How Mold Can Damage A House

Posted Wednesday, December 19th, 2018

Of all the four-letter words out there, the one that will probably cause you the most pain and anguish is “mold”. We already know how disgusting it is and where it comes from, but how can a tiny spore like mold damage a house? Like, physically?  

At Modernistic, we’ve repaired thousands of homes from mold damage (called “mold remediation”), and we’ve seen first-hand the destruction that mold wreak inside a home. Here are some of the most common types of mold damage we encounter on a daily basis.

How Mold Can Damage A House

Drywall – Since drywall is organic and porous, a mold infestation will permeate throughout the material very quickly. It’s possible to salvage drywall if the growth is caught quickly enough, but after about a day it’s usually best to remove and replace mold-affected sections.

Carpet – Mold will grow best where it can get lots of moisture. With carpet, water will soak down into the padding beneath the jute backing. While you can certainly feel water-saturated padding when you step on it, the carpet itself doesn’t let you see what might be growing beneath. That’s why a professional mitigation crew will peel back your carpet and dry out the padding as soon as possible – that’s where potentially hazardous mold is most likely to be!  

Hardwood – Wood is another material that very susceptible to mold damage: joists, hardwood flooring, furniture, etc. Since wood is organic, it provides all the food mold loves to feed on. Depending on the location and severity of the infestation, often the safest option is to remove and replace affected wood materials.

HVAC System– Since you can’t see what’s inside of your ductwork, it’s easy to forget about all the dust and debris that build up; after all, out of sight, out of mind! But the dust and debris are a fantastic food source for mold spores, and with enough moisture and oxygen, they can start growing without you even knowing. Once that happens and your furnace or central air kicks on, mold spores will circulate through your entire home, affecting more than just the inside of your HVAC system! Properly cleaning and disinfecting your entire ductwork system from mold growth requires specialized equipment designed to reach all affected areas, so it’s best to trust an air duct cleaning professional with any mold growth in the HVAC system.

Indoor Air – Even if it’s not in your air ducts, mold growing anywhere in your home will affect your indoor air quality. In order to reproduce, mold gives off microscopic mold spores – you can’t see them, but they’re always floating around in the air. Depending on the strain of mold and the severity of the infestation, certain types of spores can cause harmful side effects. These can range from mild allergies to full-blown respiratory illnesses.

These are just a few of the ways we’ve seen how mold can damage a house. If you ever suspect mold may be growing in your home, the absolute best thing you can do is deal with it right away. Call a professional mold remediation company before any of the above happens! If you catch it right away, “mold” will be the only four letter word you’ll have to use!

Modernistic has been restoring Michigan homes from disasters since 1973! If you are dealing with a mold problem, trust the experts and contact us today.


What To Do When You Find Mold During Spring Cleaning

Posted Wednesday, April 25th, 2018

found mold during spring cleaning removal

Across Michigan, the weather’s getting warmer. And you know what that means: Spring cleaning is in full swing! Getting rid of a winter’s worth of dirt and grime helps us welcome spring with open arms, but there’s always a chance you could discover something sinister that’s been growing all season: Mold! Underneath a floor mat, behind your bathroom drywall, inside your eaves, around uninsulated ductwork – mold can grow anywhere where there’s moisture and reduced air flow, which means it’s often well out of sight. But don’t panic! Here’s what to do when you find mold during spring cleaning.

Don’t Ignore It

If you suspect a dark/discolored spot could be mold, deal with it right away. Mold has a tendency to multiply rapidly when conditions are right, turning a small spot into a much larger problem. The last thing you want is for a tiny growth to take over your entire room!

Whenever you deal with mold, it’s important to wear proper mold protective gear. Gloves and a mask at the bare minimum! Also, if you or anyone in your home is allergic or reacts negatively to mold, call a professional rather than deal with it yourself.

Test It

There are lots of different types of mold, some of which look a lot like standard dirt or soiling. On porous surfaces especially, it’s important to know if what you’re dealing with is mold, mildew, or just dirt.

Mold vs Mildew

While they share many of the same characteristics (like to grow in dark and moist areas, comes back after cleaning, both are types of fungi), it’s possible to tell the difference between mold and mildew. According to mold-advisor.com, mold is “usually fuzzy in appearance”, while mildew “may appear powdery or downy.” Both can cause damage to your home, and both can adversely affect your family’s health, so it’s best to remove both when you see it.

To determine on your own if a dark spot is mold, there are many different types of test kits available. Make sure to carefully follow all directions to get the most accurate results.  

However, it’s always advised that you get a professional evaluation whenever you suspect mold is growing in your home.

Remove It

There are two options when you find mold during spring cleaning: DIY, or have a professional remove it. Each option has its advantages:

DIY

If the spot is relatively small and you know exactly what you’re doing, you might be able to tackle it yourself. You may have tried to clean the spot with standard cleaners, and if it’s mold, it has grown back. Soap and regular cleaning products don’t adequately deal with the spores that mold produces, leading to the growths reappearing – no matter how hard you scrub. That’s why using the correct mold-killing product is essential. Here’s how to use the three most popular mold-killing products. Please note that these products will only kill the mold they come in contact with, so use them only on non-porous surfaces. If you have mold on porous surfaces, like drywall, contact a professional mold remediator!  

How to kill mold with Bleach: Mix 1 part bleach with 10 parts water and apply the solution to the mold growth using a spray bottle or washcloth. Let dry, repeat as necessary.

How to kill mold with Vinegar: Take undiluted vinegar and apply it to the mold growth using a spray bottle or washcloth. Let it sit for 30 minutes to 1 hour, then rinse with water. (The vinegar smell will dissipate quickly with adequate air flow)
How to kill mold with Borax: Using a HEPA filtered vacuum, vacuum up the loose mold and mold spores. Mix 2 parts borax with 5 parts water and scrub the mold growth with the solution. Let dry, repeat as necessary.

Hiring a Professional Mold Remediator

It’s always advised that you hire a professional mold remediation company whenever you encounter mold in your home. An professional will be able to accurately determine the extent of the mold problem and offer you expert evaluation on what it will take to completely remove the mold growth. Another benefit is that a seasoned professional will know what steps to take to prevent the mold growth from coming back, including spore containment and air purification, so that you don’t have to keep dealing with the same problem. For your own peace of mind, hire a professional at the first sign of mold!

Prevent It

Killing the existing mold found during spring cleaning is only the first step in having a mold-free home; you also want to prevent mold from growing in the future, so that you’re not dealing with the exact same issue next spring!

There’s a reason you found mold growing where you did, and if you don’t limit the factors that contributed to the growth, guess what? It’s going to come back, and you’ll be starting from square one all over again! Nobody wants that!

When considering the mold found while you were spring cleaning, keep in mind the three factors that mold needs to thrive:

  1. Oxygen
  2. Organic Material
  3. Moisture

Since Oxygen is everywhere in your home, the last two are the factors you want to focus on. Mold uses Organic Material as a food source, drawing energy from plants, animals, droppings, old food, you name it. Limiting Organic Material is as simple as keeping the area clean, although this may be more difficult in hard-to-reach areas.

That’s why controlling Moisture is so important. If you can keep an area dry, it’s much, much less likely that mold will be able to grow and proliferate. Locating the source of the unwanted moisture will go a long way toward preventing your mold problem from coming back next spring: check your flashing and plug any holes, look for leaks in your plumbing, run a dehumidifier in the basement, and make sure your bathrooms are properly ventilated.

Air flow is key, especially for naturally humid areas of your home (like bathrooms and basements). With melting snow and increased rainfall, spring time is the worst time for unwanted moisture and humidity!

With these tips in mind, clean your home without fear! If you find mold during spring cleaning, you’ll be confident that you will know the best way to get rid of the unwanted intruders, and who to call if things look too complicated. While it’s always best to call a professional, you’ll know what to do when you encounter mold with this guide and other resources available on this site. Happy Spring Cleaning!

Do you have questions about possible mold in your home? Call the experts with 45+ years of Michigan mold remediation experience! Modernistic is here for you and your mold growth problems.


3 Disgusting Facts About Mold

Posted Friday, April 20th, 2018

facts about mold remediation

Untreated water damage in your home is dangerous for a lot of reasons, but one of the more repulsive risks comes from what grows in a water-damaged environment: Mold. Green, brown, black, slimy, grimy, nasty mold. Don’t think mold is a big deal? Here are just a few disgusting facts about mold that will convince you otherwise. Mold can…

…begin growing in as little as 24 hours!

There are only 3 things that mold requires to start growing: moisture, oxygen, and organic material. Left untreated, standing water can quickly become a breeding ground for mold spores. In as little as 24 hours, mold will form under these ideal conditions.

What you can do: Basements, bathrooms, kitchens, and other rooms with plumbing and/or high moisture are particularly susceptible to mold growth, so be especially vigilant in these areas! If you see any dampness, moisture, or water in or around porous materials (like drywall), take care of it (or call a professional) as soon as humanly possible.

…be dangerous to your health!

While some strains of mold are completely harmless, you definitely don’t want Aspergillus or Stachybotrys (Black Mold) proliferating in your home! These are only 2 of the thousands of strains of mold that cause adverse health effects; they’re just the most common. Besides looking gross, the Institute of Medicine (IOM) found that these varieties of mold have been known to cause upper respiratory tract symptoms, cough, wheezing, and increased risk of asthma and asthma-related symptoms. And that doesn’t even touch on people who are allergic to mold spores! Severe reactions can range from fever and shortness of breath to mold infections in the lungs. Not fun!  

What you can do: Reduce your risk of mold formation by removing water and drying flooded areas as soon as possible. Bacteria exist on a microbial level, so it can hide anywhere: beneath carpet, under baseboards, in drywall, between strips of moulding – anywhere water, organic material, and oxygen all reside. That’s why it’s critical to make sure every square inch of the affected area is dried as thoroughly and quickly as possible!   

…number in the trillions!

Mold spores are microscopic and cannot be seen with the naked eye. A mold colony can produce trillions of these spores, and they all spell bad news. Once a colony starts producing spores, the slightest disturbance sends these tiny “seeds” airborne, spreading them throughout an area. Think the cow in “Twister”, except there’s a few hundred million more flying around.

What you can do: Unless you have had extensive mold removal training, call a professional. A certified mold remediation specialist will take the necessary precautions to ensure the mold doesn’t spread and make the growth problem worse. Containment is the name of the game!

Bottom line, what you don’t know about mold can hurt you, especially if you try to clean it up yourself. It’s not advisable to DIY; let the mold remediation experts save your home, your health, and your sanity!