Ways To Determine If Your Finished Basement Has Mold
A finished basement adds usable space to the home whether it be for recreation, a kids play area, or organized storage. It also can bring an unexpected bonus to potential homebuyers. An unfinished basement is typically easier to detect mold. Finished basements, however, present a greater challenge as mold can be hidden behind your drywall, paneling or other finished surfaces.
Here are a few tips to determine if you have mold without ripping apart your finished basement:
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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
What Causes Mold In Walls
Water. Water causes mold in walls. Lets look at the most common ways it gets there.
- Building materials were either already moldy OR were installed wet.
- The house itself from not properly seated on the foundation which allowed rainwater, groundwater, and runoff to seep into the framing.
- Windows and doors are not properly installed and sealed. Water is able to penetrate into the wall cavity.
- Water intrusion from outside coming into your wall from rain or irrigation due to stucco, siding, etc on an exterior wall thats compromised.
- A roof leak that runs into your home and behind a wall.
- Pipes and plumbing connections fail and leak. Usually you will discover a burst pipe rather quickly. It is the slow water leaks that are the main culprit when plumbing failures cause mold in walls.
- Wastewater line / sewer drain line has a slow leak.
- Air conditioning condensation line breaks inside the wall.
- Toilet overflows, bathtub overflows, washing machine overflows, hot water heater breaks, or any other accumulation of a large amount of water in your home that ISNT dried out promptly and completely.
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Mold Drywall Solutions Vancouver Bc
ABM Environmental specializes in assessing mold and moisture problems on drywall and inside walls. Call us for a free phone consultation at 568-5177 or fill out the Online Assessment Form to receive more information. See Mold Inspections & Testing to learn more about the ABM Environmental mold inspection process.
Get a Free Phone Consultation with an Indoor Environmental Expert
ABM Environmental service area includes Metro Vancouver and the Fraser Valley from Squamish to Chilliwack. On request we can provide services to Whistler, Pemberton, Hope and the Sunshine Coast.
How To Detect Mold Behind Drywall
Okay, you’re convinced that you need to take mold seriously. How do you know if mold is an issue in your home, though?
The good news is that there are lots of steps you can take to detect mold behind drywall or in other areas of your house. This includes the following:
Check for Stains
Looking carefully at your walls can tell you a lot about what might be going on behind them. Do you notice any yellow or brown stains? If you have water stains on your walls, there’s a good chance that you likely have mold growing behind those stains.
Keep in mind that mold will look different depending on what’s on your walls, too. For example, if you have vinyl wallpaper, the mold might look pink, purple, or orange in color. If you notice this kind of discoloration, that’s another sign that you have a mold growth problem.
Look for Surface Changes
When there’s mold growing behind the walls, the appearance changes quite a bit. Not only will you notice color changes, but you might also find that the walls themselves start to deteriorate.
For example, the paint might start to crack or peel, or the wallpaper might bubble due to excessive moisture and mold spread. Your walls might start to warp, too, or even bulge or bow when the damage gets very bad.
Sniff It Out
Often, when mold is growing in your home, your nose will let you know. Mold has an earthy, musty odor. Many people compare it to the smell of a damp forest .
Try the Screwdriver Test
Use a Mold Test Kit
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Is Mold Behind Walls Harmful
When there is black mold inside of the walls, it often causes allergy-like symptoms, including watery eyes, sneezing and running nose. If anyone in your home has respiratory problems, such as asthma and those with a weakened immune system may have a higher risk of infections from exposure to the mold.
One may also ask, can mold be inside the walls? The most common causes of mold growing on walls are high humidity, condensation and water leaks . Condensation forms when water vapor in the air meets cold surfaces and cools to become liquid. Condensation is especially common on walls which form the perimeter of a house.
Secondly, is mold behind drywall dangerous?
Toxic black mold can release spores as it feeds on common household materials such as drywall, carpet, insulation, or sub-flooring that have been exposed to moisture. These spores, if ingested or inhaled, can cause a range of unpleasant and even dangerous symptoms in humans.
Is mildew on walls dangerous?
If it develops indoors, however, it can also pose health risks. When inhaled, mildew spores cause coughing, headache, sore throat, and respiratory problems Mold can result in considerable structural damage when left unattended for a long time.
Can You Spot Signs Of Mold In Your Home
Now that you know more about how to detect mold behind drywall and which warning signs you ought to watch for, it’s time to use the strategies discussed above and give your home a thorough inspection.
If you do pick up on mold growth anywhere in your home, reach out to mold removal services in your area as on as possible.
Are you located in the Rochester area? If you are and are dealing with mold, call our Rock Environmental professionals at 585-340-6799. Or click the button below to send us a message about your mold remediation options.
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How To Test For Mold In Walls
Testing for mold in the walls is fairly easy if you follow these steps. Inspect damp an humid areas. Purchase a mold test kit and test if mold is present in your home. Send the mold test to the lab. See our 3 steps guide for all the details.
- Step 1: Inspect damp and humid areas.Sometimes plumbing leaks can trigger mold to grow. If there is a musty smell, mold may have accumulated in a hidden spot such as behind your refrigerator or drywall.
- Step 2: Purchase a mold test kit.This costs approximately $50 and is well worth it. Testing can take a few days before determining if mold spores are present in the air.
- Step 3: Send the mold test to a lab.A lab can help determine which type of mold is present within the walls.
Best Mold Cleaner For Walls
Destroy, remove and stop black spores from growing back with this Complete Mold Killer and Removal DIY Bundle. The RMR-141 will completely clean and disinfect the walls where the black spores are growing. After you have cleaned the area, use the RMR-86 to remove the stain. Once the area looks clean, spray the RMR-141 on the wall you just cleaned and the RMR-141 will prevent the fungus from returning. This cleaner is designed to clean black, green or any other type of mold that is growing on your walls. No scrubbing is required. Simply spray this cleaner on your wall and within minutes, the site will be completely clean. This fungicide kit is all you need to clean your home of these unwanted organisms. This cleaner is cost efficient when the black spores are in a small area that you can clean yourself. When cost is a factor and you are on a budget, the RMR- 141 and RMR-86 will get the job done.
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Coated Or Painted Drywall
How Do You Remove Mold Inside Walls
Before attempting to remove mold in walls remember that these procedures are to be performed inside a contained area while wearing personal protective equipment and operating negative air filtration equipment.
If mold is growing on the back of drywall, the drywall must be removed and replaced. Any insulation in the wall should be removed and replaced. Moldy materials should be double bagged in heavy plastic trash bags before you carry them through the house for disposal, to prevent the inadvertent spread of mold throughout the home in the process.
After sheetrock walls and/or ceilings are removed, the exposed studs and joists and the surfaces between the studs and joists need to be HEPA vacuumed to remove all of the settled dust deposits from these surfaces, as these deposits are likely to contain elevated levels of mold and bacteria. The same holds true for floor joists when wood floors are removed during a mold remediation project.
Recommended Reading: How To Get Rid Of Mold On Vinyl Siding
Mold Removal: How To Detect And Remove Mold From Behind Walls
Mold growth can be a common issue for home and business owners. Unlike mildew or the encroachment of weeds, most strains of mold can grow without sunlight and take hold on a variety of surfaces, even inside walls. This issue can be especially problematic because the mold can damage wiring, insulation, and drywall. When it comes to mold in walls, removal can be tricky, but there are a few steps you can take to ensure it is properly eradicated and will not return.
Larger Drywall Test Cuts To Check For Hidden Mold Contamination
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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Im A Los Angeles Renter And I Keep Telling My Landlord That I Think There Is Mold Inside My Walls What Should I Do Becca Los Angeles
Hire a Los Angeles mold inspector, especially if you know there was a leak and the property owner didnt dry it down properly. You can certify mail the landlord for your records, and deduct it off next month rent.
Most often, most Los Angeles mold inspectors will not open walls without owner of property consent.
Remove Mold From Cinder Block Walls
If it is growing on the surface of painted cider block in the basement or cinder block in the crawlspace, simply clean it using a good bathroom cleaner. Once the cinder block has been thoroughly cleaned, repaint cinder block using a paint that has an antimicrobial additive added to the paint. Since cinder block is often used in basements, so it the most important thing to do is to stop the moisture from seeping through the cinder block by using a waterproofing system on the walls.
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For Help Removing Mold In Walls
If you need help removing mold in your walls, or if you’d just like some advice about the mold removal process, we suggest scheduling a free consultation in your home with a mold removal professional. There’s no obligation on your part, so even if you opt to handle the mold removal job yourself, you can benefit from some free professional guidance. To find qualified mold removal professionals offering free consultations in your area, you can follow the link.
Preventing Mold On Drywall
The best way to avoid having to deal with mold is to stop it from getting hold in your home in the first place. As the saying goes, prevention is always better than cure.
Its vital that you have adequate ventilation throughout your entire home. Its a good idea to open windows regularly, as they will allow air to flow through the home. In hot or wet areas such as your bathroom, have a ventilation fan installed if you dont already. This will suck hot, wet air out of the room whenever you use it. If youre not sure how to improve ventilation, bring in a contractor to help you.
Also, be sure to handle any issues that can cause mold as soon as you discover them. For example, if your roof starts to leak, have the issue handled as soon as possible. If theres been a flood, dry out the room as much as you can before looking for mold. If you deprive mold of the right conditions, it just cant thrive in your home.
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Common Places For Mold To Grow
If you have had water damage to your home, its important to be on the lookout for possible mold growth. For example, mold in basement walls or floors can occur after flooding or severe water damage. Also chronic or persistent leaking from appliances, sinks, and showers can also lead to mold growth.
To find hidden mold, look for evidence of water intrusion which is often a sure sign that you either have mold in the home now or will be growing it soon. While it can be difficult to detect mold in the walls, its important to look for these signs of mold growth, to identify the problem as quickly as possible. Moisture meters and particle counters can be used by a certified inspector to source the water leak and fungal growth and even help detect if there is mold in your walls.
If you suspect mold growth in your home, here are some of the most common locations to check for mold to grow in the house:
- Air Ducts
- Near Plumbing
Keep in mind that mold is a sign of excessive moisture and water intrusion and can be visible or hidden behind many different surfaces. Whether its from a leaking pipe or previous water damage, mold can lead to costly building repairs and even adverse health effects, which is why it should be handled promptly.