The following will answer most of your questions about mold and describe Gatekeeper’s 4-step process to: identify the type of mold you see, reduce or eliminate the source of the moisture that produces mold growth, remove/remediate the mold, and repair the property (drywall, paint, insulation, etc). Please contact us and we will gladly answer any questions you may have concerning mold issues.

1. Why does mold exist and where is it?

Mold has been around since the beginning of time and is even referenced in the Bible. Its purpose is to decompose many things, like the leaves and wood on old trees. Think of it as the super hero of the planet whose job is to “take out the trash” for the entire world. Without mold, leaves and old, fallen trees, would reach up to the moon!

It is everywhere. It floats in the air we breathe, and is so small that the naked eye cannot see it until it grows larger. Now, I imagine that mold would not bother us if it had a choice, but it does not know the difference between the planet’s trash (old stuff), and things that we need, such as our houses and possessions.

Unfortunately, it tries to rot (decompose) our houses, books, furniture, and even the old food in our refrigerators. We like it on our cheese and in our penicillin shots, but that’s about it. And yes, rot is mold.

Even more unfortunate, mold does not know the difference between our bodies and the planet’s trash. So, when we breathe in or touch mold, it tries to decompose us, because that is its primary purpose.

2. How will my body react to mold?

Now, this is where we all get concerned. Having mold on our “stuff” is one thing, but having it affect our bodies is another. Decisions about mold are actually quite personal. The magic question is: How much mold am I willing to tolerate? Some people are willing to put up with the effects of mold, and others are not.

We can tell you how mold affects bodies in general, but not yours in particular. The truth is, nobody knows how a body will respond until it is exposed to mold. Even we, experienced mold inspectors, do not know how our bodies will react to every type of mold. See one of our inspectors in the mold mask photo? Sometimes we have to wear extra protective gear just to get a safe, close up look at mold.

3.What kind of mold am I breathing and touching? How much mold am I willing to tolerate?

There are 3 basic categories of mold: Allergenic, Pathogenic, and Toxic. All have the potential to cause a major reaction when your body comes in contact with them. Breathing difficulties and neurological disorders are just two.

Allergenic Mold is just like it sounds. It may trigger (see, I warned you that we can only alert you to probabilities) an allergic reaction that will make your nose run and your eyes water, like hay fever does. However, if your body is hypersensitive (e.g., if you have Asthma), then you can have a major reaction to this seemingly minor type of mold.

Pathogenic Mold can cause a major reaction in some normal bodies.

Toxic Mold can cause a major reaction in all normal bodies.

If you want to know what type of mold you are dealing with, Gatekeeper Inspections is qualified to take surface samples and air samples of the mold. The samples will be analyzed by a laboratory that will identify the type and amount of mold. You may elect to have a full Mold-Moisture Inspection.

What is Gatekeeper’s Mold-Moisture Inspection?

Gatekeeper Inspections will thoroughly inspect your home by first conducting a visual inspection of the property for mold and moisture that includes the use of an infrared camera, moisture meter and humidity sensor. At the conclusion of the inspection the Gatekeeper inspector will recommend a course of action to eradicate the mold and the moisture that is causing it to grow.

Recommendations may include:

  1. Analysis
    • Surface testing to determine the type of visible mold found
    • Air testing to determine if:
    • It contains more mold than the exterior air
    • The Indoor Air Quality (Particle Counter Can find other contaminates other than mold) and if other air borne contaminates exist in the indoor air
  2. Make corrections to the property to reduce/eliminate the source of the moisture that is promoting the mold growth*
  3. Remove/remediate the mold
  4. Repair the property (drywall, paint, insulation, etc.)

* The cause of the moisture must be corrected, and the interior of the house must be dry before mold remediation can begin, or the mold will return. Moisture sensing equipment must be utilized to document satisfactory moisture content on the surfaces where the mold is visible.

How does a Mold-Moisture Inspection determine if and what type of mold is growing in the house?

This is where it gets very tricky. Is it growing outside of your house and blowing inside through doors and windows? Or, is it growing inside the house? Does your house smell musty inside?

Do you see mold on walls or ceilings? Can you see all of it?

How do you know if it is growing behind wallpaper,

Inside of a wall cavity,

or even inside of the house’s heating/cooling system?

Gatekeeper inspectors know where mold likely exists because of their knowledge of building sciences.

Some people are content to simply live with what appears to them to be minor mold, while others hire Gatekeeper Inspections to help them determine if what appears to be minor mold is a major problem. We can help you by conducting a mold inspection of your house. Our inspectors examine the inside of the house, including the attic and the foundation, and the outside, including the site drainage.

Gatekeeper Inspections utilizes state-of-the-art equipment. For example, we use

Highly sensitive TiR-1 infrared cameras that can sense moisture in wall cavities where mold is likely to colonize,

Humidity Sensors that determine if the moisture level in the air is “mold friendly”,

Moisture Meters will locate the area of a wall that most likely has mold behind it,

and Borescopes will allow the mold inspector to look into the wall cavity through a ¼ inch hole.

6. What do you do if you find mold in the house?

Do you have a little mold on the shower wall, or is it visible on your furniture and your walls? You can clean a small amount of mold off the shower wall yourself.

Some experts say that you can clean it yourself if the mold is less than 10 square feet in volume, and others say less than 100 square feet. You are the judge of which line of reasoning you want to follow.

Whether you decide to clean it yourself, or hire Gatekeeper Inspections to remediate the mold, you need to follow these steps:

Step 1 Decide if you want to know more about the type and amount of mold in your home. Gatekeeper can analyze the mold via surface and air sampling for you.

Step 2 Determine the source of the moisture causing the mold to grow and correct it. It is critical that the source of the moisture be permanently corrected. If not, then mold will grow again as the moisture builds up. A Gatekeeper Mold-Moisture Inspection can help you identify the source, and we can also help you to correct the problem.

Step 3 Remove the mold. This can be done at the same time that you correct the source of moisture. Of course, you need to know how to remove the mold correctly and safely, and that alone prompts many people to hire Gatekeeper Inspections to remediate the mold. For larger and hidden areas, this may require removing walls, insulation, and other building materials in order to completely clean the mold.

Step 4 Repairs, if necessary. We are a full service company who can handle the job from start to finish, including restoring the mold-damaged area to its original condition, i.e., your basement recreation room.

For information, or to schedule an appointment with one of our mold inspectors, please contact Sharon Woodbridge, our Customer Service Manager: 703-716-1100 or 301-986-8850.