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How Do You Know If Mold Is Behind Drywall

Removing Black Mold On Drywall And Wood

Mold in Walls, Part 1

Home> Mold Tips> Removing Black Mold on Drywall and Wood

Black mold loves growing on drywall and wood. These building materials are by far the most common areas of black mold growth. The wood or drywall gets wet, a black mold spore thats floating in the air lands on it, and it starts to grow within 24 hours. Within a couple days youve got some visible growth, and within a week youve got colonies and an outbreak. It happens fast!

The good news is that the problem can easily be fixed by either a mold pro or a handy homeowner before any symptoms from black mold exposure appear.

How Do You Know If You Have Mold Poisoning

A blood test can also check for biotoxins in your blood from mold exposure, which can also reveal mold poisoning. Skin prick test. Your doctor takes tiny amounts of mold and applies it to your skin using a tiny needle. Your skin will break out in bumps, a rash, or hives if youre allergic to that mold species.

Is Mold Behind A Wall Dangerous

Yes. Absolutely yes. In fact, it can be MORE dangerous than visible mold because it can go undetected for a long time, continue to grow and compromise multiple areas of your home, and it can release mass amounts of mycotoxins as the active mold growth begins to compete for space. In addition, the mold spores and mycotoxins can quietly move through your duct work and invade all areas of your living space. Mold is known to cause a wide range of health problems and mold behind a wall is no different than visible mold elsewhere in your home.

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Stop The Source Of Moisture

Before you start removing the mold from your drywall, you have to stop the source of moisture. Whether its a leaky window or pipe, a roofing issue, or water vapor weeping through a concrete floor, you have to fix the problem. Otherwise, mold will start growing almost immediately after you finish removing it.

How Do I Detect Mold In My Walls

Mold on drywall due to trapped moisture in wall behind ...

A mildewed surface is often difficult to distinguish from a dirty one. To test for mold and mildew and how to tell if your house has mold, simply dab a few drops of household bleach on the blackened area. If it lightens after one to two minutes, you have mildew. If the area remains dark, you probably have dirt.

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What To Do When Finding Mold In Your Home

Make sure to call the experts at ServiceMaster to properly remediate your mold problem.

Be alert of any of the aforementioned signs. Such things are likely indicators that your homes walls have mold growing behind them. Considering the damage that mold can have on not only your homes building materials but also yours and others health, it is important that you address any mold growth immediately.

With that being said, if you find your home has mold growth, then you should seek professional mold remediation services. Professionals can thoroughly tend to the damage, contain the mold, prevent further damage and spreading, conduct necessary repairs or replacements, and even treat your home in a manner that prevents mold from returning.

Restoration professionals should be IICRC-certified and experienced to remove mold growth of all sizes. Shortly after receiving your call, their experts will be on their way to inspect the area. They will then contain the affected area to prevent the mold from spreading.

Licensed restoration companies use only the latest products and equipment in order to completely remove mold at its source. After a thorough remediation service, we will ensure that all areas have been restored to their original conditions, giving you the peace of mind that your home is safe from unsafe living conditions.

How To Remove Mold From Concrete Walls

  • Fill a bucket with 1-gallon of warm water and add ½ cup of liquid laundry detergent.
  • Dip a scrub brush or a push broom into the cleaning solution and scrub the concrete to remove it.
  • Rinse the concrete wall with a garden hose and allow it to air dry.
  • Empty the bucket and fill with a mixture of 1-gallon warm water and ¼ cup of bleach.
  • Apply to the concrete with a sponge or sponge mop and allow to sit for 20-30 minutes.
  • Rinse completely and allow to air dry.

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Mold And Mildew Health Concerns

The health of both humans and pets may be affected by the presence of mold and mildew in the home. While some people may not be affected at all, others who are especially sensitive may experience symptoms such as itchy eyes, wheezing, or a runny nose. People with asthma or allergies will feel the most severe reactions to mold and mildew.

Verifying The Cause Of Mold On The Ceiling

Mold Behind Your Shower Walls

There are two ways to prove the cause of the mold growth. If you have access to the attic area above the bathroom, simply pull back the insulation. If the backside of the sheetrock shows signs of mold growth youre definitely dealing with a roof leak. See example below.

If you dont have access to the attic, or simply dont like the idea of crawling through insulation, you can use a moisture meter. In the vast majority of cases, a moisture meter will not pick up moisture due to condensation. Therefore, if the meter indicates elevated water content, youre likely looking at a roof leak. Clearly, this needs to be performed after a recent rain event.

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How To Relate Mold Growth Pattern To Building Leaks Or Moisture Vairations

Reader Question: why is this black mold growing on these drywall ceilings & walls?

I attached three mould photos for you. Can you help me to find out the possible reasons? – L.Y. 6/4/2013

Reply: Summary of common reasons for mold growth on drywall

A competent onsite inspection by an expert usually finds additional clues that help accurately diagnose a problem. That said, here are some things to consider:

Possible reasons for indoor mold growth ?

In all cases of indoor mold growth the mold needs food , oxygen, and water some molds thrive on light, some are tolerant or intolerant of UV, and other factors.

Moisture, water, leaks, condensationa are key determinants in indoor mold growth

Of all of these, water is the key necessary ingredient which we can track and which is inviolate – that is, no water, no moisture = no problem mold growth.

I have no context for the photos, no age, no building history, occupancy, use, or other key information that an onsite inspection would disclose.

But I note that your middle photo looks as if it is a ceiling and because there is a vent therein I suspect this may be over a bathroom Common moisture sources for such an area might include

  • leaks into the ceiling above
  • high indoor moisture from in-building sources such as a steamy shower or clothes dryer
  • leaks from the ducting for the ceiling fan

Mold growth tracking ceiling or wall framing

Common Solutions For Ceiling Mold Growth

  • Run the exhaust fan for at least 30 minutes after a shower or bath.
  • Paint the bathroom ceiling with a high sheen/gloss paint. Matte and other low sheen paints absorb much more moisture, which in turn leads to mold growth.
  • Insulate the attic space above the bathroom to prevent excessively cold surfaces on the ceiling.
  • Mold growth due to condensation can often indicate elevated mold spores throughout other areas of the homes. Mold testing can be a helpful technique for determining whether this has occurred.

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How To Remove Mold From Wallpaper

  • In a spray bottle, combine equal parts of water and a mild detergent.
  • Spray the affected area and scrub until the spots are gone.
  • Allow the surface of the treated area to dry completely. If possible run a fan to help speed up the drying process.
  • Ventilation is the last and most crucial step, especially in areas where there is continuous moisture. Thoroughly ventilating the room, especially the bathroom after every shower, will help limit growth and spreading of the spores.

If you have thoroughly cleaned the surface of the wallpaper, but still smell a moldy odor, you may need to look behind the wallpaper. Lift a corner, near the floorboard or other out-of-sight area to look behind the wallpaper. Keep in mind that removing the wallpaper can lead to a large release of spores, so before removing all of it, consider hiring a remediation company.

How To Remove Mold On Drywall


If you notice mold on a drywall surface in your home, try not to panic. The truth is that mold can happen anywhere and in any home. All it needs to grow is a source of moisture and an organic food source, and drywall can be an all-you-can-eat buffet. Read these steps on how to safely remove mold from your drywall.

Mold spores are everywhere. They float through the air and can settle on any surface. If that surface is damp and theres a food source present, mold will grow.

The paper face on a damp sheet of drywall can be the perfect food source for a spore to dig into. Before long, the mold can multiply and spread across the entire wall and into the wall cavity, feeding on wood framing and flooring.

While its hard not to panic at the thought of a mold problem, you can handle most drywall mold scenarios on your own. According to the EPA, homeowners can remove mold on drywall under 10 square feet. Larger infestations might require a pro.

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Is There A Detector For Mold

Yes, its called the Informant or the Informant Plus Black Mold & Fungal Allergen Detection Test Kit. They are the only commercially available mold test designed to detect specific black molds, such as Aspergillus, Penicillium and Stachybotrys species, which are toxigenic, plus many major and minor allergenic spores.

Do Mold Spores Travel

Mold spores can travel if they are disturbed. Typically, mold, especially black mold, is covered with a wet, moist film. This can stop too many spores from becoming airborne.

However, if that mold is disturbed in any way, then the spores can then be moved away from the mold infestation and be left to travel through the air. This is especially dangerous with toxic mold, especially if you have vulnerable adults, children, and pets in your home.

Mold spores that travel through the air are even more likely to cause respiratory issues such as couches, sniffles, and sore throats. They may even be linked to diseases and illnesses such as pneumonia.

Of course, mold spores can also travel from surface to surface, particularly if said surfaces are porous. If you have mold in one patch of your wall, it is very common and highly likely for that mold to spread on the wall.

Before long, whole rooms can be infested, as well as any upholstery that can be reached from the walls. For example, if you have a couch or curtains against a mold-ridden wall, then there is a chance the curtains or furniture can get infected too.

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Interrupted Mold Growth Pattern On Building Drywall

In our photographs shown above the thick black mold growth on drywall in a wet basement appears to nearly “stop” in a neat horizontal line just about four feet from the floor surface. Why?

Stachybotrys chartarum, which dominated the mold on this drywall, really likes wet conditions. As we explained above, the genera/species of mold growth may vary on a surface of the same material as a function of variation in moisture levels in the material.

In our photo at above right we show by having made a test cut into the moldy drywall that mold growth stopped its rapid advance up the drywall when it encountered the horizontal tape joint between the lower and upper runs of drywall in the building. We have found two common explanations for this observation:

  • The moisture wicking upwards in drywall from a wet floor is interrupted where the paper-covered edges of two horizontal runs of drywall abut.
  • Mold growth on joint compound alone is often significantly less in a building than on paper-covered drywall in the same area. This observation describes the success in “paperless drywall” sold for some applications.
  • How To Remove Mold From Drywall

    How Can Consumers Detect Mold Inside Their Walls

    How the problem is handled on drywall depends on the condition of the sheet rock itself. If the material is unpainted or unsealed it is much more porous so it will absorb the spores right through to the back of the surface. In most situations, if you have a problem on the outside of sheetrock, it is probably on the inside as well. If you find it on unsealed sheetrock, the only thing you can do is remove the section that is affected and replace it. It is important to cut out a large enough section of the sheetrock to expose the wood behind it. Molds cannot be removed from insulation, so completely removing and replacing it is necessary.

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    Will Mold In Walls Die

    Mold in walls can possibly die if you eliminate the source that is powering the mold. This is, more often than not, water.

    Mold needs moisture to grow, therefore, getting rid of that moisture source can cause the mold to die out.

    However, this can be a tricky job, and it is not always guaranteed. The best thing to do is seek help and advice from a professional who has experience in dealing with mold.

    Stale And Musty Odors

    Mold, whether it is visible or not, emits an unusual and unpleasant odor. If an area in your home persistently smells musty, there is a good possibility there is mold in the room. You can follow the odor to where it is strongest, find the mold and remove it. However, if the mold is in an unreachable place, like inside walls, you need to call in a professional to help you remove the growth

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    Does Drywall With Mold Need To Be Replaced

    Mold on drywall may result from a leaking or broken pipe, a leak in the roof, or other water damage to the wall. Flooding in the home can also lead to mold growth on drywall, of course. Unfortunately, it is extremely difficult to remove mold from drywall, so drywall that has mold on it should be removed and replaced.

    Does Lysol Spray Kill Mold Spores In The Air

    Why You Should NOT Use Bleach To Clean Mold

    Does Lysol Kill Mold Spores? Mold is a type of fungus that decays organic matter. Its spores float through the air until they find a place that has enough nutrients and water to support their life. Lysol is a brand of disinfectant that makes a cleaning solution that will kill mold and mildew spores.

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    What To Do If Mold Is In Your Walls

    You will need to remove mold from your walls but that isnt hard to do, according to home expert Bob Villa.

    Villa suggests first removing the mold using a diluted bleach solution of one cup of bleach to one gallon of water. Put the solution in a spray bottle and spray thoroughly on the walls moldy areas.

    Be sure to open windows and run a fan during the process.

    Let the bleach soak in for about 30 minutes and then use a scrub brush to remove the stains. You may need to repeat the process if the stains are deep. Follow up with undiluted white vinegar and let dry. The vinegar kills any mold the bleach didnt remove.

    How Do You Remove Mold From Drywall

    How to Remove Mold From Painted Drywall

    • Step 1: Select a mold killing cleaning agent.
    • Step 2: Pour the cleaning solution into a spray bottle.
    • Step 3: Properly ventilate room.
    • Step 4: Protect surrounding areas.
    • Step 5: Spray the cleaning solution on the mold.
    • Step 6: Use a Brush.
    • Step 7: Dry the Area.

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    Question: How Do You Know If Mold Is Inside Walls

    Mold can be black, green, gray, white, or brown. Mold can even appear orange, pink or purple when it grows behind vinyl wallpaper. Another sign of visible mold is discoloration of walls, even if it has been painted over. If the water damage inside the walls persists, mold will show signs on the surface.

    Larger Drywall Test Cuts To Check For Hidden Mold Contamination

    Mold On Walls, Drywall Or Sheetrock

    Where we have justification to proceed we may cut a 2″ x 3″ hole in drywall to peer into a wall cavity.

    This opening, like the plug cut openings discussed above, is trivial to patch in drywall or plaster, but permits a more reliable inspection of the building cavity interior than a borescope.

    Where damage is already extensive, there is nothing lost, no material to preserve, and a still larger opening may be cut, or multiple openings, in order to confirm the extent of contamination and thus the extent of demolition and mold cleanup needed.

    Memnoniella echinata – a toxic black mold in a wall cavity: During an investigation of a high-rise apartment in a large U.S. city, I was asked to evaluateblack mold visible on basement floor joists in a kitchen.

    Our mold inspection procedure includes a screen of the entire living unit which in this case was a large multi-room apartment.

    At the far end of the apartment, remote from the kitchen and its leaks and mold, I found evidence of other leaks into and below an expensive cherry-wood floor.

    We traced leaks to an air conditioning wall unit whose condensate was draining into the floor ratherthan into its drain.

    The photo above shows our initial test cut into the wall cavity.

    The next photo below shows a closeup of the cavity interior.

    We chose an area to make a “test cut” into the wall cavity where we thought there had been the most water exposure.

    Another “toxic black mold”, Memnoniella echinata is particularly toxic and irritating.

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