Crawl Space Mold Varieties
There is more than one type of mold that can be lurking along the floor joists or in the crawl space. Knowing what you are dealing with helps you decide on how to get rid of the mold and fix the problem.
It is likely that if mold is present in the crawl space, you will find clusters or patches of white dirt or powder on the girders, posts, or floor joists. These species have a fuzzy appearance and are more commonly found in the spring, summer, or fall months. Black mold varieties are not fuzzy or powdery, generally appearing as a flat, greenish or dark gray patch. Yellow mold can eat at the wooden structures of your home and cause serious decay. Here are the four most common types of mold found in a crawl space:
What Causes Mold Growth On Floor Joists
Wood is a porous building material, and thats what makes most floor joists. Moisture can quickly infiltrate into the fabric, resulting in structural deterioration.
Moisture damage is the catalyst for the growth of mold. To learn more about mold growth, check out how to identify black mold. Excessive moisture, which is frequent in basements because of inadequate air circulation, is also one of several wetness causes.
The thought of trying to keep mold from growing on the floor joists and in your basement can be a bit challenging. Basements, more than any other part of the house, tend to accumulate moisture. Heres another guide on how to get rid of mold in the basement.
When it does happen, its usually white. Untreated soil in a crawlspace, especially in rainy regions, is a breeding ground for mold.
Keep an eye out for mold or mildew growing between the floor joists in your crawl space. As well as causing additional problems, mold and mildew can also cause diseases and illnesses. As spores out from crawl space make their way into the floor area, they cause breathing problems and foul odors, affecting well-being.
Is White Mold Dangerous
While mildew and similar types of mold are less of a danger and more of a hindrance, white mold is a health hazard. Inhalation of white mold spores, especially over a long period of time, can cause mold-induced asthma, allergic fungal sinusitis, allergic bronchopulmonary aspergillosis , and hypersensitivity pneumonitis.
Lets look at the health effect of mold in greater detail:
Most white molds tend to be allergenic or pathogenic. However, regardless of the type of mold you find growing in your home, you should always consult qualified professionals about how to remove the mold toxin from your home safely and effectively.
Recommended Reading: How To Kill Mold In My Basement
How To Remove Mold From Floor Joists
- Written by Garry Steck on Nov 03, 2010To ensure our content is always up-to-date with current information, best practices, and professional advice, articles are routinely reviewed by industry experts with years of hands-on experience.Reviewed by
If you live in a humid and moist climate, it’s common for mold to form in places throughout your home, including your floor joists. This can happen not only to homes with basements, but also to those with crawl spaces. If left alone, mold in joists can eventually become such a problem that it can only be removed by professionals. The best course of action is always to remove any spores in the earliest stages of development, so follow the simple steps below to effectively get rid of all of it.
Step 1 – Mix a Solution of Water and Vinegar
In a spray bottle, mix a solution of 10 parts water and one part white vinegar or liquid bleach. Please note that if you use bleach, make sure to get a container that will allow you to pour the solution without spilling it, as it can easily damage clothes or other belongings. Wear a respirator mask and if the work area has any windows, open them to get proper ventilation while using the bleach.
Step 2 Apply the Anti-Mold Solution
Step 3 Wipe Down the Sprayed Area
Step 4 Spray Additional Applications of Your Solution
Step 5 Treating Floor Joists in Crawl Spaces
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How To Identify Mold
Identifying mold on wall studs is usually pretty straightforward, if the wall studs are exposed. If you have access to and can see the wall studs you will likely see black, green or grayish stains on the wood.
The mold may appear to be spotty and it can contain fuzz. Besides looking for the physical appearance of mold, you may also smell it. Mold has a musty, earthy or pungent smell. You may first be clued in to the existence of mold by detecting its scent.
If you think you see or smell mold, but are not completely sure, you can purchase a mold testing kit from your local hardware store or online. There are mold testing kits on the market that are specifically designed to detect the presence of mold.
Mold testing kits are easy for any homeowner to use and will help you to determine with certainty if you have a mold problem or not. You can expect to pay anywhere from $10 to $60 for these kits.
Also Check: Boat Seat Cleaner For Mildew
Removing Mold From Wood With Vinegar
When cleaning mold from wood, white distilled vinegar can be used as an effective sanitizing agent.
Vinegar is an acetic acid with pH levels ranging from 23 which is effective as sanitizing surfaces.
Frequently, vinegar is used as a cleaning agent because of its antibacterial and antifungal properties.
Vinegar may not be as powerful as other cleaners like bleach, but is a lot more safer alternative.
It doesnt release toxic fumes that can cause irritant reactions like burning eyes, coughing, and other health problems.
To use vinegar as a sanitizing agent when cleaning wood, use the following steps:
More Moldrelated content
How To Clean Mold Off Wood
The Spruce / Georgia Lloyd
The most common type of mold found in homes is mildew. Mildew is a surface mold that grows in warm, damp places like basements, laundry rooms, and shady porches. Mildew begins as a gray or white powdery colony and eventually turns black or brown. To test if the wood is covered with mildew or just dirt, dab the stain with a cotton swab dipped in household chlorine bleach. If the stain lightens or disappears after two or three minutes, it’s mildew. If not, it’s probably just dirt.
Mildew can discolor and slowly harm wood surfaces but there are much more dangerous molds that can damage the structure of your home. If a fuzzy or slimy black or green mold is visible and the drywall or wood underneath is soft or crumbles, there is irreversible rot and the damaged surfaces must be removed immediately.
Recommended Reading: Best Mildew Remover For Boat Seats
Preventing Future Mold Growth On Wood Studs
Once you have successfully tackled and removed the present mold from your studs, whether on your own or with the help of professionals, prevention of future occurrences is key.
Perhaps your number one key to prevention is ensuring that you are keeping moisture out of the walls in your home. You can also purchase mold prevention seals and sprays to coat mold prone surfaces with in an attempt to prevent the spores from attaching and growing.
Mold prevention products can be purchased at most major hardware stores or retailers. A HEPA filter is also a good investment in order to keep mold at bay and your home as healthy as possible.
Check your plumbing often to ensure that there are no leaks. Even the smallest leak can produce enough moisture to allow for mold to take hold and grow. Always use some kind of ventilation technique in your bathroom while you shower, whether it be a vent fan or an open window.
We hope that this article and these tips will help you to better understand how to get rid of mold in your your home. You can check out our website if you would like to learn more.
Help to keep your family and home safe from molds harmful side effects by taking action right away at the first sign of mold growth.
Other Mold Prevention Methods
Your first plan of attack is always preventing growth in the first place. To do this, you need to find out what is causing the moisture in your crawl space.
Check your dirt and your pipes. If your pipe is leaking, fix it. If the issues seem to be the dirt, you can place a dehumidifier or moisture absorber in your crawl space.
Here are a few other methods to help you prevent moisture in your crawl space:
- Add a plastic vapor barrier.
- Seal up your vents
- Protect your crawlspace from outdoor elements by building a barrier around your house.
- Think about installing insulation under the floor.
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White Mold On Furniture
In moist conditions, white mold can grow on wood, upholstered, and leather furniture. Over time, the mold fungus can lower the furnitures value and make it give off an awful, musty smell. However, you should detect the factors stimulating this growth so you can protect your family against dangerous allergens.
First, it could be due to the furniture being enclosed, damp storage for a long time before taking it out. But if a piece of furniture suddenly starts to grow white mold, examine the surrounding areas that may likely introduce moisture to the furniture.
When floorboards, windows, and ceilings have cracks and leaks, they can turn furniture humid. These thus encourage white mold to start growing on the piece of furniture.
Monitor The Affected Area Over Time
Once youve found mold and had it taken care of, whether on your own or by a professional, keep an eye on the area to make sure it doesnt grow back if it does, the moisture issue was not resolved properly and will need to be redone. If you did it on your own and see it grow back, youd do best to hire a professional to take it on the second time.
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How Do You Get Rid Of Mold With Vinegar
You should assess the intensity of the mold growth before attempting any cleaning. Substantial growth will call for cleaners to get rid of the mold. However, for a small mold problem, you may consider it as a simple DIY task using white vinegar.
- Step 1: Protect yourselfEnsure that you have white vinegar in your home. Wear protective clothing to cover your hands to avoid prolonged exposure to vinegar. Cover your mouth, eyes, and nose as well to avoid breathing in the mold spores.
- Step 2: Fill a Spray Bottle with VinegarFind a spray bottle and fill it up with the white vinegar. Use concentrated vinegar as mold can be a resisting force. Also, ensure that you have an adequate amount of white vinegar to spray on the surface that requires cleaning.
- Step 3: Spray the Vinegar on Affected AreasSpray the affected area thoroughly with vinegar. Ensure that the area is well covered with vinegar. If you dont have a spray bottle, you can use a wet cloth soaked in vinegar to scrub the affected area.
- Step 4: Allow the Vinegar to SoakIt takes a little time for the vinegar to absorb and break the mold. Thus, you can let it sit for about an hour before you begin scrubbing.
- Step 5: Scrub the Mold AwayUse a brush with warm water to scrub off the mold. The scrub brush will make it easier to break the mold. Use an appropriate brush size to clean the area. Rinse and wipe the affected area with warm water. If the mold persists, you can repeat the processes or hire a professional.
What Does White Mold Look Like
White molds can either remain white or change to green, black, grey, or practically any other colour over time.
When they first develop, white molds are very hard to detect since the spores are so tiny that they can only be seen under a microscope. Once colonies form, however, white molds appear as spots on a surface. They can be flaky, powdery, stringy or filmy at first glance. They can also resemble mildew, which is the early stages of mold. However, mildew is relatively harmless when compared to white mold, which can grow not just on surfaces but also deep within organic materials.
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What Causes Mold On Wood These 2 Things
Mold can be found growing on virtually any surface, that is, if it has a food source, enough moisture, and the ideal conditions
Cellulose-based materials like wood provide the perfect source of nutrients to promote mold growth.
How does this happen?
1. Moisture Content of Wood
First, lets look at the moisture content of wood. The Moisture Content of wood is the total amount of water present in the material.
In general, the moisture content of wood depending on the species generally falls between 8% to 19% by weight.
When a contractor uses wood to build your home, the ideal moisture content should be around 14%.
When the moisture content of wood gets to the 20% range and higher, significant mold growth will begin to occur in several days.
No matter where you are or where you live, youre exposed to mold spores.
When mold spores are floating around in the air land on a wet piece of wood, lumber or any material that it can break down and digest, guess what?
The spores will begin to germinate and grow on the surface of that material.
So, a piece of wood, furniture or other cellulose-based material that gets wet and is not dried within 24-48 hours provides the ideal habitat for mold to grow a rapid pace.
To illustrate this, take for example a recent natural disaster, Hurricane Michael, that occurred in Florida.
This storm caused storm surges which flooded many homes along the FL panhandle.
Mold can grow on wood because of:
2. High Humidity Levels
How Do I Get Rid Of Mold On Floor Joists
Youve probably realized that cleaning mold out of a building is a physically demanding task. As a result, energy and, most critically, you need time to finish the job.
The removal process, on the other hand, is potentially hazardous to your health. As a result, you will require protective gear and other cleaning materials.
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How To Remove Mold From Wood
Mold commonly grows on wooden surfaces, as wood is very good at absorbing water. Add to this moisture warm temperatures and mold spores , and its the perfect storm for a mold infestation. Read our guide to learn how to easily remove mold from wood.
The good news is that if the affected area is no larger than ten square feet and you arent dealing with toxic black mold, you can eliminate the mold yourself using everyday household cleaners. But dont delayholding off on this project will give the mold colony a chance to expand, and prolonged exposure can be bad for your health.
What if youre dealing with black mold? It can be difficult to distinguish toxic black mold from other species that are black in color, so its best to call in a professional in this situation. Toxic black mold is particularly harmful when inhaled, so you shouldnt touch it.
Can Mold In Your Crawl Space Make You Sick
Yes! Mold in your crawl space can make you sick. This is why its so important to remove it as well as prevent it.
Mold is dangerous to humans, as well as animals. Since wood is a porous surface, the fungus will eventually penetrate it. You want to take all measures possible to eradicate it. If you cannot do this yourself, try asking a friend or family member to help you.
If you have mold in your crawl space and are experiencing any chronic issues such as:
- Sore throat
These are signs of a mold allergy. You will need to remove the mold as soon as possible.
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