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Clean, Dry, Repair and Disinfect Walls and Ceilings
By the RestorationSOS Educational Staff
Mold is the single most common and most dangerous long-term problem associated with any kind of water damage. Mold grows anywhere there is sufficient moisture to sustain it, and a home or business in the aftermath of a water damage event is the perfect breeding ground. It may appear within 72 hours following the initial water damage or sooner if the water is sewage-based. Mold grows quickly and can be extremely difficult to get rid of.
Detecting Mold in Walls or Ceilings
Mold on walls is detected either by sight, as the mold presents itself as a blackish-green growth, or by the presence of peeling paint or areas where the wall is wet or moist to the touch. It may also be indicated by smell, as mold gives of a noxious, instantly recognizable odor.
The removal of mold from drywall is a difficult process, usually involving the removal of the affected portion of the wall. This is because drywall is porous, allowing mold to grow deep within the drywall material. Simply scrubbing it off the surface won't be enough to solve the problem.
Mold may also grow behind the walls in your home, which means a more invasive form of mold testing to determine its presence. A mold remediation professional can provide quality mold testing services for a nominal fee as well as the techniques for removing the mold and treating the affected area.
Treating and Removing Mold
Treatment for ceiling-based mold is similar, depending again on whether or not the ceiling material is porous. Porous material will always have to be cut away and replaced. Mold may also grow above the ceiling as the result of water coming in from a leaky roof. If you find any evidence of roof damage such as missing shingles or damaged flashing, you should inspect the areas below it for any signs of mold or moisture that may provide the breeding ground for mold.
As with any case of mold growth, it is never enough to simply kill the mold. Mold grows as the result of a given number of elements; moisture, lack of ventilation, etc. If the elements remain unchanged, then it is only a matter of time before the mold returns. The affected area will need to be disinfected, sanitized, the ventilation improved, and humidity levels brought down to within normal parameters (40-45% is considered normal) in order to make sure that the mold growth does not return.
Care should be taken when working around mold, with protective clothing, eyewear, and filtration mask or respiratory device.