Mold is a natural part of nearly every environment. Spores travel freely through the air and settle on surfaces. They can also penetrate porous walls, carpeting and upholstery. Of course, that doesn’t mean you should encourage them to take up permanent residence in your home. Luckily, most types of mold are relatively harmless. Black mold is one of the more troublesome types of mold widely found in homes, and it causes concern among many property owners who see its telltale patchy, black appearance on their walls.
Learn more about black mold, how it establishes itself on walls and how you can safely and permanently eliminate it.
Many types of mold are black or dark in color. However, most people refer to a particular strain, known as Stachybotrys chartarum, when they use the term. It can be several dark colors but usually appears black. Many people describe this mold as gelatinous. Because of its high moisture content, it often seems to have a slimy layer coating it. When it dries out, black mold can take on a pale or powdery appearance.
Despite numerous anecdotal reports that S. chartarum causes serious health problems, the available scientific evidence supports few of them. That doesn’t mean you want to let it grow freely within your home or office. On the contrary, you should take steps to discourage any mold growth on indoor and outdoor surfaces.
Like other forms of mold that multiply with microscopic spores, S. chartarum is particularly well suited to infiltrate porous surfaces, like those found in drywall, wood and carpeting. Unlike some others, S. chartarum needs a constant supply of water to survive. High humidity levels or condensation are not enough to sustain black mold’s active growth, although it can go dormant in dry conditions and revive when adequate amounts of water return.
How Black Mold Establishes Itself on Walls
Black mold is most commonly found on materials with high amounts of cellulose, such as paper, drywall and fiberboard, which is why it often grows on walls. Spores settle onto the surface and get embedded in the minute openings. When exposed to a steady water supply, such as a leaking pipe or foundation leak, they begin to consume the sugars and starch found in the cellulose.
Once the black mold is actively growing, it begins to reproduce and colonize the surface. It takes S. chartarum roughly eight to 12 days to establish itself on a surface. However, once it does, it usually outcompetes any other molds present as long as the water supply is maintained.
Preventing mold from establishing itself is far preferable to having to undertake a mold remediation project. Removing moisture is one of the best ways to prevent an excess of mold growth. Because black mold is common in warm, moist areas, basements, attics and crawl spaces are likely targets.
Many mold species look similar and several can be easily confused for S. chartarum. If there is mold in your home that you suspect might be black mold, have it tested to determine the species definitively. You can then decide on the best course of action for mold removal.
FAQ About How to Remove Black Mold From Walls
Mold is a serious topic, and people have lots of questions about how to remove it safely. Here are a few of the most common ones we hear, along with our answers to them. Remember that moldremdiation.io is an excellent resource for more information about black mold and proper mold remediation techniques.
Contrary to popular belief, merely drying out the area where S. chartarum is present is not enough to kill the mold. Instead, it must be treated and removed. In many cases, that means treatment with a special cleaning solution and a mold inhibitor. However, severe mold growth may require larger demolition projects to remove drywall and even wooden studs in extreme situations.
Several products effectively kill S. chartarum. Standard household bleach is probably the most commonly used, especially when homeowners undertake remediation efforts. Unfortunately, it can cause respiratory system and skin irritation and may be harmful if there is not adequate ventilation in the treatment area. It is not the only option, however.
For minor infestations, a few common household cleaners may be sufficient. Vinegar is a favorite mold treatment, although it may not penetrate deeply into porous wall surfaces. Hydrogen peroxide is also widely used to kill many different types of mold, including S. chartarum. The most effective solution will be a commercial mold retardant and growth inhibitor. This is the method used by our mold remediation professionals at Mold Remediation.
Many homeowners attempt to perform mold remediation themselves. According to the EPA, this is probably safe for smaller patches of mold growth. However, the agency cautions against tackling larger areas of more than 10 square feet. In those cases, a professional should be called in for the safest and most effective solution.
The treatment area must be sealed off from adjacent rooms to eliminate the spread of spores. Proper ventilation and airflow systems should also be used and debris and contaminated materials should be removed directly to an outside area instead of carrying them through the house to reduce contamination.
The best solution for permanent mold removal is to address the underlying problem allowing moisture to accumulate. This can vary depending on where in your home the mold is growing and what is fueling it. A few of the most effective methods to consider when trying to keep mold from returning include:
This is a strongly contested debate. While there is no substantial evidence that normal levels of mold cause serious illness, most medical experts agree that an overgrowth of mold or prolonged exposure to it in the environment can lead to adverse health consequences. In most instances, it is primarily associated with an increase in respiratory symptoms like sneezing, coughing and wheezing. It may also cause rashes, fatigue and headaches, and exacerbate allergies and asthma.
Mycotoxicosis, or mold poisoning, occurs after prolonged or extreme exposure to the poisonous byproducts of black mold known as mycotoxins. Although most of the negative effects of these chemicals result from consuming contaminated food, this study showed that very high levels of mycotoxins produced by S. chartarum led to serious health complications for residents in contaminated buildings. For those reasons, mold growth should be prevented as much as possible and treated as soon as you notice an infestation.
Sleeping in a room with mold actively growing on the walls is not a good idea. In addition to typical mold exposure symptoms such as coughing and sneezing, it may interfere with your ability to get a good night’s sleep. That can lead to sleep deprivation and further aggravate any symptoms or underlying health conditions. It is not advisable to leave mold growing on walls in bedrooms. Because you spend extended periods in the same room while sleeping, any exposure levels are automatically prolonged.
Find Professional Mold Remediation Services
Black mold in a home should be addressed quickly and correctly. At Mold Remediation, we have the latest technology to remove severe mold infestations properly. Additionally, our mold remediation professionals know the best methods for containment and removal of mold spores so they do not contaminate surrounding areas during removal. Contact us today to learn more about our mold removal services.
Hiring a professional mold inspector will give you peace of mind. Being in a position where you are uncertain as to the toxicity of mold in your residence can be extremely stressful.
At moldremediation.io, we pride ourselves on being quick, thorough and effective in how we communicate the mold remediation tests that we perform for our homeowner clients.