A common myth is that only old homes have mold problems. The truth is that mold doesn’t care whether your home is old or new. If there is a moisture problem, mold will just grow in a new home as it would in an old home. However, it is important to know that as the building materials age, they may become more prone to mold growth but unless there are moisture problems mold will not grow. The only logical reason why old homes are likely to have mold growth is that they may have had leaks here and there which have gone unnoticed for a long time.
Mold problems can usually be identified visually or through smell. Mold growth may often appear as slightly furry, discolored, or slimy patches that increase in size as the mold grows. The simplest way to detect mold problems is using your own senses. A musty odor is one indication. Not only is mold smelly, but can be many different colors from black and gray to orange and green. So, if you can smell musty odor you can assume you have mold problems. If you can’t see mold despite a strong musty smell, it may be necessary to look behind and underneath surfaces, such as carpets, wallpaper, cabinets, and walls. Care should be taken not to disturb the mold.
In cases where you cannot locate mold problems despite a strong musty smell, you may conduct air testing. If the test indicates a mold problem, you can determine what to do next. Your options include having a professional company locate and remove the mold. This might be best, depending on the severity of the problem. The problem could lurk inside a wall or be hidden in the ceiling.
Once a house has mold problems, all areas of the home must be checked, cleaned and dried including air ducts and basement crawlspaces. To prevent further mold growth, fix all leaks in roofs, walls or pipes that bring excess moisture into the house. Discard all moldy drywall, ceiling tiles and wet insulation. It is in the best interest of owners and occupants to work collaboratively to have the problem solved as soon as possible to prevent further risk to persons and property. The key to mold control is moisture control.
If you have a mold problem that is just in one spot it is possible to clean it up with soap and water or bleach. Mold that is everywhere or is in the walls or in places you can’t reach will require the help of a professional to clear up the problem. If ignored, a mold problem can spread quickly and cause devastating and irreparable damage to a home, office or other structure. More importantly, long-term exposure to mold can lead to health conditions such as respiratory illness.
Next time you are looking for a new home to buy, remember new homes are not free from mold growth if there are moisture problems.
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