Hidden Mold Behind your Walls?

Hidden Mold Behind your Walls?

mold behind a wall

A homeowner’s nightmare, mold spreads quickly and can be tough to eliminate. All it needs to grow is moisture, darkness and food — such as cotton, cellulose, wicker, lumber or even dust and lint. Since drywall is mostly cellulose, it is a common breeding ground for mold. But mold doesn’t just grow on the side of drywall that you can see.  If you’ve had water damage from a leaking pipe, leaky roof or a flood, chances are you have mold lurking behind your walls. Usually, if you can perform water clean-up and removal within the first few days of flood damage, you can prevent mold growth. But, if you don’t know there is a leak – or it has gone on for a while, the moisture can be a haven for rampant mold growth. 

How to Detect Mold Behind Walls

Because wall cavities often contain pockets of humid, moist air, mold can thrive back there – wreaking damage and possibly making you sick – without you even knowing it. Wallpaper glue can also harbor mold. It grows silently behind the wallpaper using the organic debris in the glue as food.

Tell-tale signs that you have moisture in a wall and possible mold growth include:

  • Seeing cracked or peeling paint, discoloration or bulging
  • Seeing small spots of mold (a sign that there is actually a larger mold colony on the other side)
  • Smelling a moldy or musty odor
  • Suffering allergic reactions

Investigating Hidden Mold

Use caution when investigating hidden mold. Disturbing moldy areas can cause the spores to spread throughout your home, and can also expose your lungs to high concentrations of spores. While attempting to identify areas where mold could be hidden, you should wear goggles, a respirator and old clothing that you can discard. This can be a difficult process and may require a professional who is experienced in investigating water- and mold-damaged buildings. Professional mold remediation services use specialized equipment such as thermal imaging, which allows for non-invasive mapping of moisture paths. Thermal imaging helps explain the often mysterious origin of water leaks that may be far from the physical evidence of damage. Water and mold go hand in hand, so where there is a leak, mold is usually present.

Mold Removal

To remove mold growing behind your walls, you will have to open up the wall. First, make sure you don’t cut into any electrical wires. Turn off the power to the outlets and locate the wires by poking a hole through the damaged section. Avoid the wires as you cut the drywall. You’ll need to cut well beyond the obvious mold damage to be sure that you remove it all. Then, let the wall completely dry out.

Mold Prevention

Controlling dampness is the number one way to stop mold growth. The most common places you’ll find mold are in crawlspaces, attics, walls and basements. Prevent mold growth in these areas by:

  • Stopping leaks at the source
  • Ensuring proper attic ventilation
  • Keeping crawlspaces dry
  • Routing water away from your home’s foundation
  • Using paints with mildewcide in damp rooms like bathrooms and outside in shady areas

Choosing a Mold Remediation Professional

Hiring a professional mold remediation specialist is your best bet to locate and eliminate mold in your home. With high-tech equipment, special training and certifications, a professional can get the job done more quickly and safely – with much less hassle. Always be sure that the mold removal professional you hire has experience identifying and locating mold and water problems.