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First Call Restoration

All the water mitigation work has now been completed perfectly.

By Testimonials

I found water had leaked into my furnished basement and needed a repair FAST. I interviewed 2 companies and chose First Call Restoration due to their thorough assessment of the affected areas and the clear outline of the needed work. All the water mitigation work has now been completed perfectly. The entire crew was knowledgeable, courteous and professional. They explained every step along the way. I highly recommended them and would choose them again if ever needed.

Beverly Hynes

It looks even better than I expected!

By Testimonials

As a first time homeowner, I was extremely stressed out when my basement flooded after heavy rain. The original clean up crew recommended Dan Murphy and his team and I COULD NOT BE HAPPIER! I honestly didn’t know what to expect in terms of support and communication but Dan continued to impress me with his responsiveness and qualtiy work. I don’t wish flooding on anyone, but should it happen to you, please reach out to Dan and his team to bring make your space normal again. It looks even better than I expected and I’m so thankful!

Michelle Plante

house mold removal

What to Do About Mold in Your Home

By Blog

kansas city restoration services

By Don M. McNulty

Before you try to tackle a mold issue in your home, there are a few things you should know about mold overall.

The first thing to understand is that mold is a part of nature; it is a fungus, a living organism, whose purpose is to decay organic material. You can very much think of mold like a termite but on a much smaller scale. Their job is to help get rid of organic material.

Mold in various forms is everywhere. It is estimated that there are over three-hundred thousand species of mold. There are molds for every environment; whether it is hot or, cold mold will exist.

When I ask any one of the general population which mold is the most dangerous, they will invariably say black mold. The reason people say black mold is because the news media in the 1980s ran many stories about the dangers of black mold. So much so they scared the entire population into believing it was so dangerous their children would suffer brain damage and other developmental problems. 

But the media never told us that everything they were reporting about black mold is that their claims have never been proven. Even to this day, in 2020, they have never been proven.

You should know the media was speaking about Stachybotrys chartarum mold. It is only found indoors, so you will not find it outdoors. Second, hundreds of mold species are black, so when you look at a black mold, it isn’t necessarily Stachybotrys.

Other molds are dangerous to the human environment. The first and most prevalent is Aspergillus fumigatus. This mold is called black mold on fruits, but it may appear greenish to pinkish cast in color and have fuzzy white fungus intermingled in other structure areas. 

Aspergillus niger mold is almost everywhere in the United States, outdoors and indoors almost every day. We are used to breathing this mold without getting sick.

Aspergillus mold carries mycotoxins and left in the area to grow, can cause a lung disease called Aspergillosis. Aspergillosis sets up and grows in the bronchial and lung areas of its victim.

The difference between not contracting Aspergillosis or not first lies in your genetics. After that, it is from living or working in closed quarters with concentrated amounts of the mold. Being in close contact with more massive amounts of this mold is called a bioload. The greater the bioload and the longer the contact presents a greater chance of developing Aspergillosis.

Because Aspergillosis is not a reportable disease, it’s hard to know how many have succumbed to the disease. It is estimated worldwide that at least 3,000,000 people contract Aspergillosis each year, with a 15% mortality rate. Many of those who do not die are respiratorily compromised for the rest of their lives.

Of course, anyone who is allergic to mold(s) are at risk of many related immune problems and should be diligent about its eradication. 

NOVICE v. PROFESSIONAL

The format professionals will be different from a homeowner attempting to remediate the mold. This writer recommends the homeowner attempt to remediate the mold only for small areas.

In the eyes of the novice, cleaning mold should be different than remediating the mold. For the sake of this instruction, Cleaning the mold represents having minimal amounts of mold around your tub or shower, and you have a returning fungus you attempt to get rid of using bleach or some other disinfectant. It disappears for a while, then reappears later.

If this is the case, then more than likely, you have some water intrusion that needs attention.

If this is a caulked seam, you can remove the caulk from that seam, then apply your disinfectant, allow it to thoroughly dry and replace the caulk. If the mold persists or the mold is in the grout, the problem just gained importance in how it should be handled.

Although you are beginning to approach the professional level, your skill sets might allow you to proceed. 

Apart from the professional’s negative air chamber with Hepa filtration, I suggest you drape the doorway with a plastic sheet. That way, when the door has opened, a barrier exists.

If the mold is in the grout, it usually means there is a water intrution behind the wall. Think about it. Grout is not cellulosic; it’s cementitious. Household mold loves dark, stale, humid, or wet air that you would find in the wall void with a water leak present. The leak could be from a roof leak or a pipe fitting.

Professionals use an inferred camera and inspection to determine how the water may be intruding. Here’s what I mean. Is there a water pipe in the area that might be our culprit? If not, then a trip into the attic might enlighten us on an area of the leak. We would look for apparent water damage in the attic, or if not that, then dark streaks on the wood structures in the wall area in question. 

While you are in the attic, inspect the whole of the roof area for leaks, it may reveal extensive damage that indicates a roof replacement.

Suppose no visible damage is discovered in the attic or suspect pipe in the area. In that case, you must conclude that the water intrusion is from water going through the tiled wall; you must open up the wall to inspect, revealing water damage indicating the source. If water is seeping through the tile and onto the wall, the wallboard will be wet and will likely crumble easily with little pressure. Before getting aggressive with the wall’s demolition in a question, apply hand pressure to the wall area where you see the mold. Is the wall spongy or stout?

If it’s spongy, then you found the issue. It’s time to complete the demolition and proceed with the rebuild.

If your problem was a roof leak, have the roof fixed.

If it was a pipe leaking, have it repaired,

If it was a wall, our suggestion is to build it back using the concrete board or green rock and use a liquid waterproofing membrane to be applied like paint on the wall before retiling the surround. A membrane will thoroughly protect the wall in case there is water intruding any time in the future.

If this seems more daunting a task than you’re up to, then give us a call. First Call Restoration of Kansas City, 913-909-0142 KS, for Missouri call, 816-804-0154.

We will come to your location for a free inspection and quote.

Are you strapped for CASH? Don,t worry. We have you covered with Low payment options.

First Call Restoration Company

Free Mold Inspection

By Blog

This year 2020 has brought our society a pandemic that had us all sequestered in place, made us afraid to go out to shop, visit friends and family, work, and have caused many businesses to be hurt or, worse yet, closed. Also, the allergy season was rough for those who suffer those maladies. But here in the Greater Kansas City Area, we missed out on certain weather events. Although our rainfall has been average for the most part, we didn’t have many thunderstorms or severe weather.

Consequently, for as much as we could, we’ve spent time outdoors in our yards, many people started gardening again with many for the first time. Several of us kept close to family, and small groups of people we knew were taking precautions as we were practicing.

Now, as I’m writing this piece, it is the first day of fall. Here in the KC area, the weather has already moderated, and we have had cool nights with warm, moderate days. To me, at least, weather-wise, it’s a perfect entrance into fall, so far.

As the weather progresses toward winter and the coming cold forces us indoors, you may discover or suspect you have mold brewing in your home or business.

If that is the case, First Call Restoration of Kansas City can help provide a FREE MOLD INSPECTION. If you are like me, I don’t like not knowing if I suspect a problem developing; I like to know.

The only way to know is to have those areas inspected. With mold, the adage applies, the sooner this problem is found, the less expensive the repair.

If you suspect mold being present in your living or work environment, don’t put off the inspection. It’s a straightforward and painless call to First Call Restoration 816-804-0154 in Missouri or 913-909-0142 in Kansas. You may find our website at www.firstcallrestorationkc.com

We cover the entire metro-plex from Harrisonville, MO to Oskaloosa, KS and Lawrence, KS to Odessa, MO.

Please don’t put it off; give us a call today.

Housing hardships reach unprecedented heights during the COVID-19 pandemic

By Uncategorized

The United States housing crisis is not new. Even before the coronavirus pandemic, 10-15 percent of households reported being housing insecure. Now, with unemployment at historic highs and more than 20 million individuals out of work, the country’s housing crisis is only getting worse. In April 2020, 1 in 3 Americans did not pay rent, and, despite moratoriums to protect against evictions, renters are still being evicted.

Groundbreaking data from a new large-scale, nationally representative survey of low- and moderate-income (LMI) households (representing roughly 60 percent of the overall U.S. population) administered by the Social Policy Institute at Washington University in St. Louis in April of 2020 suggests that individuals have been facing increased housing hardship such as evictions, delayed rent or mortgage payments, and unexpected utility payments and home repairs during the pandemic. Particularly at high risk for evictions are Hispanic/Latinx populations (Figure 1), who are already more likely to be low-income and to become infected with COVID-19 compared to white populations.

Figure 1. Eviction experience during the COVID-19 pandemic

Source: COVID-19 Survey, Wave 1 (Apr 22 2020 – May 12 2020), Social Policy Institute.
Notes: LMI only. N=2,680.

Over the past three months, alarming and devastating statistics from this new study show the challenges LMI homeowners of Hispanic and Latinx communities are facing during the pandemic. For example:

  • Twenty percent of Hispanic/Latinx homeowners did not pay the full amount of their mortgage, which is nearly two times greater than the entire sample (10.4 percent) during the COVID 19 pandemic (Figure 2).
  • One in five LMI Hispanic/Latinx homeowners skipped a bill or paid a bill late (Figure 3).
  • Seventeen percent of these individuals had an unexpected major house or appliance repair, straining their already tenuous financial situation during the pandemic (Figure 3).

In addition to homeowners, renters have been especially hit hard by the pandemic. Historically, LMI renters face great challenges of finding affordable housing, sometimes spending over half their income on housing alone. COVID-19 has exacerbated this crisis.

Figure 2. Delinquency experience during the COVID-19 pandemic

Source: COVID-19 Survey, Wave 1 (Apr 22 2020 – May 12 2020), Social Policy Institute.
Notes: LMI only. N=2,672.

Figure 3. Utility payment delay and major home repairs during the COVID-19 pandemic

Source: COVID-19 Survey, Wave 1 (Apr 22 2020 – May 12 2020), Social Policy Institute.
Notes: LMI only. N=2,677.

Data from the survey highlights how almost 30 percent of LMI individuals have lost their job, and 44 percent of LMI individuals have experienced a decrease in work hours as a result of the pandemic. Many survey respondents cited a requirement to be physically at their job as the reason.

Renters are also unlikely to have any emergency or “rainy day funds” set aside for savings or unexpected situations such as the pandemic. More than 40 percent of LMI survey respondents said they had no emergency savings set aside, and more than 12 percent of LMI individuals said they would not be able to pay for a $400 emergency expense. This is particularly alarming, as these rates will likely be compounded when unemployment benefits for LMI individuals end.

MOVING FROM A “BAND-AID” TO A LONG-TERM SOLUTION

The Senate’s $2 trillion coronavirus aid package signed into law on March 27, 2020 (the CARES Act), aimed to provide direct relief to low-income individuals. However, The CARES Act has functioned more like a “Band-Aid solution,” serving as a temporary response to a problem that spans larger than the coronavirus pandemic. Even so, the CARES Act has not equitably helped all those who need it. Data shows that almost 40 percent of LMI Black and Hispanic households and over 30 percent of LMI white households who qualified for cash relief through the CARES Act had still not received their payment at the time of the survey’s administration.

Part of the CARES Act included legislation to prevent evictions on a federal scale, but data from the Social Policy Institute survey shows that this was not the case (Figure 4). Non-Hispanic white respondents have not been spared either—only 5 percent and 6 percent of LMI white individuals benefited from mortgage/rent payment deferral or banned utility shutoffs during the pandemic, respectively. Experiences with evictions, foreclosures, and utility shutoffs are likely to increase rapidly as moratoriums end across the country.

Figure 4. Receipt of CARES Act benefits during the COVID-19 pandemic

Source: COVID-19 Survey, Wave 1 (Apr 22 2020 – May 12 2020), Social Policy Institute.
Notes: LMI only. N=2,680.

The CARES Act was limited in its effectiveness. It froze evictions for only specific types of housing, such as public housing and homes with federally supported mortgages, but policy should go further to support all renters and homeowners for the long term. Indeed, our survey shows that 4 percent of our entire sample, not just LMI, experienced evictions, and 9 percent were behind on their rent or mortgage payments.

The voucher system needs stronger federal support, too. Prior to the pandemic, it often took years for qualified individuals to receive their vouchers. This has always been a problem for LMI households, but housing programs and vouchers are even more vital now, in the wake of the pandemic. One solution is to fully fund the housing choice program and payments should be streamlined to landlords to incentivize their participation.

We must invest in low-income, under-resourced communities through housing revitalization efforts, education systems, and federally qualified health centers. While this survey focused primarily on renters and homeowners, legislators must also mobilize efforts to provide stable housing to unhoused populations during and beyond the pandemic.

THE COVID-19 PANDEMIC IS BRINGING TO LIGHT AN EXISTING HOUSING CRISIS

Since long before the pandemic, low-income individuals have been experiencing great levels of hardship regarding their housing stemming from finances, ranging from the physical condition and multi-generational housing environments to a lack of community supports such as access to healthy food options and proximity to health care services. Add the coronavirus to the mix, and we are seeing exacerbated housing-related disparities. Moreover, we also have learned that housing-related inequalities have amplified the risk of COVID-19 infection as well as chronic conditions (e.g., asthma) that increase the risk of complications due to COVID-19, including death.

Our survey results suggest that, while the entire U.S. population is facing increased housing risk, certain groups are bearing disproportionate levels of housing hardship, including Latinx/Hispanic populations. Understanding the particular needs of this group will be important in enacting policies and practices to support them. For example, undocumented populations may be particularly vulnerable to evictions and rent theft. Moreover, there are other populations that may be at risk such as individuals who have been recently released from prison and the unhoused, many of whom may be doubling up in already space-strained households, and at the same time are more likely to have been exposed to the virus and therefore advance its spread.

Now that the coronavirus pandemic has brought these stark inequities to light, it is imperative that legislators enact policies to ensure that low- and moderate-income individuals have access to high-quality and stable housing. It is impossible to have discussions about a recovery from the pandemic without realizing how housing is a core aspect and inextricably linked to outcomes and predictors of an individual getting the coronavirus—including preexisting health conditions, ability to social distance, and access to health care. Beyond housing’s direct impact on low- and moderate-income individuals during the coronavirus pandemic, housing is a basic need that individuals—regardless of income—need and deserve.

Housing hardships reach unprecedented heights during the COVID-19 pandemic from brookings.edu