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How to Identify Mold on Walls and How to Mitigate it

August 26, 2022

Mold is a nasty issue to deal with. Once an infestation takes hold, it can be extremely difficult to get rid of without professional help. Some outbreaks are fairly obvious. But if you’ve never encountered mold or it’s more of an underlying issue, you may not even realize you have an issue on your hands before it’s too late. If you suspect you might have mold on or within your walls, read on to find out how to identify and mitigate it. 

The Danger of Household Mold 

Not only is household mold an eyesore, but it can also deteriorate your home and lead to health issues for those exposed to it. Mold will continue to spread until it’s dealt with. As time goes on, it will break down the integrity of drywall and the structural elements of your home. This can lead to dangerous structural instability. 

Exposure to mold spores can lead to allergy-like symptoms. These symptoms may grow more severe the longer someone is exposed to the spores. Those with existing conditions such as asthma may experience severe to life-threatening allergic reactions. 

Mold Exposure Symptoms 

  • Sneezing
  • Runny nose
  • Coughing
  • Watery eyes
  • Itching
  • Wheezing
  • Headaches
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Fatigue

Signs You Have Mold On Your Walls 

Mold outbreaks may look different depending on the severity and variety of the mold. Generally, these are the signs to look out for

  • Visible mold
  • Musty smell 
  • Soft drywall 
  • Wet walls 
  • Signs of previous water damage 
  • Peeling wallpaper
  • Allergy-like symptoms 

How to Check For Mold in Your Walls

Finding mold within your walls is a bit more tricky. If the infestation is deep within the drywall, you might not see it visibly. If you recently experienced water damage you can safely assume mold may follow. Mold can start to grow in as little as 24 to 48 hours after a leak. You can also deduce that there’s mold in your walls if you start to smell a musty odor or see peeling wallpaper, discoloration, or squishy drywall. 

If you suspect you have mold within your walls, follow these steps to look into the issue further: 

  1. Turn off the power to the area you’ll be working in. 
  2. Find the spot on your wall where you feel the mold might be behind. 
  3. Mark a 6-inch by 6-inch square on the area with a pencil. 
  4. Use a drywall jab saw to cut out the square. 
  5. Check the entire opening for mold. 
  6. If you encounter insulation, be sure to check it for mold. Also, check around and behind the insulation. 

How to Mitigate a Mold Issue 

First and foremost, eliminate any moisture. If you still have an active leak, be sure to repair it before you attempt to mitigate the mold issue. It might also be in your best interest to run a dehumidifier in the affected area. 

Once you have the excess moisture under control, equip yourself with personal protective equipment such as gloves, eye protection, and maybe even a mask. This will limit your exposure to harmful mold spores. 

Start by cleaning off hard surfaces. Use a specialized cleaner that kills mold to wipe it down and let it dry. Be sure to dispose of any rags or washcloths you use and remove them from the house so any lingering mold spores won’t find their way onto your walls again. 

On porous surfaces such as drywall, use a more gentle cleaning solution and a rag to wipe down the area. You can reach towards bleach and dilute it in water as an option. Get rid of any rags you use. 

Surface mold is typically easy to clean on your own. But once the mold spreads into your walls or is growing too rapidly to manage with household cleaners, you’ll need to call in the professionals. Get in touch with your local home restoration company and schedule a mold mitigation appointment when your mold problem gets out of control.  

Can Certain Paint Help Prevent Future Mold Infestations? 

Paint will not stop an existing mold or mildew problem. In fact, painting over mold may actually make the issues worse. That being said, once you rid your home of the issue, certain types of paint will help prevent mold from returning after it is mitigated. Waterproofing paint, bathroom-specific paints, and a range of other mold-resistant paints can help to manage moisture and prevent future mold outbreaks. 

Are you hoping to upgrade your home with mold-resistant paint? If you’re in the Northern Colorado area, get in touch with Horner Painting to learn more about our residential painting services!  

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