Fly-by-night mold remediators sometimes use encapsulation to simply paint over mold while charging gullible clients thousands for their unscrupulous services.
Also called mold sealant or mold paint, encapsulation is the process of treating mold with a product that “glues” the mold in place so it cannot release any spores – rendering the mold powerless. This works to some extent, but encapsulation is not completely effective and should never be the sole means of remediation. Encapsulation is sometimes relied upon as a crutch and to compensate for a poor or rushed mold remediation job.
There are only a few situations where it may be appropriate to use encapsulation as part of a post remediation process. If your mold remediator is not completely confident that a moisture problem has been resolved, they may use encapsulation to waterproof materials in the area. Also, there may be small amounts of mold in places that can only be accessed with major demolition. In this case, the cost of demolition outweighs the problem of the mold which can be prevented from releasing spores through encapsulation. Finally, encapsulation may be used as way to prevent future mold from growing after a successful remediation.
Here is another tip to check if your mold remediator is trying to hide something with encapsulation. The encapsulation product should be clear or transparent so a third party can observe that no mold growth remains. But if your mold remediator wants to use a mold paint encapsulation that is colored, usually white or red, then they may be trying to cover up their mistakes.
Sometimes insurance companies that have to pay for mold remediation as part of their coverage will hire encapsulation mold remediators because they are cheap. This is how Ed McMahon’s notorious lawsuit against his insurance company began, when supposedly qualified mold remediators simply painted over the mold in his home. This shortcut led to health problems, house damages, and possibly the death of his dog Muffin.
Encapsulation is just one of the many mold remediation shortcuts and scams used in this industry to take money from those less educated about the subject. You can save yourself from these scams by staying informed and knowing what to look for in a qualified, honest, mold inspector.