Unfortunately for many property owners, mold is extremely common. It can grow anywhere within the home, as long as there is an organic food and moisture source present. While it is recommended to contact a professional mold removal company for safety reasons, small areas can be treated before the fungus spreads further.
When finding mold on your wood floors, it is important to ensure that the area is small and you have the right equipment before tackling the fungus. Specific areas of the home should also be treated differently due to the type of building material. But here you can take these steps on how to remove mold from wood flooring and even ensure that the fungus will not return in the future.
Removing Mold from Wood Floors – What is Needed
- Safety glasses
- Breathing mask
- 100, 200, and 250-grit sandpaper
- Washable clothing and shoes
- Spray bottle
- Chlorine bleach solution (10:1 ratio or 8:1 of chlorine/bleach, depending on how far mold has penetrated)
- Micro-fiber washcloth
- Wood flooring finish
- Poly-urethan finish (optional)
- Heavy-duty garbage bag
How to Remove Surface Mold from Wood Floors
As long as the mold only covers a few square feet or less on your wood floors, you can remove it yourself; otherwise, do not hesitate to contact a professional mold remediation specialist. They will have the products necessary to completely remove the mold when it has spread to cover large areas.
Wear Personal Protection Gear When Removing Mold
The first step all professionals take in mold remediation is wearing proper protection equipment to avoid any negative health effects. This includes sneezing, coughing, itchy and watery eyes, breathing problems, etc. Wearing eye glasses, a breathing mask, gloves, and washable clothing will protect you from any harmful spores it releases during the cleaning process.
Choose Appropriate Mold and Mildew Cleaner
Choosing the appropriate cleaner is the next most important step in the remediation process because you will want to apply a chemical that will remove the fungus completely, not just irritate. For surface mold, you can use a chlorine bleach solution with a 10:1 water/bleach ratio from your local hardware store.
How to Clean Surface Mold from Wood Floors
While surface mold is not difficult to clean, it is crucial to ensure that all affected areas are cleaned properly to ensure that the fungus does not return in the future. When applying the cleaning solution, spray the bleach cleaner directly on the affected surface, allowing it to sit for 10 minutes. Afterwards, wipe the mold away with an old rag and throw it away when you are done.
If the mold is still present, you can use a scrub brush with strong bristles to remove the stubborn stains. Just remember throughout the process to avoid rubbing the cleaner into unaffected areas of the wood as it will ruin the finish. Finally, you will want to make sure that all of the solution is rinsed properly before moving onto the next step as it will compromise the finish after it is applied.
How to Clean Deeply Penetrated Mold from Wood Floors
When mold has penetrated deep within the wood floors, it was most likely caused by water damage that was unnoticed or untreated for a long period of time. If you notice any other water damage within your home, it is important to have it treated by a water damage restoration professional, or else you will be dealing with another mold problem in the future.
Determine How Far the Mold has Penetrated
For building materials such as wood floors, mold has the ability to penetrate deep within the surface that extends beyond visibility. But to determine exactly how far it has spread, press into the affected area with a screwdriver. If the wood is soft and spongy, it has spread below the floorboards, which will require replacing the board itself. Follow the listed steps below to learn how to remove mold that has penetrated through wood floors.
Dry Out the Affected Area with Fans and Heaters
The first step in removing mold is removing its source: the moisture. Set up a room fan or turn on the overhead fan or furnace to allow air to flow through the area and evaporate the moisture. Just be sure to not place them directly in front of the mold as it will only irritate the fungus more. Allow them to run for 3 – 5 hours.
- Keep in mind that increased air flow will prevent future mold growth.
- Do not begin cleaning the area until it is completely dry.
Wear Protection Equipment During the Process
Because the fans will be blowing around the air, the mold will release spores to affect other areas. These spores are what will trigger allergies and breathing problems if you are not wearing eyewear or a breathing mask. Make sure you are properly protected.
You can also open all windows and doors to ventilate the spores out of the area.
Remove Surface Area of Mold from Wood Floor
After the mold is completely dry, use 100-grit sandpaper to scrape in circular motions to remove the surface mold. Then use 200-grit to scrape away the fungus that has penetrated deeper within the wood. For the most stubborn areas, you can use a metal spackle blade to have all mold in the deepest areas removed. Finally, when you are done, smooth out the area using 200 or 250-grit sandpaper.
Apply Chlorine Bleach to Affected Area
As soon as the affected area is completely smooth, spray it with an 8:1 ratio of chlorine/bleach solution and allow it to sit for a few minutes. You can then use an old rag to wipe up the cleaner, fully removing any live mold still present.
- Keep in mind that mold can still be alive even though it looks like all areas have been cleaned.
- The cleaning solution will remove all leftover spores and prevent future mold growth.
Cut Out Wood Flooring Affected by Mold
If the mold has penetrated through the wood flooring to affect the baseboards, the building material is most likely not able to be restored. It will need to be removed using a utility knife.
Cut carefully around the affected area, disposing the affected materials into a garbage bag right away. Then throw the bag away as soon as you are done. You will then need to replace the floorboards.
Apply the Finish to the Wood Flooring
After all of the affected area has been completely removed and the new flooring has been installed, it will need a coat of wood finish that matches the original. If you can’t find an exact match, use the lighter shade so you can darken it later. You can also add a coat of polyurethane finish for extra protection.
Dispose of All Tools and Materials
Because of the amount of bacteria and spores on the old flooring, and now they have contaminated your tools, it is best to throw them in a heavy-duty garbage bag and dispose of them right away. This is another step that is important in avoiding mold in the future. Be sure to use a wet/dry vacuum to clean up all of the remains.
Now you should have brand-new flooring that is no longer at risk for future mold growth. In addition, you and your family should no longer have to worry about experiencing severe allergic reactions nor respiratory issues.
Professional Mold Remediation
While all mold growth cases will differ for every property owner, it can be difficult to determine if the remediation can be done as a DIY project or a professional should be hired. If you have found yourself in this situation, assess the issue accordingly. If the mold has spread to multiple areas throughout the property, you do not have all tools, equipment, or time to do it yourself, or the mold just seems to always come back, a professional mold removal specialist should be contacted.
If any of the above describes your problem, contact ServiceMaster, a restoration company that specializes in mold removal. Their technicians will address the situation right away as they know that mold has the ability to spread quickly when left untreated. They will first inspect all affected areas, apply professional products to remove the fungus at its source, and secure the areas to avoid growth in the future. With these experts, you can be sure that your home and family will be completely rid of the fungus and not have to worry about it returning in the future.