Itchy couch (C) Daniel FriedmanLimitations on Cleaning Mold
on Building Framing Lumber, Plywood Sheathing, or Furnishings
     


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Limits of mold removal: this mold remediation article discusses the limitations of cleaning moldy building surfaces such as framing lumber or plywood sheathing.

What about furniture that was in the building? If a heavy upholstered couch (photo above) was exposed to flooding it will be nearly impossible to fully clean; surface cleaning, even steam cleaning, combined with HEPA vacuuming, simply cannot pull mold growth from the couch interior.

A couch like the one shown in our photograph above and that is found to be contaminated probably needs to be stripped and reupholstered. In contrast, surface dust settling on an otherwise clean upholstered couch can be usually cleaned effectively using HEPA vacuuming techniques.

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Mold Ceanup Job Limitations for Moldy Wood Surfaces

Very mold contaminated floor framing and subfloor (C) D FriedmanThis article offers advice on cleaning mold found on surfaces of un-finished wooden building materials such as framing lumber (rafters, floor joists, wall studs), and building roof, wall, and floor sheathing such as plywood, tongue-and groove pine boards, and other structural wood surfaces in buildings.

We discuss the pros and cons of using fungicidal sealants and bleach on wood surfaces and give sources and list types of those products. We also discuss common errors made when cleaning wood surfaces, such as relying on bleach or performing expensive and unnecessary cleaning on cosmetic black mold on wood surfaces.

The suggestions for mold cleanup of wood surfaces which are outlined below do not pertain to

  • Cleaning or treating moldy lumber which is used outdoors and where airborne mold exposure to humans is most often less of a concern
  • Cleaning wood surfaces which were previously finished with paint, stain, varnish, or similar coatings; usually these surfaces are simply washed or scrubbed clean and in some cases are re-coated with compatible paint, stain, varnish with or without adding a mildewcide or other chemical to retard future mold growth

These suggestions have not completed an extensive professional peer review - which is why they are being exposed here to invite commentary. Comments received so far indicate this is reasonable commonsense advice.

Some mold found on wood components in building interiors is likely to be of only cosmetic concern, such as Ceratocystis/Ophistoma sp. or "blue stain" molds.

Others may be more of a concern, particularly to occupants who are at particular risk of certain illnesses or immune system problems.

Allergenic/pathogenic molds often identified on construction materials exposed indoors include Penicillium sp., Aspergillus sp., Stachybotrys chartarum (previously Stachybotrys atra), and numerous other species.

Depending in part on the particular species, the presence of mold growing on building materials risks contamination in the living environment and possible mold-related illnesses.

This is true regardless of whether mold spores are merely allergenic (allergenic mold) or actually toxic (pathogenic mold) to humans, and regardless of whether or not mold spores present are viable (alive) or non-viable (dead). Where there is a concern regarding mold on building framing the following steps should be helpful at reducing the risk of future mold growth.

 

Continue reading at MOLD CLEANUP - MISTAKES to AVOID or select a topic from the More Reading links shown below.

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