Where Mold Comes From And How To Prevent It
Mold is a fungus that releases spores into the air. Mold spores are everywhere, floating in the air and landing on surfaces. Every house and building in the world has mold spores in it, and there is no way to get rid of every mold spore in your home. So why doesnt mold grow everywhere? Mold spores need specific conditions to grow into mold: moisture and darkness. That means you can avoid mold by preventing those conditions from happening in your house.
Mold is most common in basements, where groundwater seepage and humidity can make things damp . It is also common in bathrooms and kitchens where moisture is not properly vented. Anywhere you have a leak that is not promptly cleaned up and fixed is a good home for mold as well, whether it is a roof leak leading to mold in the attic or a plumbing leak that causes your kitchen cabinets to get moldy.
Preventing mold requires a little work now, but you will avoid a lot of work getting rid of mold later. Here are some things to start with:
- Fix all leaks promptly.
- Clean up spills and dry out wet carpet.
- Run a dehumidifier in damp areas.
- Improve ventilation in bathrooms and in the kitchen.
- Direct drainage away from your house to reduce basement seepage.
Remove Mold From Drywall/painted Walls
Mold can often grow on drywall and painted interior walls, especially in areas where moisture and humidity are a factor, such as kitchens and bathrooms. Walls can also be affected if your roof or exterior walls are infiltrated by water. If the drywall remains wet, mold can begin to grow and penetrate the drywall throughout. When this happens, the drywall must be removed and replaced, as you will not be able to get rid of all mold under these circumstances.
How To Stop Mold From Growing
While mold cant be eradicated, it can be contained and prevented from spreading. You can stop future mold growth by installing proper ventilation and controlling the humidity levels in every room of your home and fixing any pipe, roof, or window leaks immediately. If any flooding has occurred, clean and dry the area thoroughly.
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Calculate The Extent Of The Mold Contamination
Mold may not always grow in one area, so you need to figure out how much contamination you’re really looking at. Calculating the extent of the contamination will impact how you approach mold removal and clean up. The goal of mold removal is to clean up mold growing within the home, and to avoid exposing homeowners to large amounts of mold.
The New York City Department of Health has developed guidelines for cleaning up mold contamination. These guidelines are widely used in the construction industry and recommend six levels of mold removal based on the square footage of the mold and whether or not the mold is located within the home’s HVAC system. Following the NYC DOH’s guidelines, available online, calculate the remediation level needed.
Why Do I Hear Dripping In My Wall
The dripping noise you hear could come from some sort of motion, concussion, or vibration in the pipes themselves. Abnormal water pressure or air in the pipes can also create such sounds. If you believe that your dripping sounds come from behind a wall or ceiling, contact your plumber immediately.
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The Path Of Resistance
Initially, Mikes landlord tried to fix the problem himself, bleaching the moldy walls. We call that spray n’ pray, said Scott Armour of the Institute of Inspection Cleaning and Restoration Certification, a global industry body for remediators. They, along with the EPA, advise against bleach for a variety of reasons, namely that fumes can be dangerous and its usually ineffective.
Bleach only works for non-porous surfaces. It cant touch the mold that has burrowed into surfaces like wood or drywall . But the most important reason bleach fails is that people dont stop the molds water supply.
First thing I do is check for leaks, in the bathroom or roof or a crack in the foundation, said Greg Bukowski, who runs the Chicago-based remediation company Moldman USA. Theres always a leak. If you dont fix that, dont bother with bleach or vinegar. Then kill and remove the mold with detergent and water, then prevent its return with mold-resistant paint like Kilz .
When bleach didnt work, Mike paid for an indoor airborne mold test, which raised more questions than it answered. We had no idea how to interpret the results. I just couldnt find any information out there that isnt written by remediation guys, he said. They told him he had the dreaded black mold, and needed professional remediation.
How To Clean Mold Off Leather
Leather might be a luxury product, but its extremely susceptible to mold growth. However if you discover mold on your recliner or favorite boots, all is not lost. Heres how to clean the mold and stop it from coming back.
Soapy water or leather cleaner
Step 1: Place the leather somewhere warm and allow it to dry completely. This will make removing mold easier.
Step 2: Using a damp cloth, wipe down the leather to remove the mold.
Step 3: Clean the leather using a leather cleaner or a mild soap such as baby shampoo.
Step 4: Carry out regular cleaning and maintenance to prevent mold returning.
Mold can quickly take hold of leather products and cause a lot of damage, from discoloration to reducing the leathers lifespan. Adding to the problem, you cannot use detergents or bleach on leather, as they will also cause damage. Therefore treating leather items regularly with specialized cleaners and keeping them dry is the best defence against mold growth.
Pro Tip: If you dont have a leather cleaner on hand, alcohol might help. Surprisingly, alcohol does kill mold and its particularly effective on leather. However, always spot-check any cleaner before you use it!
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How Can Mold Grow In New Homes
Of all the causes for mold in new construction, the basement is most often the culprit. Pouring a foundation requires industry experience, but even the best builders can run into trouble.
Insulating studs and installing vapor barriers before a poured foundation dries can trap condensation inside walls. A foundation capped during construction downtime often develops moisture buildup on boards over flooring joists. These boards pose even more new house mold problems if theyre reused when construction resumes. Basements with no insulation below first story subflooring can create a moist environment that feeds mold.
There are other structural issues with new homes that can result in mold infestations.
Early home building phases leave framing and subflooring exposed to weather and fluctuating humidity. Modern houses are built for energy efficiency, but tight construction doesnt allow interiors to breathe. Additional bathrooms, hot tubs and even sprinkler systems increase the risk of plumbing mishaps.
How Dangerous Is Black Mold In Your House
Many kindsand colorsof mold exist. Stachybotrys, a black mold, has a reputation for being particularly toxic, but it doesnt matter what type of mold youre dealing withall molds found within the house bring with them the possibility of health risks and should be removed immediately.
The most likely places to find mold in the bathroom are in the tile grout, around drains, and on the walls or wallpaper. Keep reading to learn how to treat affected areas and prevent mold from growing in your bathroom in the future.
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What A Mold Remediation Professional Will Do
Mold remediation companies will clean up your mold in a few days if just some washing and removing carpet is involved, or in a few weeks if demolition and rebuilding is required.
Generally, the cleanup process entails:
- Removing water-damaged, mold-infested materials.
- Cleaning and disinfecting walls, carpet, and personal items.
- Removing drywall and studs if mold damage is extensive.
- Vacuuming with HEPA filtration.
If mold infestation is severe and you are mold-sensitive, you may have to live elsewhere during cleanup.
Remediation costs vary depending on how much and where mold exists. Figure on:
- $500 to $4,000 to remove mold from crawlspaces only.
- $2,000 to $6,000 to remove mold from ducts, crawl spaces, walls, and attics.
- $10,000 to $30,000 to repair widespread structural damage.
Mold remediation isnt about ‘kill, kill, kill,’ says Wane A. Baker, a Wisconsin mold investigator. Even dead mold can still be allergenic.
Black Mold Removal And Cleaning
Mold remediation in stores, offices, or schools is best left to the pros. This also applies to household mold exceeding 10 square feet.
The contractors you choose should have insurance and licenses from organizations like the Institute of Inspection Cleaning and Restoration Certification .
Homeowners can handle cleaning about 10 square feet of black mold on their own.3 If the patch is small enough, a combination of bleach, water, scrubbing, and ventilation should do the trick.
Before treating mold on your own, prioritize ventilation and protective gear.
Removing black mold is a tough and dirty job. If you or anyone in your family is sensitive to mold allergies, has respiratory or immune issues, trust the professionals.
Find a contractor in your area to get started.
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How Much Does Black Mold Removal Cost
To properly remediate mold , you’ll need to hire a mold remediation specialist. A mold remediation specialist will remediate the basement while making sure mold spores do not get into the heating and cooling system, which would otherwise get recirculated throughout the home, continuing to make occupants sick even once the basement itself has been cleaned.
So what does black mold removal cost? It’s not quite a cut-and-dry answer. The level of infestation directly affects the black mold removal cost. The black mold removal cost of an unfinished basement can really vary. It could be as little as $500 or as high as $4,000 depending on the scope and size – AKA how much mold is present and how much area it covers. If the attic and ducts are involved, the cost for those generally ranges from $2,000 to $6,000. If the home has recently been flooded and the mold is all throughout it, there is much more that has to be done. This could drive a remediation cost up to $10,000 – $30,000, or higher, depending on the size of the home.
Even though you have an idea of how much mold removal costs, be sure to shop around. The first company you find might not be the best one for your needs. Pricing can vary between companies, but you also have to pay attention to the experience levels and what kind of guarantee they have if the mold comes back.
How To Detect Mold In Walls
Cleaning mold on visible surfaces may not be easy but it is very much possible even without the of mold remediation experts. Of course, it is more advisable to seek professional when treating mold on walls but if theres a minor build-up on your walls, floors, or ceilings, you can get rid of it using common tools and cleaning supplies that you may already have at home.
But what if the infestation is inside your walls? How do you even know its happening?
Before you learn how to remove mold inside walls, you must learn how to detect it. Take note that mold spores are super tiny and not visible to the human eyes so they can spread throughout your house discreetly. And until you know the signs of mold build-up, the black mold could already be damaging your property and you are still clueless.
Alright. So how can you tell if the black mold is hiding inside your walls?
If youre like most homeowners whose walls are made of gypsum walls, also called drywall, you might be curious to know whether theres mold build-up inside. Experts recommend several ways:
Cut a large hole on your wall. This is perhaps the most definitive way of determining whether theres mold inside your walls. If there is, you will be tearing them down anywhere. However, there are drawbacks to this approach. First is that using a drywall saw can damage any electrical or plumbing systems if you unknowingly drill them. Be sure to have some plastic sheathing ready to cover that hole afterward.
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What Are The Symptoms Of Black Mold Exposure
If you find black mold on your property, theres no need to panic. But black mold presents more health risks to sensitive groups like those with respiratory conditions or immune conditions.
According to the Centers for Disease Control , black mold spores can generate cold- or flu-like symptoms such as:
- Stuffy nose
- Shortness of breath
So while black mold probably wont kill you, it can make you feel sick and should be removed as soon as possible.
How To Get Rid Of Mold On Walls
Mold on your interior walls can be a hint that youve got a water problem. Behind that wall, you may have a leaky pipe or a drainage issue. Or it could mean you have a ventilation issue. Does the bathroom have a vent? If not, moisture may be building up whenever you shower, encouraging mold growth.
If there is a water problem, any mold you kill by scrubbing is only going to come back. Fix these problems first. If you suspect a leak, clean the area and see how quickly the mold comes back. If it pops up quickly, you may need to hire someone to fix the problem.
To scrub mold off your walls, use a heavy-duty sponge soaked in a bleach/water solution. While wearing a protective mask and gloves, scrub the tainted spot with your solution. For stubborn patches of mold, you may need to let the solution soak in for a few minutes. If that still doesnt work, you can use specially formulated mold remover and mix it in with your bleach solution. Once done scrubbing, make sure to dry off the area you scrubbed.
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How Do You Get Rid Of Mold In A Basement
The way to ensure the removal of all the mold is to hire a licensed mold removal company to do it for you. The affected area must usually be contained with polythene sheeting, the area cleaned, the mold removed, and all containment materials disposed of. Removal will be done in one of three ways: Antimicrobial cleaningmold is sprayed or cleaned with a sponge abradingmold spores are removed by sanding, brushing, or scraping or dry ice blastingmold is cleared with dry ice plus removal with a HEPA filter vacuum . Materials cleaned are then encapsulatedmold residue is sealed to hinder future growth. Any affected portions of drywall, flooring, etc. are also replaced.
Mold Remediation Safety Precautions
The process of removing mold can stir up significant amounts of mold spores. The goal of mold remediation safety precautions is two-fold:
The area affected by mold should be isolated from the rest of the structure as much as possible, using plastic sheeting or simply closing doors. However, the area should be vented to the outside if possible, using window fans or opening whatever path to the outside is available.
Workers should wear filter masks designed to stop mold spores. Inexpensive paper masks that fit over the mouth with a rubber strap will not offer much protection. Eye protection is also important, to keep both mold spores and other debris out of the workers eyes. If possible, occupants should temporarily relocate during mold remediation to minimize their exposure, especially if they have allergies, asthma or other respiratory issues that could be aggravated by mold spore exposure.
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First Can I Remove Mold Myself
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You can, but mold spores can travel in the air when cleaning, so youll want to limit your exposure by wearing protective gear. Wear long rubber gloves to protect your hands and forearms. Its also best to wear eye protection, like goggles, to prevent bleach or other cleaners from splashing in your eyes, especially when removing mold from ceilings or overhead areas.
If the mold problem is severe and more than a few spots, it could be a sign of a bigger moisture problem. If the area is widespread and larger than approximately a 2 x 2 foot area, you’ll want to call in a pro to have it removed safely.
What About Insurance
If you’re buying a home with mold in it, know upfront that the mold is a pre-existing condition that insurances won’t cover. You should also note the moisture/water problem that caused the mold to grow in the first place and consider if it is likely to happen again. Is the problem a leaky pipe that will leak again until it’s fixed? Is the basement prone to flooding? If you’re concerned about mold sneaking back in after remediation, make sure you get something that will cover at least part of the remediation cost if you live in a flood zone.
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How To Clean Mildew
To clean moldy carpets, start by thoroughly vacuuming the affected carpet to remove as much of the mildew as you can. After you are done, either throw away the bag or clean the canister outside. Then proceed to clean the carpet as follows.