Almost all homeowners are familiar with mold, its common causes, and the property damage and health effects it can cause. Mold can affect all types of building materials in just about every area of the home but what many people do not realize is that mold affects each type of building material differently. Some building materials are more susceptible to mold than others and the best mold removal methods to use may differ depending on the type of materials. This article discusses the effects of mold on common household materials as well as methods on how to remove and prevent mold growth on these various surfaces.
Mold on Wood
Wood is a very common building material that is used for the structural elements of a home as well as furniture and other features, and it is also very vulnerable to mold growth. Mold requires moisture and an organic food source to thrive and wood acts as both a food source and moisture source due to its ability to absorb water. If given enough time, mold will eventually destroy wood surfaces because it devours the nutrients on the surface but it is possible to salvage wood that has been contaminated with mold. Removing mold from wood may be as simple as using a mold killing solution and making sure the wood is thoroughly dried out. If the mold on the wood surface is too extensive to be removed this way, it is best to call a mold remediation professional.
Mold on Concrete
Concrete is not an organic material like wood so the concrete itself does not act as a food source for mold. However, concrete walls and surfaces can trap organic materials such as dust and dirt which do provide a food source for mold, and it is also porous so it can provide mold growth with a moisture source. The problem with concrete is that it absorbs moisture so slowly that it can have water damage for a significant period of time before it becomes apparent. If you notice mold growing on a concrete surface in your home, you can remove it by scrubbing the area with a mold killing solution and removing the organic materials from the surface that acted as a food source. Keeping the concrete dry is the biggest key to preventing mold so make sure to routinely check concrete surfaces in high moisture areas such as the basement and crawlspace.
Mold on Insulation
All types of insulation, with the exception of closed-cell spray foam, are porous which means they can absorb water and trap dirt and dust that can provide a food source for mold. If your insulation becomes moldy, it is best to throw it away and replace it with new insulation. You must make sure that the area surrounding the insulation is completely dry before installing the new insulation to prevent the mold from returning. You can also replace your insulation with closed-cell spray foam so you no longer have to worry about porous insulation getting contaminated with mold.
Mold on Drywall
Much like insulation, drywall is a very porous surface and once mold starts to grow on drywall, it cannot be removed. Drywall that is contaminated by mold must be cut out and removed so that it can be replaced by new drywall. There are moisture and mold resistant drywall materials available but this just means that they have a lower risk of being contaminated by mold growth. No drywall option is completely “mold proof.”
Mold on Carpet
One of the most common spots for hidden mold is under permanent carpeting because moisture and liquids from spills and flooding get absorbed into the carpet and end up underneath it. Carpets also trap dirt, dust, and other organic debris that can provide a food source for mold spores. Once mold starts growing underneath a carpet, it is virtually impossible to remove it completely and you may also be deceived into thinking that your carpet is dry enough to avoid mold growth while the padding underneath is wet. The best way to prevent mold in your carpeting is to keep it dry and react quickly to any spills before they get too deeply absorbed. If the mold problem under your carpet is extensive, you should contact a professional to remove the carpeting.
Mold growth in a home can have dire consequences such as destruction of property and health issues but it effects each type of building material differently. If you discover mold growing in your home, make sure you take the appropriate actions depending on what type of surface is affected. Large infestations can make mold removal difficult and dangerous for those who are not experienced or trained to remove it so call a mold remediation professional if the scope of the contamination is beyond what you can realistically handle.