Leaking appliances, overflowing sinks or toilets, plumbing and sewage problems or heavy rain and floods can compromise the structural integrity of a property, leading to many unwanted – and undesirable consequences. When excess water begins to collect in areas where it shouldn’t, it’s best to try and remove it followed by drying the area right away. The longer it’s left to sit there, the more likely it is to lead to water damage, and subsequently, mould.
Water damage in the home is one of the main causes of mould growth. In fact, mould can start growing on any damp surface in just 48 hours, which is why swift action is a top priority. When left to their own devices, mould can quickly begin to multiply across wood, ceilings, tiles, wallpaper and even on clothing.
Eventually, it will lead to damage of walls, floors and ceilings, potentially spreading to other areas of the home. Today, we’ll run through what to do when you find mould in your home and the steps to take to get rid of it.
Mould are organisms that thrive in damp areas – or anywhere with excess moisture. They are an important part of the ecosystem, breaking down organic matter and helping to enrich the soil plants grow in. However, mould’s ability to destroy organic matter also makes it a problem, especially if found inside your home.
A recent estimate suggests that there are at least 100,000 species of mould present around us and in our homes. While not all species of mould are toxic or dangerous, some species release mycotoxins which are harmful to the body. If you or someone you know has mould sensitivity, you may encounter symptoms such as:
- respiratory congestion
- eye irritation
- skin rashes
Prolonged exposure to mycotoxins may also lead to more severe health conditions, including cancer, pulmonary fibrosis and neurotoxicity.
If you’re dealing with water damage, below are some of the mould species commonly found inside buildings:
This type of mould appears in long chains of flask-shaped spores. Colonies are often found growing on walls, PVC/wallpaper covering, gypsum boards, carpet and mattresses, HVAC insulation, filters and fans – and even on upholstered furniture, shoes and leather.
Chaetomium is often mistaken for black mould, mainly because they share some similar characteristics and like to grow in the same types of conditions. This type of mould is typically found in wet and dark environments like baseboards, drywall and under carpets or areas where there is water damage. It has a fluffy cotton-like texture and comes with an unmistakably strong, musty odour.
Penicillium moulds are known for their distinct odour and rapid growth. They usually appear in shades of green, blue-green or grey-green, but some are white, yellowish or pinkish. They have a velvety to a powdery texture. Penicillium colonies may be found growing in water-damaged materials such as plywood, wallpaper, behind flaking paint, under carpets and mattresses or in fibreglass insulation. They are also found in unprotected food products such as cheese, fruit, cereals and spices.
Alternaria is the most common type of allergenic mould. It has a velvety texture and appears as dark green or brown hairs. They are typically found in showers, bathtubs and under sinks. They may also grow on horizontal surfaces such as window frames, carpets and textiles.
Mould can easily proliferate when the right conditions are present. Moisture is one of the main conditions which encourages mould spores to germinate and start spreading.
If your home has recently been affected by severe water damage, it is recommended to seek professional advice. Why? Because even after you’ve cleaned and dried the affected areas, excess moisture may have seeped into hidden areas and create the perfect condition for mould growth to take hold again at a later date.
Mould removal and remediation companies can help you identify the source of moisture by using mould and moisture inspection instruments such as IR cameras, moisture meters and particle counters. Once they have identified the area where mould infestations occur – and what types of mould are present – they will be able to provide you with their recommendation on how to remove mould safely and prevent them from coming back
As soon as you spot a small patch of mould in any area in your property, getting rid of it as quickly as possible is a must. You may try removing mould patches that are less than one square metre in size by using household cleaning supplies such as vinegar, chlorine bleach or baking soda and borax.
However, it is important to gear up for safety reasons when you attempt any DIY cleaning and mould removal process.
Using household cleaners to remove mould in your property may work in the short-term, but seeking help from a professional mould remediation company is highly recommended.
If mould cleaning and removal is not done properly, there is a chance that only visible mould is removed, leaving the main source of mould growth untouched. When this happens, mould will likely grow back or spread to other parts of your property.
The first step to successfully removing mould from your home is identifying where it is growing and what is causing it. Below are some of the main signs you should look out for when checking for mould growth inside your home.
Discolouration of Surfaces
If powdery or cotton-like patches begin to appear on your walls, floors and ceilings, they are likely to be mould colonies. Over time, discolouration may worsen, leading to warping or deterioration of the affected surface.
Musty odours are a strong indication of mould growth inside your property. As soon as the odour becomes strong enough to smell, mould is probably already rapidly multiplying. Some common odour comparisons include mushrooms, grass, rotting food and wet dogs. When something smells bad, it is usually a warning sign that it is.
Flooding or Moisture Intrusion
Recent flooding or water leaks will create a prime environment for mould to grow. Even if you have dried and cleaned the area, mould can still grow beneath floors or behind walls. If you attempt to dry the area without the proper tools, you’ll likely only dry the visible surface. Water is able to make its way many inches into cement, wood and other similar materials. Ultimately, this will leech its way back to the surface, providing perfect conditions for fungal spores to set up home.
Damp is another common cause of mould growth and can lead to rot and structural defects. It is often a direct result of condensation, which occurs when moist air comes into contact with a cold surface like your window or mirror. This is a sign that your home needs improved ventilation. Damp and mould growth may also be caused by rising damp. This happens when groundwater rises into your home and your damp proof course fails – or if your house was built without damp proofing.
When to Get Expert Mould Removal Help?
Mould growth due to water damage can lead to major property damage. It can result in ceilings collapsing, window frames rotting, floorboards to cave in or air conditioning systems to be contaminated. Mould infestations can also eat away your furniture, clothing and other personal belongings, costing you a small fortune to replace.
If you think you have a mould problem happening in your home, seek assistance from a mould remediation company. At Mould Cleaning Australia, our team of expert mould removal specialists will conduct a thorough inspection of your property – completely free of charge.
After inspection, recommendations will be provided to you, including a breakdown of our costs and a step-by-step action plan. Our cutting edge tools and equipment, one-day treatment process and mould-free guarantee are just a few of the reasons why we’re the best mould removal company in Australia.