How to Deal with Mold on Walls: A Comprehensive Guide for Homeowners

How to Deal with Mold on Walls

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Mold is a nasty and pervasive problem to have to deal with in the home. Mold begins its life as a microscopic fungus that spreads by sending out its microscopic spores to latch onto materials that have the moisture and nutrients it needs to survive.

If you are a homeowner, tenant, or landlord, mold is a nasty problem when it presents itself on the walls of your property. However, the mold must be dealt with in a timely manner. If you are dealing with mold on your walls, here is everything you need to know about what causes mold growth, how to recognize it, and how to get rid of it.

Identifying Mold on Walls

Visual Signs of Mold Growth

The most prominent visual sign of mold growth will be dark, nasty-looking splotches and stains on your walls that were not otherwise there earlier and have no seemingly direct cause. You can also expect to see dark blue, dark green, and black discoloration on your walls.

Odor Signs of Mold Growth

One of the hallmarks of mold growth, no matter where it grows, is that it carries a distinct and nasty odor. This musty smell is typical of what you would find in an old attic or basement. Be careful if you smell disorder, as there is a chance you could be inhaling mold spores that have been emitted into the air. If you smell the smell, leave the room and return with a facial covering, preferably a respirator.

Health Symptoms Associated with Mold Exposure

Mold exposure can be a serious health hazard. It can lead to many symptoms, some of which can have long-term effects on your overall health. You can develop symptoms such as chest pain, difficulty breathing, coughing, sinus issues, sneezing, and even irritable skin. More often than not, if you speak with a doctor, you will be prescribed antifungal medications to counteract the mold that triggered the symptoms.

Causes of Mold Growth on Walls

High Humidity and Moisture

Mold requires two things to grow. It needs both moisture and nutrients to feed off of. If your home has humidity levels above 50% then there is a good chance that the humidity has led to condensation on your walls. This condensation provides moisture, while the material of your walls provides the potential nutrients to grow.

Water Leaks

If you have faulty plumbing in your home, whether from improperly installed pipes or wear and tear over time, there is a good chance that a leak can cause mold on your walls.

Poor Ventilation

Mold is not capable of thriving in an environment with good ventilation. This is because good ventilation tends to dry out the environment to a degree that does not enable it to grow.

Prevention of Mold Growth on Walls

Proper Ventilation and Moisture Control

If you want to keep mold from continuing to grow on your home's walls, then you have to control the moisture and the ventilation of your home. The first thing you need to do is ensure that the ventilation is good enough to keep fresh, clean air abundant.

The best way to take care of your home’s ventilation is to change your ventilation filter regularly. It is typical to change your home's air filter once every couple of months.

Ask to control the moisture levels in your home; one of the best tools you can employ is a dehumidifier. You should follow the directions with your dehumidifier, but the general rule of thumb supported by the Mayo Clinic is between 30% and 50% humidity. So long as you do not exceed 50%, you should not worry about mold growth on your walls.

Mold Resistant Materials

Utilizing mold-resistant materials is a good deterrent against future mold growth on your walls. For example, you can repaint the walls in your home with mold-resistant paint. You are least likely to deal with mold growth if the materials used to construct your walls are not porous. It helps if they are synthetic so that there are no nutrients for the mold to feed off of.

Regular Inspection and Maintenance

Without a doubt, the best way to ensure that there is no future mold growth on the walls of your home is to inspect and maintain your home and its fixtures regularly. Have your pipes regularly inspected, always check your ventilation system, and ensure your humidity levels do not exceed 50%. By performing regular inspections and maintenance, you are keeping a diligent eye on your home and ensuring that mold does not have the opportunity to develop.

Removal of Mold on Walls

Safety Precautions

If you will remove mold from your home's walls by yourself, you must ensure you are equipped with the proper gear. First of all, you need a pair of safety glasses as well as rubber gloves. You will also need a facial covering, preferably a respirator.

It must be said that following EPA recommendations and standards if the mold growth on your walls exceeds 10 square feet, you should not be attempting to remove it on your own. You should instead speak with a mold removal expert and have them do it, as female growth would be considered too much for a non-expert.

Tools and Materials Needed for Mold Removal

The tools you need to remove it from your walls are not particularly advanced. You will need a spray bottle, a dry towel, a rinsing bucket, and a soft-bristled brush.

Natural and Chemical Methods for Mold Removal

If you are going to rid yourself of mold, you need the right cleaning solutions. You can take numerous approaches based on your personal preferences and needs.

One of the most popular cleaning solutions is a mixture of 70% water and 30% White vinegar. This mixture is enough to kill mold on most surfaces and in most scenarios.

Essential oils are another natural solution that has become more popular over the last few years. Many essential oils are on the market, each with its own properties. They are effective because of their antifungal properties.

Dealing with Mold on Different Types of Walls

Mold on Brick Walls

  • Causes – Changes in temperature cause expansion and contraction, creating perfect pockets for moisture accumulation
  • Prevention – Regular inspection, Repairs
  • Removal – Scrub with a solution of 1 cup of bleach to one gallon of water

Mold on Concrete Walls

  • Causes – Winter weather causes elevated surface moisture which mold thrives on
  • Prevention – Temperature control in home
  • Removal – Scrub down with an effective detergent

Mold on Stucco Walls

  • Causes – Moisture making its way in through siding or windows and doors.
  • Prevention – Proper sealing on doors and windows
  • Removal – Scrub with water and bleach mixture

Mold on Wallpaper

  • Causes – Water leaks, high humidity
  • Prevention – Inspect plumbing/leak source, Dehumidifier
  • Removal – Warm soapy water with designated wallpaper cleaner

Mold on Drywall

  • Causes – Water leaks, high humidity
  • Prevention – Inspect plumbing/leak source, Dehumidifier
  • Removal – Scrub with 70% water and 30% white vinegar

Mold on Wood Paneling

  • Causes – Poor ventilation, high humidity
  • Prevention – Improve ventilation, use of a dehumidifier
  • Removal – Scrub with 70% water and 30% white vinegar

In conclusion, if you need additional help, call your local contractor before taking on major projects.  Companies in your area similar to Damage Control of Orlando can help you get your home and life back in order quickly and with the least disruption during the remedial process.

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