The Top Ten Places Common for Mold Growth
Did you know that there may be hidden mold in your house and not even realize it’s there? Most people think that mold is black area growing on the wall and some of the time this is true. However, more often than not mold growth occurs from dark hidden areas that you are not seeing on a day-to-day basis. Hidden mold is the most difficult because it causes the most damage to property and to the health of the home’s occupants, due to not being discovered for some time. There continues to be growing research and findings that prove significant health problems are being linked to mold growth & exposure. And the longer we are exposed to mold, the more effect it has on our bodies. Under the guidance of a trained professional, however, we can know where to look and help minimize the risk to your property and to your family’s health. As you continue to read this article, it is important to remember a very important FACT: “BLEACH DOES NOT KILL MOLD“!
Here are the Top 10 Places to Look for Hidden Mold in Your Home:
Because of the high moisture environment of a bathroom, caused by steamy showers and exposure to all types of water, this makes bathrooms your top risk area for mold growth. Poor ventilation in a bathroom is the leading cause of mold growth in bathrooms. Without proper ventilation, the bathroom’s moisture has no way to dissipate quickly, causing porous materials like drywall to absorb the moisture. Remember, MOISTURE + MATERIALS + TIME = MOLD. Mold in bathrooms usually starts on the ceiling due to hot steam from showers rising due to the heat. However, mold in bathrooms can also be found in hidden places like behind mirrors and cabinets, under flooring and tile due to water damage and more. The number one priority in preventing mold in a bathroom is to have proper ventilation through an efficiently exhausted fan.
Basements are known for mold growth, especially in the Kansas City metro area, due to the frequent ground shifting of our region that causes basement leaks and ongoing water damage problems. Added to this vulnerable area, is that basements are often out-of-sight-out-of-mind and are not used on a daily basis. Some basements are left closed up and dark the majority of the time, causing a prime breeding ground for mold growth! Also, it is common in the Kansas City are for the home’s mechanical room to also be located in the basement. This causes an increased health risk to the home occupants, as any mold in the basement can be easily circulated in the ventilation system of the home, causing illness to many members of the family! Due to these conditions, basement mold is often the more dangerous mold type called “Stachybotrys” often referred to as “black mold“! If your basement has mold, then this is one time that you do not want to attempt a DIY project without first consulting a mold professional. We recommend using a remote humidity monitor to help prevent mold in your basement. These monitors will alert you if water damage has caused the humidity level to be elevated.
Carpet mold is actually a very common problem. We see this many times during the rainy seasons when lots of home’s are having water leaks. In homeowner’s attempts to cut expenses, many times the will attempt to remove the water themselves. Thinking that the surface water that is visible is the only are of concern. However, removing the surface water is only the first step in a multi-step process that water damage restoration companies follow to prevent mold growth. Water is easily absorbed in the carpet pad, tack strips, behind baseboards and the carpet itself. If these items are not carefully removed and properly dried to the recommended length of time than mold starts to grow. If you find yourself in a situation where you have carpet mold, it is best to consult with a mold professional to eliminate any risk of causing mold spores to become airborne in the examination process.
4.Mold on Concrete
Yes, mold can grow on concrete. One of the many myths about mold growth is that it cannot grow on non-porous surfaces like concrete. However, what must be considered is that mold needs an “organic food source” to grow. Even though concrete in-of-itself is not an appropriate food source for mold, the dust that easily accumulates to concrete is. With the addition of moisture, even concrete can provide the ingredients needed for mold to grow. Removing mold from concrete is thankfully a much easier process than other surfaces. However, the EPA still recommends a professional assessment if the molded area is greater than 10 square feet. This limitation may seem overkill, however, you must understand the volatile and powdery substance of mold and how easily the spores can become airborne and circulated throughout the home.
The best place for mold to hide is inside our walls! Inside wall cavities are the number one area hidden mold is found! All types of wall materials easily hide the presence of mold growth. We have seen many times where mold was not visible when looking at a wall. However, upon further examination of pulling back baseboards, wallpaper, paneling or trim we can quickly find large amounts of mold that have been growing and thriving in the dark and damp recesses of our walls. If you suspect that you may have mold growing in your wall cavities, it is best to inquire of a mold professional who can look for indications of the mold through non-intrusive methods with specialized equipment that allows the professional to see as much of the damage as possible without causing any unnecessary damage.
Mold loves drywall!Drywall is made, with thick sheets of paper on each side covering the gypsum plaster. The paper material makes drywall the number one food source of mold! We discard more drywall materials due to mold damage that any other type. Drywall also easily absorbs moisture and the back side is closed off to ventilation, creating a dark and damp atmosphere with an easy food source for hidden mold to grow rapidly. We have seen mold grow over five times it original size in as little as 2 months, due to the prime conditions that moisture filled drywall produces for mold growth.
Ceiling mold is more common than you might imagine. The most obvious place you would find mold on a ceiling is in a poorly vented bathroom. However, we have done a number of jobs where mold was on the ceiling due to elevated humidity levels in the home caused by misfunctioning whole house humidifier, roof leaks, leaky skylights and more. Ceiling mold removal can be more complicated, especially in tall vaulted ceilings due to the amount of scaffolding needed to access the mold. Depending on the circumstances, there are times when a mold sealer and eradicator can be applied without the need for removing materials. The course of remediation needs to be assessed and determined by a certified mold professional.
We often see mold around windows due to the window opening be a weak point for outside moisture to enter the home. This is primarily caused by windows that are poorly installed with improper flashing or caulking. Also with the common ground shifting in the Kansas City metro area, windows in the basement are particularly vulnerable, as cracking of the foundation around windows is common. To prevent mold, having a professional contractor look at your home windows to ensure flashing is installed correctly. Also, the condition of the caulking should be carefully looked at and replace as needed. We highly recommend caulking around the window opening on the interior of the home as well. Taking these steps not only ensures a water tight seal but also provides greater home efficiency. Sealing windows from air flow is a primary step we recommend for homeowners desiring to better insulate their homes and improve their overall energy efficiency.
Attics can be dark and musty which make it a great place for mold to grow. Since we often don’t go into our attics, this provides the time needed for mold to grow if humidity is introduced from improper or clogged venting, roof leaks, pipe breaks, and more. During the winter time, ice dams also are a leading cause of water damage and mold damage to attics. In addition to inspecting and remediating any mold in your attic, our professionals are able to properly insulate your attic for top Energy Star ratings. Our certified professionals will be able to help you with accessing the humidity, air flow and proper ventilation for your attic. At times, a sprayed on mold sealer and eradicator can be used for attic rafters. You will need a certified professional to provide you the recommendations necessary to properly remediation and prevent mold in your attic.
Another place where moisture and condensation can be found in our homes is our kitchen. In the kitchen, we often find mold behind kitchen cabinets, under sinks, around dishwashers and refrigerators and even under flooring. Due to the sanitary needs of a kitchen, it is recommended to never attempt a DIY mold removal by anyone untrained in proper mold removal. Trapped moisture is the leading cause of mold in kitchens. Mold often forms behind kitchen cabinets when water damage has occurred above the kitchen from either another floor or roof problems. Most often floor damage is caused from appliance leaks that have persisted for some time.
If you think you may have visible or hidden mold in any of these areas of your home, we highly recommended you contact us for a free no obligation estimate. At that time, we recommend any testing or mold remediation if needed. At FreshStart Restoration, you will receive award winning customer service and quality care. Don’t let mold damage affect your home or your family’s health!