Chicago pros shed light on bathroom mold removal

Chicago pros shed light on bathroom mold removal

For months, the leaky toilet and bathtub in the condominium unit above her own created the ideal conditions for mold to grow in Julie Meierdirk’s ceiling and wall — a hidden infestation she didn’t know about until it made its way into both of her bathrooms.

“The mold spread much more than we ever expected because it stayed in between two layers of drywall for so long,” says the Angie’s List member from Wheeling. She paid highly rated Mastercat in Bartlett, Ill., $4,100 for mold removal in both bathrooms.

Highly rated Chicago mold remediation experts say the moist environment in bathrooms creates ideal conditions for growth, and mold can be devastating and expensive once it finds a way in. Spencer Savoie, general manager of highly rated Bluestone Environmental in Bridgeview, Ill., suggests looking closely for discolored walls and ceilings or bubbling, peeling and cracking paint.

“Yellow or orange spots on the ceiling indicate water damage, and there’s probably mold damage on the other side of that,” he says. He adds that homeowners can remove surface mold with a 10 percent bleach solution, but cautions that won’t get rid of mold beneath the surface or behind drywall. Mastercat owner Donny Reich suggests hiring a professional to investigate. His company offers free inspections and estimates.

Scott Majeski, owner and operator of highly rated PuroClean Property Restoration Specialists in Chicago, says residential mold remediation jobs start at about $800, but can climb to thousands of dollars. He most frequently sees bathroom mold caused either by leaks from one floor above or lack of ventilation.

“The temperature and humidity go up when you take a shower or bath, and if that hot air doesn’t have anywhere to go, it just stays in the bathroom, and that’s what causes the mold,” he says. Reich and Savoie both say opening a window can reduce moisture buildup, but exhaust fans offer the best solution for preventing condensation buildup and recommends them for any home. Reich cautions that any contractor installing fans should take venting into account.

“Sometimes a handyman will build a bathroom ventilator fan that vents into the attic, and that creates condensation and more mold,” he says. “You want it to vent directly outside.” Reich, a licensed Chicago home repair contractor, charges a few hundred dollars to install a fan and vent, which should exit the home via a wall or roof.

Neither Chicago nor Illinois require licenses for mold remediation. Remediators suggest asking for reliable certification, such as from the Institute of Inspection Cleaning and Restoration Certification.Majeski also suggests asking about what safety measures your provider will use to prevent mold spores from escaping work areas. “The mold becomes airborne once it’s disturbed,” he says.

Reich recommends asking about insurance. “Every mold contractor should have separate coverage for mold pollution insurance, which covers anybody in the house who gets sick due to an improperly done remediation,” he says. “After the job is done, ask a third-party company, not the one who did the work, to test and confirm the mold is really gone. You want to confirm your money was well spent.”


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