Take care of mold before it turns ugly

How to recognize and treat the fungus
Take care of mold before it turns ugly

North Carolina certainly has seen some rain this summer. According to the State Climate Office of North Carolina, this past June was the second wettest June on record since 1895.

Unfortunately, when rain falls mold follows. It's important for homeowners to recognize signs of mold or water damage, and to catch these issues early on.

Mold actually is everywhere, though its amount and location are what can be harmful to your home and your health. Mold becomes a problem when moisture, including high humidity, is present, and the mold begins to grow. According to the National Association of the Remodeling Industry, the risk increases in places more exposed to moisture, such as bathrooms, kitchens, attics and basements. Often, bathrooms that are not properly insulated or ventilated are at greater risk.

Mold growth behind the wall can reduce the direct health risk to the homeowners, but if left untouched it poses a risk to the structural elements of the bathroom as it can soften wood over time.

Recognizing issues

Here are tips for early detection and preventative measures for mold growth:

Odor

Many times you don't need to physically see the mold because it will have an odor. If you walk into a room or basement and smell mildew, it's time to investigate.

Staining

By the time you notice staining, water either has been or is present. Drywall and paint are cheap to replace, so have a contractor cut through the drywall and locate the problem. Be ready to fix the problem after you've exposed it.

Blistering

Paint that is peeled or blistering, bulging dry wall, and screws or joints that are popping out are all signs that the wood is warping from repeated water exposure.

Ventilate

Areas that have accessible water systems are extremely susceptible to mold growth and must have proper ventilation. Consider buying a bathroom fan with a wired timer that will continue to run 30 to 60 minutes following bath and shower use to keep moisture down.

Removing mold

Mold remediation includes placing a plastic barrier to contain the area with the mold, so that it doesn't spread into other parts of the home. As mold is being removed, a fan drives air to the outside through a window, and HEPA vacuums remove leftover mold particles from the area. Once the area is completely cleared of mold and dried, it is sealed with a mold-inhibiting paint such as Kilz to help prevent future outbreaks.

Prevention

The key is to curb moisture whenever possible in your home. Dry wet areas immediately — this includes shower walls and water spills on the carpet. Hang wet clothes and towels outside to dry. Vent appliances that produce moisture such as clothes dryers to the outside (not the attic). Air conditioning will lower humidity, as will a dehumidifier placed in a bathroom or basement.

—National Association of the Remodeling Industry

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