What do you do when mold threatens the structure and safety of your home? You may ask yourself how mold, in its tiny minuteness, could ever affect your homes structural integrity or safety. One word: “reproduction.” When people use the term “spreading” while referencing mold, they are actually explaining molds inexhaustible tenacity to reproduce itself and consume every molecule of cellulosic fiber in its path. This is fine in your friendly nearby forest, but not so good when it’s happening to the 2×4’s that make up the main structural components of your house. Mold softens and consumes the lumber holding your home together. Even worse than this degradation of structure, one also needs to find a way to deal with how the spores, used by mold for reproduction, travel both along the surfaces themselves and through the air.
Mold colonies, as they grow in size, can produce millions upon billions of spores that detach from the colony and travel via heat convection. Once airborne they are transported by your HVAC system throughout your home. As they fall upon the surfaces within your home they begin to grow anew and build another colony anywhere that moisture, pH, and cellulose come together to fit their feeding and reproductive needs. Cellulose isn’t something that solely exists in the lumber making up the structure of your home. It also exists in most furniture, the gypsum board used in your walls, in certain types of paints and textiles, paper products, and some greases. You can find mold in any of these places, and often times their discovery means you need to remove the colony completely. Getting rid of it in its entirety usually requires throwing away a favorite chair or completely “gutting” rooms. These loses are minor when you consider how mold spores can negatively affect the health and wellbeing of people. When exposed to mold spores, some may not experience a thing, but in most instances, you and your loved ones will be affected in unpleasant ways.
Mold spores are known to cause anything from sneezing and minor headaches to full blown asthma attacks, and in some cases, serious cardiopulmonary problems. A dangerous and relatively common mold found on home surfaces regularly exposed to moisture is Stachybotrys chartarum. It is a black mold usually found in basements after water damage occurs or humidity remains high over a long period of time. Sometimes this mold can be found in the bathroom as well, but usually only grows there when ventilation is non-existent.
If you notice high levels of moisture in your basement, be sure to use a dehumidifier to bring the moisture down to acceptable levels, usually about 55% or less. If water enters your basement after a rainstorm, be sure to remove it immediately and dry out all the cellulosic surfaces via, again, dehumidification. Does your bathroom atmosphere resemble a steamy tropical rain forest after you soak in the tub or take a shower? If so, keep the door open afterwards until moisture levels drop, or open the bathroom window to help moisture escape.
If you are not able to quickly remove moisture or water from surfaces in your home it is recommended you get a professional opinion and analysis of the problem. You may need surfaces treated with fungicides or other chemicals to stop and/or prevent mold growth. In the most invasive case you may need a complete tear out and replacement of your homes structures and surfaces along with the fungicide and chemical treatments. It sounds a little scary to think about, but any way you look at it, moisture and mold problems really need to be addressed sooner rather than later as both the health of your family and the value of your home are at risk.
If you’re finding yourself in a situation of high moisture levels that you can’t get under control, or mold growth that is quickly getting out of hand, be sure to reach out to a professional water damage repair or mold remediation company in your area. They will have the most experience with the greatest amount of resources at their disposal to resolve any threat to your home and/or family. Finally, if you fear that major repairs may be in order, get a hold of your homeowners insurance carrier as often times they cover such damage.