When was the last time you checked for any mold?
Have you had a particularly rainy summer and now the dining room has this “old book” smell you just can’t get rid of?
How ‘bout that basement? Do those black patches on the wall look like they’re growing to you, too?
One of the most disturbing characteristics of mold is that it can lurk beneath your floors (and everywhere in your home) without notice for...well, forever until it’s too late!
Some molds have a distinct musty smell while others release toxins that can cause serious allergic reactions, possibly causing fatal illnesses. So it isn’t to be taken lightly, but often times the situation can be easily resolved.
Before you go tearing up the floorboards in search of any mold, stay calm and know that there are steps you can follow to inspect your home and neutralize any mold if you find any.
What Should You Look For To Find Mold?
Mold is not often found in the open. It is very good at growing in discrete, hard to reach and hard to see areas of the home. However, it does have its way of letting you know that it’s there.
One of the first red flags you should consider is the environment and current condition of your home.
Common Causes of Mold in Your Home
Mold thrives in warm, dark, damp areas of your home. It also loves still air, tons of humidity and constant exposure to moisture! Aside from these environment characteristics, mold needs food to survive.
Organic compounds such as wood, wallpaper, among other common household materials provide excellent sources of nutrients. Other sources can include soap scum, body oils, kitchen debris and other like substances.
Where Do I Look?
Mold can grow almost anywhere so long as it has the essential conditions of life we discussed above. However, for our sake, we should focus on bathrooms and hardwood.
Most mold spreads via spores, so removing contaminated materials should be done in a way that doesn’t contaminate the clean areas of your home.
It can be really dangerous to handle certain molds - like black mold - as it can cause breathing problems, allergies and create complications for those who already have allergies or weak immune systems.
If you’re doing the job yourself, always be sure to use the proper safety gear to get the job done (respirators, gloves, goggles etc…).
How Much Is A Lot of Mold?
Let’s all agree that even a tiny bit of mold is enough. If you have mold now, it can only grow from there unless you find a resolution quickly. Although there are levels of mold damage that you could handle yourself there are other cases that need professional care.
Not every case of mold should be handled by your average homeowners. Really bad situations will call for professional removal and cleaning to get the home back to safe living conditions.
So let’s break it down in a way that categorizes what we can handle ourselves vs. what needs professional help:
You Got This:
- Isolated spots anywhere you see them. If it just a little bit, you got this.
- Anything surface level. If you spot some mold and upon further inspection, it doesn’t go any deeper than the tile or corner you see it on, you got this.
You Should Probably Call Someone…:
- The mold has infested a wide area ( + 10 square feet ). If it is that bad, it means that the conditions of that area have been perfect for housing mold. Not only does all that mold need to be removed, but the conditions need to be fixed as well. You should probably call someone…
- Areas behind walls - you should probably call someone…
- If it’s on material like hardwood, you have to determine how deep it goes and see if it has changed the hardness of the wood. Does the wood feel spongy or soft? It has most likely spread inside of, and all around the wood. You should probably definitely call someone…
How to Prevent Mold
Now that we know how mold grows, make your home absolutely inhabitable for it so that it stays out for good.
Controlling the humidity, controlling the moisture and cleaning regularly to eliminate its potential food sources are the biggest precautions you could take to make sure you’re mold free.
You could also seal your grout so that it is harder for it to break down and crack. Sealing also makes it less porous and, therefore, less likely to transmit moisture.
Looking for cracks in the grout and fixing any by replacing it or using an acrylic caulk will proactively eliminate any chances of mold around tile in your home.
Last, But Not Least - Asbestos
Asbestos has been used in a variety of different construction materials until the late 20th century.
The concern of asbestos isn’t you being exposed as much as it is you inhaling it.
Remember when people still watched cable TV and those lawyer commercials came on talking about mesothelioma? Asbestos can lead to various forms of lung cancer just like mesothelioma and the symptoms can go unnoticed until it is too late and 10-20 years later.
The concern of asbestos should be directed towards older homes and older materials, specifically, if it was manufactured before 1980 and if sheet vinyl or vinyl tiles were used in construction. A common method of dealing with suspected asbestos flooring is to contain or encapsulate it with another floor covering (which will, therefore, prevent any chance of it becoming airborne).
Although some states in the US allow Do-It-Yourself asbestos removal, it is usually a bad idea. If you decide to do it yourself, you’ll need high-quality HEPA respirators and a protective suit to prevent particles from clinging to your clothing and being transported to other areas.
You must also dispose of any clothing used for removal legally and safely which might pose a few problems as it isn’t that easy to do residentially.
The solution and best way around the headache of taking care of asbestos solo is to hire an asbestos abatement service to take of it for you.
After talking about mold and asbestos, you now can identify what you can handle by yourself and how to safely execute it and what should be handled by the pros. If you are unsure, feel free to reach out to your flooring and remodeling experts for advice on how to proceed.
As much as we care about getting you the home of your dreams, your safety is always our number one concern.
For further research, follow the links below and reach out if you have any questions!