Mold is a common nuisance for homeowners. Keeping your house free from mold is a challenging task; despite all your efforts to prevent mold growth, you can still fail to achieve satisfactory results because mold can grow undetected with minimum resources and in the most unexpected areas.
Mold growth inside walls and crawl spaces are often difficult to detect and treat; such unseen mold growth has the potential to spread to the ceiling and other surfaces in your home. Moldy walls, with time, can start affecting your health and the building’s structural integrity.
Signs of moldy walls
Water leaks: Drywalls act as the perfect host for mold growth. Suppose your house suffers water damage such as a broken pipeline running through the wall or a ceiling leak that might have been channeled through a wall. In that case, there is a high possibility of mold growing within the wall, especially if the structure is drywall.
Surface mold: Most homeowners treat the mold on the wall surface and overlook the possibility of mold growth inside walls. If you observe mold on the surface of walls, there is a high possibility that there is mold growth within the walls. Materials such as drywalls are a good host for mold growth, and their porous surface makes it difficult to remove mold. On such occasions, you will need to replace the whole mold affected section.
Musty odor: Musty odor is a classic sign of mold growth. More often, you can sense the musty odor but cannot find the source. This is when you can suspect mold growth in the walls or crawl spaces. If you have looked throughout your house and cannot find the mold source, then it most probably is thriving within your walls.
Checking for mold growth in walls
On most occasions, you need the assistance of mold specialists to diagnose and treat mold in walls. However, you can do some initial checks to confirm mold growth. A common means to check for mold growth within walls is to cut out a small portion of the drywall and to inspect using a flashlight and LED telescopic inspection mirror visually.
Performing a smell test is another means of checking whether you have mold growing in your walls. Electrical outlets and other openings within your walls give you direct access to the wall interior. If there is mold growth within your walls, the electrical outlets would smell musty and earthy.
Causes of moldy walls
- Broken or leaky pipelines inside walls: a water pipeline or an air conditioning condensation-line damage inside the walls can second mold growth in walls
- Slow leaks from sewer drain lines
- Water pipe leaks in walls that were attended to but not in a timely and efficient manner can lead to mold growth
- Window leaks that trickled through the walls
- External water intrusion via rain, stucco, or siding
Treatment of mold inside walls
Removing mold inside walls is a challenging task that must be carried out with utmost patience and care. It is mandatory to carry out the mold removal process in a contained space by wearing appropriate personal protective equipment.
Mold growths in drywalls are often addressed by removing and replacing the entire section. All the insulations within the infected area have to be removed and replaced. Mold contaminated materials are to be double-bagged in plastic bags for safe disposal. Once the mold-infected wall sections are removed, a HEPA vacuum is used to capture the dust deposits from the removal process.
Since hidden mold growth can quickly spread across your house and expose you to harmful mold spores, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recommends seeking the assistance of mold removal specialists to diagnose and remove hidden mold, including mold in walls.