How Much Does Mold Remediation Cost?
The average cost of mold remediation is between $1,108 and $3,393, but there are many factors that can affect the total cost.
- Typical Range: $1,108 to $3,393
- National Average: $2,235
Mold is one of a homeowner’s worst nightmares: The hidden nature of the problem, the potential danger of inhaling mold spores, and the unknown factors and expense of removal combine to make mold a problem to be feared. There are many elements that affect the overall cost of removal, including the location and type of the mold, the size of the problem, and the kind of remediation that is necessary. Treating mold can be as simple as a bleach wash or as complex as removing panels of drywall and tile to deep clean beneath the surface, but regardless of how large a mold problem is, there’s a way to correct it. So how much does mold remediation cost? According to Angi and HomeAdvisor, mold remediation will typically cost homeowners between $1,108 and $3,393, or an average of $2,235.
All houses have some mold in them: It’s important to understand that complete removal of every spore is impossible, so the term “mold removal” refers to the excision of a particular growth, not the prospect of rendering the home completely mold-free. The presence of mold is not an indicator of the cleanliness of the house, but rather the presence of moisture that probably needs to be corrected. Assessing the source and size of the problem helps homeowners estimate how much they’ll need to spend to remove any dangerous mold from their home.
Factors in Calculating Mold Remediation Cost
The largest determiners of the cost to remove mold are the location, size, and type of mold, along with the cost of labor in the area. Mold that is hidden from view or difficult to access will be more challenging to abate, and therefore it will cost more to remove. Unsurprisingly, large growths will be more costly to remove, as will certain types of mold that are resistant to mold remover, are aggressive spreaders, or are particularly dangerous to breathe in.
Location in the Home
Depending on the mold’s location, homeowners may be able to remove it with vinegar, bleach, or a mold removal spray. Getting rid of mold on a wall can be fairly simple, but concealed or difficult-to-access areas could require demolition or a contractor crawling through a basement or crawl space. The location will determine the best course of removal and whether hiring one of the best mold removal companies is necessary.
- Attic: Attic mold removal has a wide cost range for several reasons. On one hand, attics are usually open spaces with easy access, which can keep costs below the average range of $1,000 to $4,000. However, attics are also often dark, poorly ventilated, and exposed to dampness from vents and roof leaks. If the mold problem in the attic has been ongoing, removal costs could reach as much as $7,000, in addition to the potential need for roof repairs to correct the source of the problem.
- Basement: For mold growing in a damp basement, it’s a great idea to hire a professional to assess and potentially remove the problem. This is partly because, unless there’s an obvious leak, it can be difficult to find the source of the mold in a basement and also because it can be hidden behind paneling or finished walls; a professional will do a better job of sussing out the larger scope of the growth. In general, professional abatement of basement mold will cost between $500 and $3,000, in addition to the cost of work to waterproof or seal the foundation walls.
- Air ducts: Air ducts can harbor a surprising amount of mold growth and are of particular concern because they spray the spores all around the home, encouraging growth in other areas. It’s difficult to clean ducts well enough to remove all spores, so professional assistance is important. Air duct cleaning costs between $270 and $490 on average. Once the mold has been removed, it’s more economical to schedule regular air duct cleaning once or twice a year to prevent new spores from settling in.
- Drywall: Abatement of a simple surface-level mold growth on drywall averages around $1,000, but drywall is porous. If the mold growth has been there for a long time, or if the mold grew through the drywall from the back, it’s possible that remediation will require removal of all the drywall and everything behind it, which can run the cost up to $20,000 or more.
- Crawl space: Crawl spaces are generally limited in size, which means the overall area to be cleaned is smaller. However, the confined nature of the space can also mean that the remediation takes longer and costs more in labor. The average price to remove mold from a crawl space is between $500 and $2,000.
- HVAC and AC: The expenses incurred to remove mold from an HVAC system will depend largely upon the kind of system in the home. Radiant heating systems, which are mostly enclosed, will range between $1,500 and $5,000. Furnaces and air handlers, with more ductwork, connections, and vents, will average between $3,000 and $5,000, and air conditioning systems that are constantly extracting moisture from the air and draining it away from the house will average between $3,000 and $10,000, simply because there’s so much moisture in the system itself and because of the number of vents, tubes, and ducts involved in the remediation.
- Bathroom: While bathrooms provide the perfect environment for mold growth, the mold that is most likely to grow from day-to-day steam and condensation is usually surface mold that is clearly visible, which costs less to remove at an average of $500 to $1,000. Mold that develops behind a vanity or sink or behind or underneath a bathtub, usually as a result of an ongoing leak, can cost as much as $8,000 due to the demolition and reconstruction that will be necessary to reach and remove the mold and correct the root cause of the moisture.
- Whole house: If there is a significant whole-house mold problem, usually as a result of a flood or catastrophic water damage, the removal cost is significant. This kind of abatement involves removing and replacing carpet, drywall, fabrics, and furniture, and also paying to correct any sources of the water damage that are still in existence. The average cost is between $10,000 and $30,000 in addition to replacing the removed materials.
Size of the Problem
The size of the mold problem plays a factor in the cost to remove it. According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), mold remediation projects of less than 10 square feet can typically be addressed by the homeowner, as long as the mold was not caused by sewage and the homeowner does not have respiratory sensitivities. The only costs for DIY remediation are mold cleaner and protective gear.
If the mold has spread well beyond that size, the job can cost between $10 and $25 per square foot, and if the mold is deep as well as spread across a wide surface, the price to remove it can be even higher. This is part of the reason it is so critical to get rid of mold as soon as it’s clear that there’s a problem: Even if the initial problem seems too expensive to fix, the problem will only get larger and more expensive as time goes by.
Type of Mold
While they may look alarming because they spread swiftly on the surface, surface molds (which remain on top of building materials) are easy to remove, usually with cleaners. These molds are less expensive to remove and may be a DIY job for a homeowner who is familiar with how to kill mold.
Molds that eat down through the surface and into the core of drywall, wood, and concrete, along with molds that flourish underneath carpeting and behind walls, are more costly to abate. This is because of the difficulty in detecting and locating the problem and the need to remove or replace walls, ceilings, floors, and furnishings. In addition, if the mold is identified as black mold or another especially toxic variety, it can be more expensive to remove because of the need for specialists, protective equipment for the technicians, and whole-house ventilation afterward.
Mold remediation is not a job for a regular handyman, however skilled they may be. So what is mold remediation, and why does it cost more? Mold removal companies that provide this service use skilled technicians and high-end equipment to ensure precise and appropriate removal techniques are used and to check the status of the mold growth after removal is complete. The costs for labor will include the time spent on the job, but will also incorporate the cost of high-efficiency vacuum equipment and protective gear—ranging from gloves to full-body suits and face masks with respirators—as necessary for the job. Approximately 60 percent of the mold removal cost will be labor, with the other 40 percent accounting for materials.
This doesn’t mean homeowners should automatically decide to remove a large mold growth themselves; there is a reason the professional companies use air scrubbers and protective equipment. Mold isn’t a cosmetic problem, and particularly with aggressive or toxic molds, trying to take on a large problem without professional expertise and equipment will most likely spread the mold around the home rather than remove it. That 60 percent of the cost protects the home and its residents by bringing in the expertise of technicians who can safely restore the home to a place where residents can safely breathe. Searching for “mold removal near me” will give homeowners an idea of costs more specific to their region.
Additional Costs and Considerations
Remediating a significant mold problem doesn’t just involve removing the mold; for a large-scale growth, the remediation process may involve removing significant chunks of drywall, tiling, and carpeting. In the process of calculating the cost of mold remediation, these additional costs can mount up sharply. Some remediation services also provide restoration services, and while it’s great to consolidate the different parts of the job into one hire, it’s a good idea to ask for several estimates for the restoration work. If restoration is necessary, it’s likely the restoration will cost more than the remediation itself, so the savvy homeowner won’t be locked into having the remediation service provide restoration until the extent of the necessary work is evident.
Sometimes the damage from mold remediation is as simple as scraped or dissolved paint in the area where the mold was cleaned off, and the cost to restore the surface is as inexpensive as a can of paint. On the other end of the spectrum, mold removal behind a shower wall can mean that new drywall, tile, and grout must be installed—a much larger and more labor-intensive project. That degree of moisture can also mean there’s rot in the wood studs supporting the wall, which should be inspected and repaired as well.
In addition to the surface repair, a mold inspector or remediator should be able to help homeowners identify the source of the mold growth, and it’s possible that the mold is the result of damaged or leaking pipes. If that’s the case, homeowners will need to include the cost to hire a plumber to repair the leaks prior to closing up the wall. Significant damage resulting from either the water that encouraged the mold growth or from the process of remediation can run between $2,000 and $20,000.
Materials needed to repair damage generally make up about 40 percent of the total cost of mold remediation. Drywall (along with the cost of tape, mud, and finishing supplies; roofing materials; and foundation sealing material) may be necessary to repair the damage caused by the mold and to prevent future moisture issues. In addition, it may be necessary to replace carpeting, flooring, and soft furnishings if the type of mold in the home spreads to textiles.
Mold Remediation Cost by Type of Mold
There are more than 100 types of mold that commonly grow in homes. Some are mild and easy to clean, while others are aggressive, tenacious, and can be deadly. Aggressive types of mold can be more expensive to remove, as they cover a wider area and may not respond as readily to traditional mold killers. So what kills mold in the home? Toxic molds require heavy chemicals, expert application, and protective gear for the workers performing the removal, so those removal costs will be higher. The costs of labor and testing in the homeowner’s area will also affect the overall expense based on the type of mold: Black mold treatment may require a technician who specializes in black mold removal to ensure that the mold is removed completely and isn’t spread throughout the rest of the home.
Alternaria is one of the most common types of outdoor mold. When it becomes airborne or travels inside on the sole of a shoe, it spreads explosively, and in homes with high humidity, it can grow underneath carpets and wallpaper. The price range of removal can be anywhere from $1,500 to $5,000 depending on how widespread it is.
One of the most common indoor molds, aspergillus is the mold upon which penicillin is based, and it’s made up of more than 250 identified species. It is easily spotted, as it starts out as a furry white fungus and then changes color as it grows. While it does grow well in low humidity and can spread to fabrics and textiles, it is usually easier to clean because its visible presence is immediately noticeable. Removal costs range from $1,500 to $5,000.
Black mold is considered the most toxic household mold. Unfortunately, it is also one of the most difficult molds to remove. The mold, which usually looks black or dark green and slightly slimy, stains surfaces as it grows, and it is resistant to removal. In addition, it grows in fiberboard, paper, and gypsum board, where it may be difficult to detect. The importance of complete removal and the toxicity of the spores combine to make removal more expensive: $2,000 to $6,000 is the average cost.
Victor Coppola, senior building biologist and founder of GreenWorks Environmental, LLC, advises, “If it is properly remediated and the source(s) of moisture intrusion are corrected, then you can be pretty confident that black mold won’t regrow. But as we are dealing with opportunistic organisms, you always need to be monitoring your environment to ensure conditions don’t return that would invite regrowth of the organism.”
The musty smell, blue-green color, and brown football-shaped spores are the hallmarks of chaetomium, which is a mold often left behind after severe water damage or long-term dampness in a home. It tends to grow in hard-to-see spaces, under carpets, and in air ducts and walls. Some species are carcinogenic. It’s fairly easy to clean when the growth is small (costing in the region of $500), but larger problems can run up to $3,500.
Common and widespread, cladosporium can grow on almost all household surfaces. It doesn’t usually cause serious reactions in most people, although some may experience some minor allergy symptoms. Removal costs between $1,500 and $5,000 on average.
Fusarium is another fast-spreading mold that exists on nearly every surface. It can cause infections of the nails or corneas even in healthy individuals, and it can cause systemic septic infections if spores enter the bloodstream. Fusarium is often found near water leaks, and its removal is one of the more expensive projects; expect to pay between $2,000 and $7,000.
Green mold is actually several different molds classed together by color. While green mold can often be seen on foods such as bread or fruit, it can also include cladosporium and aspergillus. Chronic exposure can trigger respiratory problems or asthma attacks. Remediation costs range between $1,500 and $5,000 on average.
A particularly tenacious type of mold, Serpula lacrymans draws water from sources other than where it lives, so it grows best on dried wood. Also referred to as “dry rot,” it is easily identified by its yellow color. Unfortunately, it is extremely difficult to remove and can cause terrible and widespread damage as it continues to grow. It is not harmful to humans, but it can be extremely harmful to the wood and construction materials in homes. Remediation costs should range between $2,000 and $6,000 but can push much higher, depending on the degree of structural damage.
Most commonly a symptom of severe water damage, Ulocladium needs a lot of moisture to grow. Ulocladium spreads very quickly and can usually be found among several other mold varieties. It can be identified by its brown or gray color and suede-like texture. Homeowners will likely pay between $1,000 and $4,000 for Ulocladium remediation.
Also a group of different molds gathered by coloration, white molds are dangerous because of their ability to blend in with their host materials, thus spreading farther before being discovered. Because they can be harder to locate early on, the problem is usually wider-spread than with most molds by the time they are discovered, and costs tend to skew toward the higher end of the $1,500 to $5,000 average range.
Do I Need Mold Remediation?
Mold is sneaky. While ideally, it would present itself as an obvious fuzzy growth every time, that’s not how it works; mold prefers dark, damp places to grow that make it difficult to spot early on. When is mold remediation required? There are some warning signs to consider. Once it’s clear that there’s a problem, it’s time to decide between hiring professional help or tackling the job independently. Unlike many decisions about whether to hire help or not, mold remediation has some clear-cut guidelines on when to do so.
Signs of Mold
Indicators that mold is growing in a home can be subtle or obvious. Being aware of the subtle signs will make it harder to accidentally dismiss them and allow a homeowner to get to the root of the problem faster.
- Musty smell: There are many words that can describe the scent of hidden mold including dank, dusty, musty, earthy, and meaty. The scent can be mild or overwhelming. If it’s overwhelming, homeowners should call for help as soon as possible. But even a mild mold smell that lingers in a room that’s been undisturbed all day or that appears when it’s raining outside can be problematic. That scent might be the best indication that there is a problem, and it makes some investigation worthwhile. Homeowners can check under the sinks, near drain pipes, and in other damp areas of the home. Just because the problem isn’t visible doesn’t mean that it doesn’t exist.
- White, black, or green growths on the walls: There are several types of mold that appear as spots, speckles, or furry islands on walls, ceilings, floors, or fabrics. Again, these shouldn’t be dismissed as one-time aberrations unless the source is very obvious. If a throw pillow was accidentally left out in the rain and then sat on a screen porch for a few days and developed mold in the damp folds, that’s probably not an indication of a widespread problem. But if a window that’s often left cracked develops a spray pattern of gray dots underneath it over time, that’s something to investigate.
- Health issues: Allergy symptoms during the spring and summertime are often expected. But if those symptoms arrive at an unexpected time, or they are suddenly experienced over a longer period of time, it may be that mold spores inside the home are causing them and not the pollen outside.
- Recent water damage: Moisture is a boon to mold, so any recent event that would increase the moisture or humidity in a home is a reason to inspect for mold growth. Even if no mold is visible, it’s possible that growth could be forming out of sight, especially if excess water was allowed to stand for a long period of time.
- Warping, peeling, or discolored walls: The longer mold growth goes unchecked, the more damage it can do to drywall. Since drywall is porous, mold can cause the surface to warp and peel over time, and homeowners may notice darkening or discoloration in some areas. For tile floors and walls, darkening grout is another good indication of mold.
Sensitivity to Mold
For homeowners who already know they are allergic or sensitive to mold, any hint of musty smell or physical symptoms should set off an alarm bell. The allergens produced by mold can cause symptoms ranging from mild to severe when they’re touched or inhaled, and symptoms may be delayed. Mold can also be a trigger for people with asthma. If it’s difficult to pinpoint another source of the smell or symptoms, it’s time for a mold assessment. Those who know they’re sensitive shouldn’t attempt even a small removal on their own in case it spreads the spores during the removal process. Some more toxic molds can negatively affect residents’ health even if they are not allergic. Coppola explains some of the symptoms of mold exposure: “More heightened allergenic-type responses like itchy eyes, runny nose, [and a] dry cough can be very common. But memory [problems], central nervous system disorders, rapid weight gain or weight loss, or hair loss are the issues, then the more toxic organisms are usually at work.”
While most homeowners run across a small patch of mold from time to time and handle it with mold killer or bleach, the EPA suggests that anything larger than about 10 square feet should be professionally evaluated.
Presence of Mold in the HVAC System
HVAC systems are particularly prone to mold growth. By their nature, they move air and moisture from place to place in the home through dark, twisty ductwork with lots of crevices. It’s almost impossible for a homeowner to clean the breadth of their home’s ductwork on their own. Keeping the system clean through regular maintenance and cleanings will help prevent mold growth, but once the mold is present there, it’s important to remove it as quickly and thoroughly as possible before the system spreads it to other areas of the home.
Need for Damage Repair
When mold has spread broadly enough to damage building materials or to require removal of carpeting or flooring, professional remediation is recommended. Pulling up a carpet with mold growth in it is likely to spread the spores everywhere and create starting points for new colonies. Mold that has grown deep into walls may require additional treatment of the studs and framing behind the walls; this helps ensure that the problem is remediated before the homeowner replaces materials and can help prevent immediate regrowth.
Mold Remediation: DIY vs. Hiring a Professional
For homes with less than 10 square feet of mold, the EPA advises that this is a small enough area for a homeowner to tackle. A notable caveat, however, is if the mold was caused by contaminated water or the homeowner has allergies. In that case, a homeowner will want to contact a professional mold remediation service to take care of the problem.
In the case of a mold infestation covering more than 10 square feet, or if the homeowner can smell mold but can’t see it, a professional can address the mold problem promptly and thoroughly. There’s a strong chance that the problem runs deeper than expected, and the chances of the homeowner creating a bigger problem by hunting for and disturbing unseen mold colonies is even greater. Professionals are trained to follow subtle clues to locate mold and will find it in places most homeowners wouldn’t even think to look. For example, mold growth in an HVAC system could be spreading allergens throughout the home completely unseen. A professional is also more likely to be able to find the source of the moisture, and they will have protective equipment for themselves and scrubbers for the home’s air that are more efficient and effective than any available at a home improvement store. Because there are so many varieties of mold that have such a wide range of physical effects on both people and building materials, this is a situation where it’s really worth the cost of hiring qualified technicians to fully remove the mold and repair any resulting damage.
How to Save Money on Mold Remediation Cost
The most critical factor in saving money on mold remediation is to act immediately. Homeowners who put off mold remediation will likely end up paying more once they finally get a professional in since the chances are good that the mold has spread. The problem with mold is that even if it isn’t a big deal right now, it will be, and sometimes within only days if immediate action isn’t taken. A small growth is manageable; a large growth can be devastating, both financially and healthwise. If any signs of mold are present, homeowners will want to act immediately. There are several other ways to save money on mold remediation cost.
- Make the home inhospitable to mold growth by promptly repairing and cleaning up any leaks or water damage.
- If the area with mold is less than 10 square feet, clean it immediately using a commercial cleaner.
- For larger areas or hidden mold, call in professional help without delay—don’t try to fix it and risk spreading the problem.
- Clean, disinfect, or remove any items in the home that may have been exposed to the mold to kill errant spores and prevent a recurring problem.
- Especially for larger problems, homeowners can contact their insurance company to see if their homeowners insurance covers mold. Sometimes homeowners insurance will cover mold, but usually only if a covered peril causes it, and then only on a case-by-case basis. If a second mold growth occurs as a result of unremediated water damage or an unrepaired leak, it won’t be covered, and mold that is the result of a flood may not be covered in some areas unless the homeowner also has flood insurance.
- Collect estimates from several reputable mold remediation companies, but don’t automatically select the least expensive quote. Really compare the services each company has offered to provide and check references. A low quote may reflect substandard or corner-cutting procedures, less protection for the home and technicians, or less experience.
Questions to Ask About Mold Remediation
It’s important to get answers to several questions before hiring a professional remediation company. First, it’s a good idea to choose a company that specializes in mold remediation. The initial costs may appear higher than those of professionals who do other construction or home improvement work, but a company that specializes in mold remediation is also more likely to have the expertise to protect its workers more effectively, and it may have a more realistic initial estimate because it knows what to anticipate during the job. Have these questions at hand before searching “mold remediation near me”:
- Is testing before and after the remediation included in the cost?
- Will you work with an independent inspector if I prefer to hire my own?
- Do you carry mold-specific insurance?
- What kind of certifications do your technicians have? Mold remediation, asbestos abatement, and hazardous waste-hauler certifications are all reasonable expectations.
- What kind of protection will your technicians wear? What kind of protection will you provide for my home?
- What is included in the contract? Mold assessment, containment, removal of damaged and porous materials, surface disinfection of the entire area, and HEPA vacuuming and air scrubbing are all reasonable elements of a contract.
- May I hire separate professionals to do restoration work or do it myself after the remediation process is complete?
- Based on your assessment, what potential surprises might we run across? How will additional costs be assessed and managed?
- What is the time frame for the remediation, and can we stay in the home while it’s taking place?
Discovering mold can be shocking, especially if the extent of the problem isn’t evident. Having concerns and questions regarding health effects, the options and choices that need to be made about how to deal with the problem, and the financial impact of the work that needs to be done are understandable. These are some of the first questions that many people have when they discover mold in their home, along with the answers to allay some initial fears.
Q. Is it possible to remove all the mold from my house?
No. Mold is everywhere—in the air, on surfaces, and in fabric. It’s critical to the environment because it digests and removes decaying material. We coexist with all kinds of mold every day, most of which is relatively harmless. This is why the tests available at the hardware store aren’t the most useful; they will always show that mold is present rather than helping determine if too much mold or a specific, dangerous mold is present. The concern and need for remediation occurs when a larger growth of mold has taken hold in a particular area, creating a concentration of spores and developing into a colony that produces more spores, which will eventually affect the building structures and residents’ health.
Q. Is it safe for me to stay in the house during the mold remediation process?
Most of the time, yes, but it depends on the scope of the remediation. A professional mold remediation company will seal off the area to prevent spores from drifting to other areas of the home, and the technicians should run air cleaners and scrubbers before unsealing the area and safely disposing of materials. If the growth is in more than one area or it’s in a main area of the home, it may be more convenient to stay somewhere else during the process. Noise can be a factor in this decision, as can the time of year; if it’s winter and the constant ventilation will make the home cold, it may be worth it to stay elsewhere for a few days.
Q. Can I remove mold by myself?
If the mold growth is less than 10 square feet, is visible, has a clear source of moisture that is easy to correct, and is accessible, most homeowners can use a commercial mold removal spray to kill and remove the mold, according to EPA guidelines. Proper protective gear including a respirator, goggles, and gloves are recommended, both for protection from the mold and also from the harsh chemicals in the remover product.
Q. Can mold cause health problems?
The short answer is yes. While not all molds are harmful, the spores produced by some varieties can be toxic to humans. This can include respiratory symptoms like coughing or trouble breathing, or it can also present as skin rashes and hay fever. These symptoms tend to be worse in people with compromised immune systems, allergies, or asthma.
Q. How do I know if I have mold in my house?
Sometimes mold is obvious—visible growth on walls or ceilings or a distinct musty smell can give it away. But other times mold is more elusive. It’s most common to find mold in houses where there has been water damage or extreme humidity. Even if mold is not visible, if the home has water damage or residents are experiencing symptoms of mold exposure, it’s worth the cost of mold inspection to determine whether there is mold growth anywhere in the home.