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How Fast Can Mold Grow After Water Damage

When a homeowner or someone that rents a dwelling experiences water damage, one of the first questions they have is will it also cause mold to grow? This is going to depend on several different factors.

How long the water has been there is one factor. Are the materials that are wet organic food that mold will like? Things like wood, wallpaper, drywall, carpet and many other things in your home are the perfect food for mold.

All you have to do is add water and it can be disastrous.

There is some conflicting information out there about how fast the mold can take hold and begin to grow. The generally accepted theory is within 24 to 48 hours after a surface has become wet.

If you have a home that is known for high humidity, things like an attic space that is not well ventilated can grow mold. Bathrooms that have no ventilation can easily grow mold because of the humidity of hot baths and showers.

When you have these issues, mold can usually be spotted more easily than in hidden places. It will begin to show up on your tub and shower surround and the walls and ceilings fairly quickly.

How Fast Can Mold Start To Grow?

One thing is certain: when you have sudden water damage from a plumbing flood or a long term water leak that has gone undetected behind a wall or in a cabinet, you have to get it fixed as quickly as possible.

Whether you call one of many local plumbers or a mold removal company can be decided by the amount of damage and if mold is discovered right away. With long term issues like a humidity problem and ongoing hidden leaks, the probability that mold is already there is pretty high.

Water damage that was sudden and cleaned up quickly is not necessarily indicative of mold growth. Of course, this is only possible if the area is completely dry. Only a water damage professional is likely to be able to meet this challenge.

Species of mold can move in within a few days if the conditions are right, but it can take several weeks for it to become visible.

One way to find out for sure if you have hidden plumbing leaks is a moisture meter that measures moisture in common residential construction materials. Anything over 15% tells you that you need a water cleanup crew from a qualified restoration company.

How Long Does It Take For Mold To Spread?

If you have ever heard the old expression as quick as lightning, then you can apply this to how quickly mold can begin spreading after it has taken hold on a surface. Within just a few hours, the mold spores can be everywhere in your home and be ready to settle wherever they can feed. If it sounds frightening, it is.

This is why all water restoration professionals will tell you that the faster water damage is taken care of, the less likely you will be to have to also deal with mold. One of the main concerns the experts take into consideration is making sure the damaged area is dried completely to reduce the risk that mold can take hold.



How To Stop Mold Growth Once It's Started

Experts have the right equipment to dry things quickly and properly. Most regular plumbers won't have this specialty equipment. The first thing they will do is to get the water out. If a pump is necessary they will have it. If there was a lot of water, it would go everywhere.

It can be behind baseboards, under the floor tiles or carpet, and behind the walls. If the water issue happened upstairs, it can get downstairs.

Just ventilating your home probably cannot get to these areas fast enough to dry them quickly before mold starts. Experts use special dryers in all the right places to help prevent mold from having the opportunity to develop.

Most homeowners insurance will cover water damage that takes places inside the home from plumbing and moisture issues. Don't risk one of your biggest investments when water damage happens at your house.

It's always better to use a professional when you have doubts about your ability to deal with the situation on your own.

  • Tiffany Ellis

    Tiffany Ellis is a writer for Damage Control 911 and has been in the water damage and mold remediation industry since 2007.

  • Jim Corkern

    Jim is a water damage and structural drying technician. He's been in the water damage restoration industry for 15 years.

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