Did you know that Florida ranks as the second-worst state for mold growth in residential properties (Texas is #1)? While some of that has to do with climate and poor house ventilation, it’s also a result of the greenhouse effect caused by newer homes being built to meet modern energy-efficiency needs. Whatever the cause, when mold strikes inside your home, it can cause hefty damage to your house and your health.
In this post, we’re taking a look at the three top places mold damage strikes most often and the steps you can take to prevent it from spreading, including investing in mold remediation and restoration services from Central Florida Restoration Solutions.
What Causes Mold Inside a House?
Anything from roof and foundation leaks to an overflowing washer and high interior humidity can cause a moisture buildup that causes mold inside a house.
There are thousands of types of mold, but they all have two things in common:
- Their unrelenting mission to digest the organic world around them.
- The need for moisture for their digestive enzymes to work.
Molds are neither plants nor animals. Instead, they’re a type of fungus made up of microscopic organisms containing enzymes and spores responsible for digesting and decomposing and in charge of reproduction, respectively.
The thing to know about mold is that it isn’t all bad. Without it, we wouldn’t have cheese or penicillin, and toppled trees and fallen fruits and vegetables wouldn’t decompose. Problems occur when mold goes to work on things we don’t want it to touch, affecting the smell, look, and structural integrity of our homes.
Every house has the essential ingredients needed for mold growth, including warmth, oxygen, darkness, and a surface for mold to grow on. Add in moisture from a flood, high humidity levels, or a leaky pipe, and the mold spores that naturally exist inside can start to become a problem. Knowing the most frequent areas in the home where mold damage occurs can help you prevent and treat it before it becomes a bigger issue.
Where Mold Damage Strikes Most Often
Mold and mildew need only a damp environment and organic material to establish themselves and thrive. Drywall backing, insulation, carpet backing, wallpaper, household dust, and wood products are common organic materials mold loves.
Mold damage is diverse and widespread and can affect:
- Walls, where it leaves white spiderweb-like growths or clusters of tiny black specks.
- The air you breathe, creating a smell often referred to as “musty.”
- Stairs and floors that become slippery and dangerous to walk on.
Though molds rarely rot wood or do structural damage, they can wreak plenty of havoc that leads to other fungi stepping in.
There’s no overemphasizing the fact that mold needs moisture to establish itself, grow, and reproduce. So when it comes to solving a mold problem at your Central Florida home, you must also conquer whatever’s causing moisture problems.
If your home has mold damage arising from flooding, sewage backup, a roof leak, a damp crawlspace, overflowing sinks or tub, or high humidity caused by humidifiers and dryer vents, mold can start to develop within 24 to 48 hours. And it will continue to grow and spread until steps are taken to eliminate the source of moisture and eliminate all the mold.
Here are the three customary areas mold frequently grows in a moisture-rich house.
Poorly ventilated bathrooms are the most common locations for mold growth and structural damage, as mold loves a bathroom’s moist and warm environment. Bathroom mold is easy to detect when it appears on a tile. Unfortunately, there are other places you could find it, too.
- Shower curtains, bath products bottles, faucets, loofahs, and showerheads are just some of the surfaces mold can attach itself to.
- Sinks and toilets that are left to “air dry” often have standing water that attracts mold. From there, it can spread to soap dishes, toothbrush caddies, and cleaning products stored in the vanity. Toilet tanks and the narrow space behind the toilet are also popular breeding grounds for mold.
- When a toilet overflows or a pipe leaks in the bathroom, it can cause mold to grow quickly on floors and in walls. Regular use of a ventilation fan during showers and baths or opening a window clears out humidity and helps keep mold at bay.
Keep in mind that if a toilet overflows due to a sewage backup, you could experience what’s known as “Category 3 black water,” which contains raw sewage, bacteria, fungus, and other microorganisms which can have severe health risks. Instead of trying to remove this dangerous water yourself, call in a professional who has the proper gear and expertise to get the job done safely.
Kitchens and Laundry Rooms
We’ve all seen the mold that grows on weeks-old leftovers and dirty dishes piled in the sink. Steam from pots and pans or running hot water increases a kitchen’s humidity levels and causes mold to grow and spread rapidly. Look for kitchen mold:
- In, around, and under sinks. Mold grows on everything from wet sponges to leaky faucets, but the riskiest spot is under the sink, where even a minor drip from a leaky pipe can lead to mold infestation and damaged flooring and cabinets.
- In the pantry and refrigerator, including water dispensers and drip trays.
- On the stove and in the microwave, where food spills and splatters establish attractive mold breeding grounds.
- Common kitchen surfaces like wood cutting boards, trash cans, and windowsills.
Attics, Garages, and Crawlspaces
One of the main reasons mold grows out of control in attics, crawlspaces, and garages is because people spend less time in them, so mold has plenty of time to spread. These utility areas are famous for harboring mold and facilitating its rapid growth.
- Left unchecked, attic mold can quickly spread through the rest of your Central Florida home. It generally appears on roofs, near leaks, in insulation, around soffit vents, and near any bathroom, kitchen, or laundry room vents. Repairing a roof leak as soon as you notice it is one of the most valuable steps you can take to prevent mold damage in your home’s attic.
- Garage mold is typically caused by flooding from washing machines and pipe leaks. You can find it under or behind storage shelves, around doors and windows, and in areas where standing water accumulates.
- The extent of mold damage in a crawlspace may be smaller than in a full basement, but the consequences can be the same when left untreated. Crawlspace mold is frequently found in ductwork and piping, near sump pumps, in and on vents where condensation gathers, and in areas where the foundation might be leaking.
Other areas where mold can grow in your home include walls and ceilings, fabrics and upholstery, and laundry room appliances.
Mold Damage Levels
As you can see, mold damage is a genuine risk to homes with high levels of moisture. The only way to prevent such troubles is to take quick and efficient measures at the first signs of a mold problem in your home.
In some cases, a homeowner can safely remove any mold they find. In other cases, professional mold removal and remediation are needed, particularly if you aren’t sure what’s causing the mold to grow. If you’re unsure just how severe the mold problem is in your home, here’s a helpful guide on the various levels of mold damage so you can feel secure in taking the course of action that’s best for your home and family.
- Mold Damage Level 1: When mold contamination is confined to an area under ten square feet, it’s unlikely it’s caused by structural or HVAC issues. This level of mold damage is relatively easy to manage and can, in most cases, be removed by cleaning the affected surfaces. Addressed quickly and correctly, Level 1 mold is unlikely to cause any serious issues. People with asthma, immune disorders, or allergies should generally call in an expert for any mold removal. Others doing the work themselves should be sure to wear personal protective gear like goggles, gloves, and a disposable respirator. Proper ventilation of the area being cleaned is a must.
- Level 2 Mold Damage: Level 2 mold includes contaminated areas from ten to 30 square feet. Though often manageable without professional assistance, it could indicate an underlying moisture problem in your home’s AC or plumbing system. A thorough inspection of your Central Florida home is strongly recommended when dealing with Level 2 mold damage in your home. An experienced mold remediation technician can locate the source of moisture and take the necessary measures to prevent mold growth in the future.
- Level 3 Mold Damage: Large mold growth areas of more than 30 square feet usually indicate a significant plumbing or AC problem that requires immediate action. This level of mold damage affects ceiling tiles, wallboard panels, and other large surfaces and calls for remediation surfaces that include testing, defining the mold damage scope, and what’s required for cleanup. If your Central Florida home has Level 3 mold damage, it’s a wise move to hire a professional remediation company to manage the problem.
- Level 4 Mold Damage: Any mold contamination over 100 square feet poses significant health and safety risks and always requires professional remediation by specialists trained in handling hazardous materials. Because remediation of Level 4 mold is a time-consuming process, it’s essential to hire highly-qualified and properly licensed technicians to manage it.
- Level 5 Mold Damage: This occurs in air conditioning units and HVAC systems and can affect any size area. Its remediation should always be left to the professionals who know the precautions necessary to keep your home and family safe.
Level 1 and Level 2 mold damage are not considered dangerous and don’t typically pose a threat to your health or your home’s structural integrity. But keep in mind that Level 2 mold damage can quickly turn into a Level 3 situation.
The sooner you become aware of a mold problem in your home, the easier it’ll be to manage it. These steps can help you learn to detect mold in its earliest stages and ensure you get rid of the harmful microorganisms to prevent further troubles.
- Watch out for the first signs of mold growth throughout your home. They include walls bulging, paint blistering, or loose tiles, as well as a musty smell, a spongy feel to the floor, and allergic reactions.
- Check for visible mold by inspecting the areas where’s it most likely to grow as described above.
- Use an in-home mold testing kit to collect mold samples from the air and different household surfaces to identify the concentration of mold spores and the amount of mold growth. Keep in mind, though, that test results are not always reliable, as the number of mold spores in the air can change dramatically in a short time.
- Have your home professionally tested for mold if you suspect serious mold damage and proliferation. Professionals have the specialized equipment and expertise to collect and analyze mold samples, which guarantees the results will be complete and accurate. You’ll then be able to determine what measures are needed to rid your home of the mold, repair the source of moisture, and restore its safe and healthy living conditions.
Mold Damage Services Done Right
The mold remediation process requires specialized knowledge and equipment to rid your home of mold and prevent mold damage from spreading. A qualified mold damage restoration company like CFRS understands the science behind mold and mold growth and the art of removing it to mitigate damages. Our skilled technicians have all the training needed to manage mold damage in your Central Florida home, returning mold levels to acceptable limits.
We also know that every home’s mold damage is different, so we tailor our solutions to your home’s unique needs. Our dedication to locating even the lowest levels of mold and mold damage makes us Central Florida’s most trusted mold damage remediation professionals. Our friendly and respectful team members will restore your home to normal as quickly as possible after a mold infestation. We also offer water damage, fire damage, and smoke damage solutions you can trust.
Contact CFRS today for mold damage and any other restoration services you need to keep your home and family healthy and secure.