Like frizzy, untamed hair, mold thrives in humid conditions. The link between moisture levels and mold is a strong one – and one we should pay attention to if we want to maintain a mold-free home. As weather patterns and seasons come and go, it is important to keep track of the humidity levels within our home walls in order to preserve a healthy dwelling.
Dealing with a mold problem in your home can be a daunting and scary experience. It is hard to know what to do first in situations that seem overwhelming. However, it is important to tackle a mold issue right away, so that it does not become worse and even more daunting of a problem. So what do you do if you have mold in your crawl space? This article will aim to help you break down the process and guide you in making decisions about your home and mold issues in your crawl space.
Like carpet comes in many colors, shapes and sizes, so, too does mold, and our fungal foe thrives off the woven fabric that provides warmth, comfort and a final finish to the room it adorns. Yet it can be difficult to detect carpet mold as it flourishes beneath the surface. So, what can be done about it? Here’s all you need to know:
On first thoughts, you might think that wallpaper and bathrooms are mutually exclusive. How would one, after all, reconcile the notion that one of the most vulnerable rooms in the house to mold is also often wrapped up in paper? Surely that’s asking for a whole load of water-based, excess moisture, sodden-wall trouble?
And yet, for some, wallpaper is still a preference when it comes to decorating bathrooms. So, what’s going on?
When a hurricane or bad storm parks itself above your hometown and dumps several feet of water on your home, there isn’t a whole lot you can do to prevent flooding in your home. However, many homes flood every year from milder storms and many of those floods could have been prevented. In addition to the loss of personal property and the expenses of repairing your home, water damage can leave behind mold and other health hazards.
Here are 9 things you can do in advance as a homeowner to prevent flooding and water damage in your home.
Mold in the Winter
As the cool weather blows in and we pack up our bathing suits until next year, our minds tend to turn to snowball fights and Christmas trees. Winter is a great season where we enjoy family and friends, hot cocoa and mold. Wait? Mold?!?
The cold, wet months of winter are some of the most opportunistic times for mold growth. Luckily there are some steps you can take in advance to prevent mold growth in your home throughout the winter season.
Hurricanes, Rain, and Mold
What happens to a city when a storm system dumps an entire year’s worth of rain in just 3 days? In late August of 2017, Hurricane Harvey devastated the city of Houston, Tx and surrounding areas. The storm left 33 trillion gallons of water on U.S. soil before finally weakening. As you can imagine, the flooding experienced in Houston was intense. Many lives were lost. Homes were ripped apart, bridges collapsed and dams gave way. Even though the hurricane is now in the rear-view mirror, the health catastrophe continues to unfold in slow motion. While the focus of the news was on the shear amount of rainfall in the city (upwards of 50 inches in some locations), mold will be an issue for months and potentially years to come.
So, the question remains: after the wrath of a big storm has passed, what should a homeowner or renter do to keep mold from growing in their homes? Here are the essential steps to consider after your home has been flooded.
Mold in Basements: Mold Symptoms
Mold in the basement can be a major problem and can seriously worry you. Mold can easily grow in the basement of your house or apartment building, especially in old buildings. This can create a very unhealthy living environment. How can you recognize the existence of basement mold?
A Future of Mold
The aftermath of any flooding or water damage catastrophe can mean harmful mold consequences for years to come. The scale of the flooding in Houston Texas reveals the grim reality of a huge and destructive mold issue on the horizon as citizens work towards moving back to their homes and try to return to life after hurricane Harvey.
A Destroying Fungus
Wood is a very hard-wearing material and is resistant to most kinds of fungi or biological attack. However, when it’s subject to prolonged damp or wet conditions and the moisture content is raised to above 20%, it can be susceptible to the dry rot fungus. This wood-rotting fungus breaks down the cells in wood and causes it to lose its strength.
Today most homes and buildings are well designed and professionally constructed and if they’re also maintained properly the fungus that is dry rot should not develop in any of the timbers. However, the hidden wooden timbers in a home or building can be subject to prolonged exposure to moisture that we don’t know about and it’s here that serious problems can result.
If you have found mold in your home, you are most likely wondering how much you can expect to pay to get rid of it. Of course, mold is a serious condition and must be remedied right away. You’ll want to take immediate steps to identify and remove the mold while also fixing the source of moisture that led to the environment which allowed mold growth.
When you are deciding whether to take care of the mold yourself or call in a professional, consider these questions.
How much mold is in your home?
How deep has the mold gone? It can be difficult to assess how much the mold has grown beyond what you can see without a proper mold inspection, especially if it is hidden deep into walls or cracks and crevices. Surface mold is much easier to deal with and contain. There are many sprays and soaps that are made to kill and remove mold. Many homeowners may even be proficient enough to replace drywall and insulation on their own. The real problem arises when the mold has gone airborne or has gotten into several structural elements of the home. And sometimes it can be difficult to know how far the mold has traveled.
What caused the mold?
It is greatly beneficial to determine the source of the moisture that caused the mold when determining whether or not you should perform your own mold remediation. Obviously, the source of moisture must be remedied as well as the mold. Knowing the source of moisture may also help you determine how much mold is present, especially if you know how long the moisture has been an issue. For example, you may know that your roof started leaking from a small hole a month ago which may help you determine how much mold is present and how deep it has grown. Perhaps you had a flood or other known source of water into your home.
Again, the problem arises when there are unknowns. Even if you find the source of the moisture, can you be certain on the length of time exposed and how deep the moisture has traveled? If you are uncertain, it is best to call in the pros.
The health and safety of your family is much more important than the price you’ll have to pay to remove the mold, but this guide will help you if you need to get a bid.
If the area is a small one, you can remove the mold yourself with just a few dollars worth of cleaning supplies. If you’re concerned about breathing the spores, you can get a respirator, which will cost from around $25 for a simple over the mouth and nose version, to around $150 for a full face professional level unit. If you’re unsure if you need a respirator there are 7 ways to know if a mold is dangerous. For large infestations, it’s time to call in the pros.
If you have a wet and moldy basement that may be due to a number of issues such as broken water pipes, spills, cracks in the foundations letting water in and more. This could become a threat to your health and your home, so you will need to do what you can to prevent it from growing. The following steps should be undertaken if you want to take control of the situation and save your basement before its too late:
Whether it’s a strictly utilitarian space or a carefully decorated and designed oasis where you unwind in a bath after a long day, your bathroom is one of the most important rooms in your home. What you may not realize, however, is that it can also be one of the most dangerous. There are several things that can pose safety risks in your bathroom, and most homeowners aren’t even aware of the hazard. These are ten of the most common hidden dangers present in bathrooms, and ways that you can restore your restroom to a relative level of safety. Read More
A properly installed vent fan is an essential weapon against bathroom mold.
Most people understand that mold likes moisture. That’s why bathrooms are so vulnerable to mold. Water that gets onto the bathroom floor after showering or bathing is an obvious concern. But waterproof flooring materials like ceramic tile or sheet vinyl do a good job of minimizing the mold potential of water that gets on the floor. Of greater concern is moisture in the air –moisture that can permeate wall and ceiling materials because of poor bathroom ventilation.
Anyone who’s had water damage in his home or business probably knows there may be more to the story than just letting it dry naturally. If water damage isn’t dried out and treated properly, mold and mildew (a definitive guide to Black Mold) can become a big problem. If it’s your first time facing water damage from a flood, a burst pipe, or another reason, you might be at a little bit of a loss when it comes to what steps to take, how soon, and in what order.
Depending on the extent of the water damage, you may be able to take care of it yourself. Small water problems call for basic do-it-yourself tips, (3 must know tips for do-it-yourself mold removal) like drying out the area and using products that are specifically designed to destroy mildew. Fans directed at the wet area can help it dry quickly and efficiently. So can running the heater in the house, because it dries out the air. You can also try using a hair dryer on the area if it’s a small space, so you can dry out the carpet, baseboard, or drywall.
There are products designed for protecting an area from mold and mildew, as well, including sprays and paints. Even if you dry out the area thoroughly, you’ll still want to consider using one of those products to make sure you don’t let mold start to develop.
Repainting the area with a mold-stopping paint can be a good plan, depending on the size of the area. You can always do that, allow it to dry, and repaint over that with a color that matches the room. For very small areas, or for treating carpeting and soft furniture, there are anti-mold sprays that can be purchased and used to stop mildew growth.
Hire a Professional
If these things aren’t enough, they don’t seem to do the job, or the area is very large – such as your house getting flooded – it may be in your best interest to hire a professional restorer. A mold remediation specialist (How to Choose a Mold Remediator) can make sure that any problems are resolved before they get started, or can treat them once they develop. It’s better to catch mold problems early, but a professional can treat advanced issues, as well.
What to look for and where you should go when locating a mold remediation specialist is similar to finding any kind of worker for your home. Make sure you find someone who’s insured, and who’s properly licensed. If they make a mistake, you’ll be compensated. All reputable companies will meet these requirements.
You should also get some estimates. Just because two or three companies perform the same service doesn’t mean they all charge the same price. You don’t want to end up paying too much when you could’ve gotten the same quality for hundreds or thousands less. Ask questions of the people who you’re considering working with.
Make sure you understand the process they’ll be going through, what it means for you and your family, and whether you’ll have to stay somewhere else while the work is being done. The mold damage might’ve been a surprise, but the remediation process doesn’t have to be.