Water damage is a big problem for many homeowners. Mold can develop after the water has infiltrated and soaks behind the ceiling, floor, carpet, walls, causing hidden areas to become wet. This excess moisture causes mold spores to grow, which emit toxic chemicals into the air, causing respiratory problems and other health issues. Mold is a serious problem that should be dealt with as soon as possible.
Water damage and mold:
Generally, mold can start to grow as fast as 24 to 48 after the water damage, when the conditions are right. Particularly in poorly ventilated areas. The first step is to fix the leak and dry the area thoroughly. Assess the mold situation, and depending on the severity, use a suitable remedy.
This article tries to help with some tips on how water damage mold looks like, and if a leak always means mold. I will also give some tips on removing mold, and explain how fast mold can grow.
- 1 Does a Water Leak Always Mean Mold?
- 2 What Does Water Damage Mold Look Like
- 3 How To Remedy Mold in Your Home After Water Damage
- 4 Prevent Mold After Water Damage
- 5 How Fast Does Mold Grow After a Water Leak
- 6 How Long Does It Take for Mold To Grow on Wet Carpet
- 7 Mold From Water Leak in Ceiling
- 8 Mold From Water Leak in Wall
- 9 Why You Need A Mold Inspection After Water Damage
Does a Water Leak Always Mean Mold?
A water leak does not always mean mold growth. If you fix the leak quickly and manage to remove the moist, mold does not have a big chance. But in a moist, poorly ventilation area, mold can grow as fast as 24 to 48 hours. It means, the quicker you manage to fix the water damage, the less chance mold will have.
Mold growth may occur on practically any surface, ranging from your house wallpaper, ceiling insulation, and the carpet on your floor. Mold will occur more often and faster inside closed and poorly ventilated areas, as they thrive in moist environments.
Homeowners often overlook the connection between mold and water leaks. Water damage such as floods or an apparent leak is not the biggest reason for mold growth. These issues are generally quickly fixed. The problem can be more substantial following a leak that you fail to spot and fix. Mold is a fast-growing organism, and with the right circumstances, it can spread rapidly.
What Does Water Damage Mold Look Like
Generally, there are many signs to look out for to determine mold problems in your house. Traditionally, a “musty” smell or apparent discolor on your ceilings, surfaces, or walls are the first indicators that a mold problem has occurred in your house. However, not all molds are black or show similar signs.
Signs to look out for when inspecting mold in your home include:
- Texture: Mold feels moist, slippery, or soaked
- Reaction on contact: When touched, mold can feel sticky and spread quickly on your hand.
- Smell: Pungent, rotten, and foul.
- Colors: Mold can be green, yellow, grey, black, whitish, or blue.
Mold thrives in wet conditions, so you’re more likely to detect it in damp areas. Bathrooms, kitchens, laundry rooms, basements, and crawl spaces are more susceptible to moisture. If you have experienced a flood or leak, the moisture can also occur inside the inside of your wall.
How To Remedy Mold in Your Home After Water Damage
Unfortunately, mold is a part of everyday life, and it will occur in your home a few times. Stopping it as early as possible helps to keep the problem small. If you expect that the mold problem is considerable, I recommend asking a professional for help.
But if you notice small-scale surface mold growth in your home following water damage or other reasons in your home, I recommend the following easy and non-toxic methods to remove it:
● Mold Remedy: Vinegar
To safely and successfully remove any tiny mold patches in your house you can use vinegar. Spray the affected area with undiluted white distilled vinegar. After spraying, let it sit for some time, and then you can clean the surface.
Do not forget to put on gloves, a mask, and goggles to keep mold and its spores at bay. In addition, the vinegar’s acidity might cause skin discomfort for some, so wearing gloves is really a good idea.
● Mold Remedy: Baking Soda
Baking Soda is well-known for getting rid of mold in your home. In contrast to other mold killers that include harsh chemicals, baking soda is moderate with an average pH of 8.1 and is reasonably safe for you, your family, and your pets. Baking soda not only kills mold, but it also deodorizes, so it may also be used to eliminate the stink that mold left behind in your house. Baking soda also absorbs moisture, which is beneficial in keeping mold at bay.
I recommend mixing two cups of baking soda, one cup of vinegar, and one cup of water until it becomes a thicker paste. Spread the mix onto the surface of the area with mold. When dry, scrub it. If you still notice mold, repeat the process until you do not see any mold traces.
● Mold Remedy: Soap with Borax
Borax mixed with soap can be used to remove mold. Mix 2 teaspoons of borax, 4 cups of hot water, 1 teaspoon of dish soap, and 4 tablespoons of vinegar into a spay. Spray it on moldy areas and let it dry.
It is imperative to note that a severe mold infestation in your home may be challenging to treat and completely remove on your own. For such cases, I recommend seeking for professional mold removal service.
Prevent Mold After Water Damage
Mold growth is influenced by various circumstances, including the degree of water damage, the speed with which it was remedied and dried, and the area impacted.
To prevent mold after your house has sustained water damages, you can do the following:
● Step 1: Fix the leak
Start by inspecting your house for any leak sources and fixing them. Where possible, go for a lasting solution. Failing to fix the leak properly will often lead to similar problems or worse in the future. If you are not sure how to find or fix the leak, I recommend asking a professional for help.
● Step 2: Remove the water as quickly as possible
Remove any visible water as quickly as possible. The goal should be to remove the water in any afflicted area within a day. Remove as much furniture and other things in the damaged area. Please bring them to a well-ventilated area so that they can dry.
● Step 3: Remove the moisture
The next step is to remove all the moisture. Open windows and use a fan to speed up the process. Water always finds the lowest point, so it is likely to affect floorboards and wall surfaces that are not easy to spot. The outside may seem dry, but the doesn’t mean it is dry.
To further speed up the drying process, you can use a dehumidifier. I always recommend renting commercial dehumidifiers, as they can remove a lot more water per hour than a residential dehumidifier. A dehumidifier pulls in the moisture from the air and dries it out to release dry air back into the room. When used with a fan, this can be highly effective.
● Step 4: Keep ventilating the area
When all seems to be dry, keep your doors and windows open for some time to allow for proper air circulation and eradicate trapped moisture from your house.
If you expect that the area is moisture-prone, you can consider using a preventative mold and mildew product like mildewcide. Mildewcide helps reduce surface mold in moisture-prone areas such as bathrooms and other parts of your home. Some paints include mildewcide. Consult with your local dealer or paint shop about the pros and cons of this type of product.
How Fast Does Mold Grow After a Water Leak
Generally, it takes between 24 and 48 hours for mold to start growing when the conditions are right. The mold spores mostly colonize in around 3-12 days and appear within one or two weeks.
But this timeline may vary based on your house’s characteristics, such as the average temperature, moisture levels, and the affected surface material. Mold will spread faster if the leak regularly adds water and moisture to a poorly ventilated area. This can even occur in an area without a leak, like a poorly ventilated bathroom that you regularly use for a shower.
If the surface is organic, the spores will latch on it and feed off it. After that, the mold will start spreading to other surface sections and eventually to larger areas in your house.
How Long Does It Take for Mold To Grow on Wet Carpet
Mold can grow in 24 to 48 hours on a wet or moisture carpet in favorable conditions like high humidity levels, warm temperatures, and poor ventilation. If you notice a wet carpet, try to dry it as soon as possible. Open windows and use a fan to speed up the drying process. If the carpet is removable, move it to a location with better ventilation.
You can also use a dehumidifier with a fan to further speed up drying. I always recommend a professional dehumidifier, as it has a much better performance than a residential type. Mold is versatile, meaning if you are not careful, it will grow on your wet carpet. Also, mold grows at any moment, but prolonged wetness and humidity on your carpet increase the likelihood of mold.
Mold From Water Leak in Ceiling
Generally, water damage in the ceiling can result in both systemic and localized mold growth. When an excessive quantity of moisture accumulates in your ceiling, it will lead to systemic mold growth. In many cases, a water problem in the ceiling is due to a problem with the roof. In particular, if the leak is small, it can take a long time before it will be visible on the ceiling.
In such a case, the roof leak causes moisture to collect and cause mold growth in the entire area due to condensation. Always ensure you have fixed the water issue, else it makes no sense to remove the mold. Remember that the leak can be in a different area, as water can travel a certain distance. In many homes, the area under the roof is difficult to reach and poorly ventilated. I recommend asking a professional for help if you are unsure what to do.
On the other hand, localized mold growth occurs when your ceiling has adequate ventilation to eradicate the extra moisture caused by the roof leak or other reasons. For this case, the mold remediation efforts can be focused solely on the area surrounding the leak.
Mold From Water Leak in Wall
Mold from a wall leak is a common occurrence. It can be due to plumbing-related issues, such as faulty caulking or a roof problem. Most residences have wall-mounted covers as a cautionary step to keep pipes from being damaged. However, if they burst slightly, they can slowly drip and make the area moist. The problem itself can be in a different area than where you see the results of the leak on the wall.
First, ensure that you have fixed the leak itself. If that is done, the damaged area needs to be dried. Open windows to ventilate, use a fan, and I recommend using a dehumidifier. It is easy to spot the outside of the wall if the wall is dry. But the inside is difficult to reach and can easily get damp and trap moisture. This usually affects mold growth, as the humidity and temperature conditions favor its development.
Local areas with mold on the outside of the wall can be removed with some of the remedies earlier explained. If you expect that the inside of the wall also contains mold, I recommend asking a professional for help. The inside can be extremely hard to reach.
Why You Need A Mold Inspection After Water Damage
Mold and water damage often go hand-in-hand. The first step is always to fix the leak first. If you haven’t dealt with the water issue, you haven’t dealt with the mold problem. If the water damage was minor, and you fixed and dried it quickly within a day, the chance of mold is not high. But if this is not the case, I always recommend doing a mold inspection. Water always finds ways you did not imagine, and mold does the same.
There are more reasons why a mold inspection after a more extensive leak is recommendable:
● A stitch in time saves nine
It is difficult to predict where the water and moisture are whenever your house sustains water damage. As a result, mold may develop in the most unexpected and unseen areas in your home.
Regular inspections, especially with an expert, will soon notice any signs of mold and prevent a more significant outbreak. If you choose to ignore and fail to work on mold early enough, you have the risk of higher removal costs in the future.
● Prevent health hazards
Too much mold in your home poses serious health risks to you and other family members. If you live with children and elderly family members, they are particularly vulnerable to allergic reactions and respiratory issues triggered by even the tiniest mold levels.
Carrying out regular inspections early and removing the mold in your house will help you minimize such possibilities.
● Improve the quality of air in your home
Your home air quality suffers when mold becomes airborne. Mold exposure occurred when mold spores breathed from the air settle in the lungs or nasal passages, causing symptoms. Staying on top of your mold inspection schedule will allow you to monitor your indoor air for mold spores.