation for a small space as opposed to a large swath of your home. Another good practice is to make sure that your home is properly ventilated and insulated to avoid mold in unexpected areas like the attic. However, your own efforts can only go so far (Why DIY Mold Remediation Doesn’t Work).

When the time comes to find a mold remediation professional, the best course of action is to be an attentive consumer (10 Questions To Ask  Mold Remediation Professionals). Take some time to look at the online reviews and look over the company website to make sure that they are properly licensed. Ideally, you’re going to want a company that is not only experienced in mold remediation, but also going through the process in your region, and even in your type of home, if possible. You can always ask the potential company for clarification about these details outright.

Using TCR For Mold Remediation

At this point, we’ve established that it’s essential for you to act quickly when it comes to mold remediation and that half-measures won’t work when it comes to keeping your family safe. This is why it’s important to recruit professional help for mold remediation rather than trying a DIY solution. For the right company, contact professionals like Total Care Restoration. Not only do we believe in doing the most for our customers in the Miami area, but we’re also:

  • 5 Star Rated on Yelp
  • IICRC Certified
  • BBB A+ Rated

This means that we have the skills and expertise to help you with mold remediation, no matter where the mold is in your home or how much has grown. Our customers also trust us to diagnose different issues and create a removal solution that matches their needs. Reach out to us today for a free inspection.

Step-by-Step Water Damage Restoration Guide

By | Water | 9 Comments

The Basics of Water Damage Restoration

Dealing with water damage in a home or business can be confusing and frustrating; the water damage restoration process is just a pain! Water causes a lot of damage and makes a huge mess that can turn into a major headache.  It may seem like all hope is lost and the house or office will have to be gutted, but that’s often far from the truth. Water damage comes in various shapes and forms, from small leaks to all-out flooding. [Water Damage 101] They all have the potential to be remediated, but understanding the categories of water damage is important. It’s also important to know that water damage is broken down into classes depending on the methods it will take to fix the problem. 

Categories of Water Damage

Water Damage Categories

Water Damage Categories

Classes of Water Damage

Water Damage Classes

Water Damage Classes

Causes of Water Damage

Water damage can occur at any time and anywhere. It doesn’t discriminate and will more than likely happen when the homeowner least expects it. Some of the most common causes of water damage in Miami include the following:

  • Broken pipes
  • Backed up drains or toilets
  • Flooding

If any of these common water damage occurrences happen, you may need to call a professional to help remediate the situation. They have the expertise, experience, and equipment to ensure that the process is done right, with minimal health risks to the occupants of the home or office building. 

Water Damage Restoration Equipment

There are some common and expected types of equipment carried by water restoration technicians. They often include detection equipment, air moving equipment, deodorization equipment, and generators. They each have a specific purpose and are used to get your house or office dry and back to pre-damaged condition. [Before The Restoration

Detection Equipment: Moisture Sensors and Meters

These are used by technicians to discover how wet an area is so they know exactly what will need to be done to remediate the situation. These sensors and meters display the moisture content of floors, ceilings, walls, and other materials so a plan can be developed to get them dry or tear them out—whichever is needed most for the situation. 

Air Moving Equipment: Fans and Dehumidifiers

Getting an area dry requires removing the moisture not only from the affected materials but also from the air. Fans will blow air across the surface and cause the water to evaporate, then the dehumidifiers will draw it out of the air and drain it so that it won’t settle back into the material and cause further damage to the room. 

Deodorization Equipment

Air Scrubber: This machine works by removing chemicals, particles, and/or gasses from the air. It draws in air from the surrounding space and pushes it through various filters to remove the contaminants that contribute to odor.

Foggers: These machines turn a chemical into a fog to eliminate odors from a room. They can also be used to kill bacteria or as a way to reduce or discourage mold growth after water damage has occurred.

Thermal Foggers: These machines work by using a solvent-based deodorizer that is heated and turned into a dry smoke/fog, which is blown into a room. The vaporized cleaning solution clings to the odor molecules and absorbs them, ridding the area of the smell. When combined with cleaning, this is an effective deodorizing technique.

Generators: In the case of water damages that cause the loss of power, it’s important for the technicians to have a power supply. They generally have generators so that the equipment can be used properly to repair the damage. 

What to Expect Before and After a Water Damage Restoration Cleanup Process

No two water restoration jobs are the same. They are each unique and require different techniques and cleanup methods. It’s possible to clean water damage yourself, but there could be deeper issues that you are unaware that a professional would be better able to handle.

Finding a professional Miami restoration company that will work with you is important, and there’s a process to ensuring you find one that will restore your property to pre-damage condition.

How do you choose a reputable restoration company?

Having your home damaged by water is an incredibly stressful and emotional experience. Getting it back to a pre-disaster condition is important, and finding a restoration company that can do that is a top priority. But how do you choose a reputable restoration company?

  1. Look Locally

Finding a company who works locally in the Miami area will mean that they’ll be able to get to your house or business as soon as possible to assess the damage and get started on the restoration process.

  1. Check Credentials

Restoring a home or office after water damage is accomplished by following industry standards. A good company will send their technicians to training to get them certified. The business itself should also be certified. When looking for a restoration professional, look for one that has been IIRC certified and has the skill and expertise to deal with water damage in ways that are nationally recognized and approved. This will also ensure that the technicians are trained in the proper use of all water restoration equipment and can employ advanced water restoration methodologies. Since no two water restoration jobs are the same, you need someone who can think on their feet and complete the job satisfactorily and within industry standards.

  1. Works with Insurance

When a major disaster like a water damage strikes, the cost for restoration can be expensive. Very few people will be able to pay for the damage out of their pocket, so they’ll rely on their insurance to help cover the bill. A good restoration company will work with insurance to get your home or office back together. If they don’t, you need to keep looking. In addition, you may also consider contacting your insurance agent to see if they have a restoration company that they recommend. This will ensure that you are getting a reputable company that you know will work with your insurance to get the job completed.

  1. Check References

It’s easier than ever to check reviews and references online. Finding these for a restoration company shouldn’t be difficult. While no company will ever have all positive reviews, make sure the company you’re looking to hire has more positive than negative reviews. 

Water Damage Restoration Timeline

  1. Inspection

The first step in the restoration process is knowing exactly what has been damaged and what needs to be fixed. This is when they will use their moisture sensors and meters to see how far the damage goes and how wet the area is, including the ceiling, walls, and carpet/carpet pad or other flooring. It will also be determined whether or not the electricity is in jeopardy or has been shorted out by the water. Turning power sources off at the electrical box may or may not occur depending on the extent of the damage. During this time, it’s important to talk with the technician and find out exactly what needs to be done to correct the water damage issues. There may be tear-out that will occur, and it’s important to know beforehand who will be doing repairs at the completion of the job.

  1. Remove Standing Water

If there is standing water in the area, this will be removed. No other work will be able to continue if the water remains in the area. This will also allow the technicians to find the source of the issue (if it’s coming from a broken pipe or backed up drain) so that the issue can be taken care of. [During The Restoration]

  1. Prevent Further Damage

Taking care of water damage needs to be done in a timely fashion. If it sits for too long, there’s a chance that more damage will occur or a Category 1 water damage will turn into a Category 2, which can have impacts on your health. This step may include calling a plumber (if one hasn’t already been called) to discover and stop any leaks. It may also require the removal of affected flooring, walls, and ceiling. Water damage can weaken the integrity of certain structural materials, making them a hazard if they collapse. In some cases, this material may not be able to dry properly, so to prevent water remaining trapped in the area, it will be removed.

  1. Drying

After the standing water has been removed and materials that could pose a drying or structural hazard have been removed, the drying process will begin. This often involves placing fans and a dehumidifier in the area. In some cases, it might also involve putting up plastic sheeting and using heaters so that the water can evaporate. If walls have been impacted, it may be necessary to remove baseboards or drill holes so that they dry properly. A section of the carpet may also have to be lifted so that the carpet and the pad will dry. If these processes aren’t conducted, the chance of odor and mold growth increases. There’s also a chance of structural damage happening from excessive moisture.

  1. Monitoring

Throughout the entire process, the technicians will monitor how well the drying is going. They’ll use their meters to test the moisture content in the affected areas and ensure that their equipment is working properly. Depending on the severity of the damage, this process may take from one day to several.

  1. Completion

Once the meters read moisture levels equal to the previous dry state of the room, the technician will remove the fans and dehumidifiers from the area. At this point, the water remediation process is considered to complete.

  1. Repair Additional Damage

As mentioned, sometimes ceilings, walls, or flooring have to be torn out, baseboards might be removed, or holes might be drilled into walls to ensure proper drying. The water restoration company may do these repairs themselves or they may subcontract the work to professionals they use for this type of job. They may also recommend contractors for the homeowner to contact. Owners may also be able to use their own contractors if they so choose. Having this conversation during the inspection phase of the process will let the homeowner or business owner know what to expect when this phase is finally reached. 

Health and Safety During the Water Damage Restoration Process

Ways to keep yourself safe in the event of water damage.

Health & Safety During The Water Damage Process

Health & Safety During The Water Damage Process

Health & Safety During The Water Damage Process

Health & Safety During The Water Damage Process

What to Expect After the Cleanup Process

Depending on the severity of the water damage, what happens after the cleanup process will vary.[After The Restoration]  If the water damage was caused by clean water, the only thing that might be required is drying the area and then putting things back in their place. If the water damage was large or involved grey or black water, the following might occur. 

Sanitation and Cleaning

Once the water has been removed and everything is dry, the restoration company may go through and do a final cleaning that involves sanitizing to remove the possibility of bacterial growth and deodorizing to rid the home or office of any unwanted odors due to the water damage. 

Mold Growth

After any type of water damage, the possibility of mold growth increases. Ensuring that the area was properly dried and then sanitized should reduce this likelihood. However, it’s not always possible to prevent all growth, but a good restoration company will have the skills and expertise to remove any mold that grows as a result of water damage. 

Reconstruction

If anything was torn out such as flooring, walls, or the ceiling, these will need to be repaired and/or replaced. The restoration company may have the expertise to take care of small jobs, but they may also recommend or have subcontractors that will complete reconstruction. 

Insurance Claims

Most insurance companies and restoration companies work well together when it comes to addressing water damage in Miami. They are often in contact to get information about how the job is progressing and if there are any issues that need to be addressed. Some restoration companies will even send the invoice and work orders directly to the insurance company so that the owner doesn’t have to worry about that. In some cases, the insurance will also pay the restoration company directly. Talking to your agent will let you know how this process will be handled. 

Should You Hire an Adjuster

Deciding whether or not to hire an adjuster for your claim will depend on a variety of things, including if you’re actually going to file a claim and  if the damage is covered by your insurance policy. There are benefits from hiring an adjuster, but there could also be downsides as well, and you’ll need to determine if one outweighs the other. At Total Care Restoration, we have the expertise and certification to help you with your Miami water damage needs. We are available 24/7 and 365 days a year, so give us a call so we can help you get your life and your home or business back to pre-disaster condition.

Tips, Advice, and Checklist

Emergency Drying Tips

Emergency Drying Tips

Emergency Water Damage Tips

Emergency Water Damage Tips

Water Damage Insurance Tips

Water Damage Insurance Tips

Water Cleanup Checklist

Water Cleanup Checklist

What Happens After The Water Damage Restoration Process

By | Water | No Comments
After The Water Damage Process

After The Water Damage Process

The length of time it takes to restore water damage in Miami will depend on the severity of the destruction and how many rooms were impacted. Some losses are small, only impacting part of a room and involving little to no water. Other losses could affect an entire home and involve large amounts of standing water.

If the damage was caused by clean water, efforts that might be required include drying the area and then putting items back in their place. If the destruction was large or caused by grey or black water, the process might be more involved and include the following.

What to Expect After the Cleanup Process

Sanitation and Cleaning

After the water has been sucked out and the area is dry, the restoration company may do a final cleaning that involves sanitizing so that bacteria can’t grow and ridding the home or office of any unwanted smells due to water damage in Miami with a deodorizer. This may involve cleaning the affected walls or flooring, including a carpet cleaning for any impacted carpet and carpet pad.

Getting rid of bacterial growth and other substances that may have been present in the water is important for the health of the occupants. If these pathogens aren’t removed, it could lead to illness and continued bacterial growth, which could contribute to a foul odor in the area. 

Mold Growth

Mold thrives in moist environments, and those are created after water damage. To prevent this from occurring, it’s important that an area is dried properly and then sanitized. Unfortunately, preventing all mold growth may not be possible, but a good restoration company will be able to remove any mold that grows and inform the home or business owner about the likelihood of this occurring.

There are a variety of different molds that exist in the world. The most feared is black mold. There have been studies and tests that have shown this mold can cause health problems. In reality, any type of mold can have detrimental impacts. If an individual is allergic to mold, it will impact their health. Various types of mold can grow in places that are damp—conditions that are certainly created after water damage in Miami. Taking care of all mold growth is the best way to protect people’s health.

Reconstruction

During some water losses, the flooring, walls, or ceiling may have been torn out due to damage or the inability for it to dry properly.  Eventually, these will need to be repaired and/or replaced. It’s possible that the restoration company will take care of small jobs, but they may also leave any and all reconstruction to a subcontractor they work with or recommend one for you to contact.

This is often discussed during the first stage of the mitigation process so that you know exactly what’s going on. If an insurance claim has been filed, it will also be discussed with the insurance agent, and they may have a say in whether or not things will be torn out or dried to the best of their ability. Open communication and asking questions are the best ways to get answers for this process.

Insurance Claims

It is common to find insurance companies and restoration companies working together during this process. They remain in contact to obtain information about the job and if any issues have arisen that need to be fixed. In some cases, the restoration company will send the invoice and/or work orders directly to the insurance company. It’s also possible that the insurance will pay the restoration company directly. Talking to the restoration technician or your agent is the best way to find out how this process will be handled for water damage in Miami.

When all work has been completed, there is generally a walk-through that occurs with the home or business owner, the insurance adjustor or agent, and the technicians. This will ensure that all work has been completed satisfactorily and meets the expected standards. [A Step-by-Step Water Damage Restoration Guide]  If it does not, a plan will be put in place to correct any issues. If it does, the job will be finished.

Total Restoration Care has certified experts who want to help you with your water damage in Miami. We are on call 24/7, 365 days a year.

What Happens During The Water Damage Process

By | Water | No Comments
During The Water Damage Restoration Process

During The Water Damage Restoration Process

If a professional restoration company is called upon to help with water damage in Miami, there is a process and industry standards that will be followed to ensure the job is done right and the house or office is put back to pre-disaster conditions. [Step-by-Step Water Damage Restoration Guide]

There are common types of equipment carried by water restoration technicians. They often include detection equipment, air moving equipment, deodorization equipment, and generators.

Detection Equipment: Moisture Sensors and Meters

Technicians use sensors and meters to determine how wet an area is. They measure and display the moisture content of floors, ceilings, walls, and other materials so the technician can decide the best way to dry them out or if they need to be torn out.

Air Moving Equipment: Fans and Dehumidifiers

Drying an area requires removing the moisture from the affected materials and also from the air. Air from a fan blowing across the surface causes water to evaporate, then a dehumidifier draws that moisture out of the air and drains it so that it can’t find its way back into the material, potentially causing further damage.

Deodorization Equipment

Air Scrubber: This machine removes chemicals, particles, and/or gasses from the air. Drawing in air from the surrounding space, it then forces it through numerous filters to remove contaminants that cause odor.

Foggers: These machines eliminate odors by transforming chemicals into a fog. In addition, they are also used to kill bacteria or to reduce or stop mold growth after water damage has occurred.

Thermal Foggers: These machines heat a solvent-based deodorizer that is turned into a dry smoke/fog, which is then blown into a room. Clinging to odor molecules, the vaporized cleaning solution absorbs them to rid the area of the smell. Combining a thermal fogger with cleaning is an effective way to deodorize an area.

Generators: When water damage in Miami causes the loss of power, the technicians still need a power supply. They carry generators so that the equipment has a power source to run the fans and dehumidifiers so everything can be dried to pre-damage condition.

Ways to Keep Yourself Safe in the Event of Water Damage

When Damage Is First Discovered:

  1. Determine what kind of water it is: clean, grey, or black. If grey or black, do not try to clean yourself. Call a professional immediately.
  1. Shut off the main water valve (if necessary)
  1. Shut off the electrical
  1. If water has come through the ceiling, stay out of the room until it has been determined by a professional that the structure is safe and won’t collapse
  1. Call a professional restoration company to assess the damage and put together a plan for mitigation

During the Damage Restoration Process:

  1. Keep lines of communication open with the restoration company and insurance
  1. Abide by rules about fans and drying equipment explained by restoration technicians
  1. Do not touch restoration drying equipment unless instructed to do so

Water Damage Restoration Cleanup Checklist

  • Find sources of water
  • Stop the water source or turn off the main water valve
  • If dealing with flooring that’s not carpeted, place down towels to avoid slipping
  • Contact insurance agent
  • Contact water restoration company
  • Remove objects impacted by the water damage, including rugs and other loose items on the floor
  • Elevate or remove furniture (if possible)
  • Remove excess water by blotting with towels or mopping
  • Open doors and windows and turn on fans to get air circulating and the drying process started (unless mold is present, then do not turn on fans)
  • Dry furniture by blotting or wiping it down
  • If walls are wet, point fans directly at them to dry the water
  • You may need to lift part of the carpet if the pad underneath is wet so that it will dry
  • Hardwood floors and other flooring types may need to be removed if water has soaked underneath to prevent buckling
  • Continue running fans until help arrives or the area is dry

At Total Care Restoration , we are available 24/7 and 365 days a year for water damage in Miami. We have experienced and skilled technicians to remediate any size job. Give us a call and we’ll get your life and your home or business back to pre-disaster condition.

What Happens Before The Water Damage Process

By | Water | No Comments
Before The Restoration Water Damage Restoration Proces

Before The Restoration Water Damage Restoration Proces

Understanding what happens before the water damage restoration process occurs can be perplexing.  You may find yourself going through an incredibly emotional and difficult experience. Getting your home or office back to the way it was will be foremost on your mind, as will finding a restoration company that can help you through the process. [Step by Step Water Damage Restoration Guide]

How do you choose a reputable water damage restoration company?

  1. Look Locally

A company who works locally will be able to get to your house or business quickly to assess the damage and start the restoration process. This can be important in preventing further damage from occurring.

  1. Check Credentials

There are industry standards that exist that determine how a home or office should be restored after water damage. A company that has been IIRC certified will be skilled in those standards and have nationally recognized and approved expertise to deal with water damage in Miami.

  1. Works with Insurance

The cost for water damage restoration can be expensive. If a company won’t work with your insurance company or forces you to be the go-between for communication, you might consider looking for another restoration company.

  1. Check References

Finding company reviews and references online is easy. No company will ever have all positive reviews (and you should be a little suspicious if they do), but they should have more positive than negative reviews.

Water Damage Timeline

  1. Inspection

The first step in the restoration process is inspecting the damage and determining what needs to be fixed. Restoration technicians use moisture sensors and meters to see how wet an area is and how far the damage goes. They will test the ceiling, walls, and carpet/carpet pad or other flooring.

During the inspection, talking with the technician will allow you to find out exactly what needs to be done and what will be done to correct the destruction. If tear-out needs to occur, finding out who will be doing repairs at the end of the job is important.

  1. Remove Standing Water

Standing water will be removed so that any other needed work will be able to continue.

  1. Prevent Further Damage

Taking care of water damage in Miami needs to be accomplished in a timely manner. This step may include calling a plumber (if one is needed) to take care of any leaks or pipe breaks. Affected flooring, walls, and ceiling may also need to be removed. The integrity of certain structural materials could be weakened by water damage. If this material can’t be dried properly, it will be removed.

  1. Drying

This step often involves placing fans and a dehumidifier into the affected area. In some cases, plastic sheeting and heaters might be placed to aid in the evaporation and subsequent drying.

It may be necessary to remove baseboards or drill holes in walls so that they dry properly. Part of the carpet may also have to be raised to allow the carpet and/or the pad to dry. The chance of odor and mold growth increases if these processes aren’t followed. Structural damage could also occur from excessive moisture.

  1. Monitoring

From the moment the call is made until the area is dry, the technicians will monitor the progress. Using their meters, they’ll test the moisture levels and monitor their equipment to ensure it is working properly. This process may take from one day to several depending on the severity of the damage.

  1. Completion

Eventually, the meters will show that the moisture levels are equal to the previous dry state of the room, and the fans and dehumidifiers will be removed from the area. This is the point in time when the water remediation process is considered complete.

  1. Repair Additional Damage

Depending on the work that needs to be completed, the water restoration company may do it themselves or contact a subcontractor. If they don’t have a subcontractor that works for them, they may recommend contractors for the homeowner to contact. If you have your own contractor, you will be able to contact them if you so choose.

At Total Restoration Care, our technicians have the certification and expertise to help you with water damage in Miami. Contact us today for your restoration needs.

Water Damage 101

By | Water | No Comments
Water Damage 101

Water Damage 101

Water damage can be caused by small leaks or a flood. Dealing with water damage in a Miami home or business can be stressful, frustrating, and emotional. A lot of destruction is caused by water, and it can be incredibly messy. There are different categories of water damage and understanding these, as well as water damage classes, will give you an idea of how the problem can be mitigated. [A Step by Step Water Damage Restoration Guide]

Categories of Water Damage

Category 1

Sometimes referred to as clean water damage, this type of water damage occurs when a water line, faucet, toilet tank, drinking fountain or other source springs a leak or breaks. This water is considered clean because it is not contaminated with debris or other pathogens. However, if this issue is not cleaned up quickly and efficiently, it can absolutely turn into a bigger problem.

Category 2

Category 2 has substances in it that may cause discomfort or illness if ingested. It may be called grey water damage. This water can come from sources such as washing machines, dishwashers, toilets with urine and no feces, or other places where the water has been used.

Category 3

This water contains contaminants that are unsanitary and dangerous. If ingested, this water could cause serious illness or even death in extreme cases. It may be referred to as unsanitary or black water damage. This water often comes from a sewer backup, streams or rivers that have overflowed, toilets that contained feces, or water that has become stagnant and allowed bacteria to grow.

Classes of Water Damage in Miami

Class 1

Water damage in this class has the least amount of water, absorption, and evaporation. The damage only impacts part of a room or area. If a larger space is affected, the materials in that space have absorbed little to no moisture. There is little or no wet carpet and/or carpet pad present.

Class 2

This classification involves a large amount of water, absorption, and evaporation. At least the entire room is affected, and the carpet and pad are wet. In addition, water will have gone up the walls to less than 24 inches. Moisture will also be present in substructure soil and structural materials.

Class 3

This classification incorporates the greatest amount of water, absorption, and evaporation. The entire room or area will have ceilings, walls, insulation, carpet, carpet pads, and subflooring that is saturated with water that possibly could have come from overhead.

Class 4

This classification is reserved for drying situations that require special methods or longer drying times. It may include materials with low permeance or porosity such as hardwood, stone, plaster, brick, or concrete. In general, deep pockets of saturation exist that require low specific humidity.

Knowing the categories and classes of water damage in Miami will give you a better idea of the different places this fluid can come from and how it impacts your home or office. It also allows you to realize that the extent of damage can be minimal to severe and cleaning up may be as simple as using a few towels to blot up the mess or calling in professionals to help.

Causes of Water Damage in Miami

There’s really no way to prepare for water damage, but there are ways to deal with it after it has occurred. Bad weather conditions can contribute to water damage, including heavy rains that get in through leaky roofs or poorly sealed foundations, as can flooding. Some other common causes of water problems include backed up sinks or toilets and broken pipes.

Depending on the size of the damage, you may need to call in an expert to fix the problem. Finding a restoration company that has the expertise, experience, and equipment to ensure that the process is done right and reduces the health risks to the occupants of the home or office building is important.

Water damage in Miami can also come from another source: hurricanes. Being prepared for this natural disaster is important, and taking some steps may help reduce the amount of destruction that occurs.

When it comes to damage caused by water, it’s never an easy or fun thing to deal with. Depending on the type of water that gets into the home and how much floods the area, the structure and occupant health may be compromised. Getting this issue remediated quickly and efficiently is important.

Technicians at Total Care Restoration have the expertise to help you with your water damage needs. We are available 24/7 and can be at your home or business night or day to remediate the water damage and get your life back in order.

Call Now ButtonCall Now