When the sheetrock in your home is exposed to water, there's always a chance for mold to form. It's important that you know when and if there is moisture in your sheetrock, as leaving it unattended can have major impacts on the health of your loved ones and the structural integrity of your home.
As a homeowner, you should know how sheetrock mold can form, the types of it that you may be dealing with, and the issues each can cause.
How Does Sheetrock Mold Form?
Mold requires certain conditions in order to form and multiple. The most important ingredient for mold growth is moisture and humidity levels of 70% or more. Since mold is a living organism, it also requires a food source. Unfortunately, drywall provides a perfect food source for mold spores. This not only allows existing mold spores to sustain, but it also gives them the fuel that they need to multiply. Also, like most living organisms, mold requires oxygen. Obviously, oxygen is all around us, so if you have mold in your home, it's not going to struggle to find oxygen. Finally, mold simply requires temperatures that fall anywhere between 40- and 100-degrees Fahrenheit. Those four elements make the walls in your home an ideal breeding ground for mold.
Sheetrock mold forms in areas with a lot of moisture. The growth of mold is sped up when that area doesn't get a lot of airflow, allowing the water to just sit. When many people think about mold forming on the sheetrock or drywall in their home, they automatically think of flood damage. While major flooding is becoming more of a problem across the United States than it's ever been before, weather-related flooding is only one of the ways that mold can form on and in your home's walls.
You don't have to go past your bathroom to find other opportunities for mold to form. It's safe to assume that you have a shower or a bathtub in the bathroom of your home. Those plumbing fixtures are affixed to the walls of your home, and on the other side of those walls, there are water pipes. Those pipes are responsible for carrying water to the appliances that you use. If one of those pipes becomes damaged and water starts leaking, it's almost a guarantee that mold will form.
There are other opportunities in your bathroom for mold to form, as the pipes that are responsible for carrying wastewater away from your tub and shower can also become damaged. Once again, these pipes probably go behind at least one wall in your home. If the damage becomes serious enough and water begins to pour into your walls, mold is going to form unless you catch the leak quick enough to have it repaired and the damaged pieces of sheetrock replaced.
The bathroom is only one area where sheetrock mold can form in your home. Virtually any plumbing appliance in your home can become damaged resulting in sheetrock mold. Washing machines, dishwashers, kitchen sinks, and everything else that relies on water can be responsible for mold. It doesn't take a catastrophic weather event to flood your home; a broken water line or damaged appliance can be just as dangerous.
Signs That You Have Mold in Your Home
There are several signs that you may have a mold problem in your home. Some of them are visible, some are not, but it's important that you know how to look for them. The first and most obvious sign of sheetrock mold is visible water damage on your walls. It's not difficult to look at a wall that has been exposed to moisture and see what has happened. If you see water damage on your walls, you should assume that there is a serious mold problem on the inside. These pieces of drywall should be replaced as quickly as possible.
Black spots and discoloration aren't the only visual signs of water damage and mold. If you notice wallpaper that is bubbling or paint is peeling, moisture is most likely to blame.
However, just because you don't see the evidence of water damage and mold in your home doesn't mean that you're not in danger. If you've ever walked in the basement of an old, uninhabited home, you may have noticed a strong musty odor. There's a good chance that mold is present in that basement. If you notice a similar smell in your own home, you probably have a mold problem.
While you should never try to remedy your own mold problem, you can do more investigative work. Get down on your hands and knees and start smelling around the electrical outlets in your home. While these aren't large, gaping holes, the musty odor of mold will be stronger around the holes in your home's electrical outlets.
Finally, there may be some medical symptoms related to mold that has been left unremedied for an extended period of time. If you or someone else in your home suffers from asthma, allergies, or another respiratory issue, these problems may be exacerbated if you have mold in your home.
Dangers of Sheetrock Mold
The dangers of sheetrock mold are numerous. Obviously, and most importantly, there are major health issues associated with having mold in your home. The health issues caused by sheetrock mold can also serve as a sign that you have a problem in your home. If you or someone else in your home starts suffering from the following symptoms, you should schedule a mold inspection as quickly as possible.
• Dry, scaly skin
• Post-nasal drip
• Nasal congestion
• Itchy nose, eyes, or throat
If anyone in your home is diagnosed with asthma, respiratory issues may become even more prevalent. The following symptoms can be tied to the presence of mold according to WebMD:
• Shortness of breath
• Constant, dry cough
• Tightness in chest
While those symptoms are certainly troubling enough, exposure to toxic mold like the kind that can form on your sheetrock can cause much more serious issues including memory loss, anxiety, depression, issues with concentration, insomnia, and confusion.
Obviously, the health impacts of sheetrock mold are the most important. However, it's also important to understand that mold can do damage to the structural integrity of your home. As we established earlier, mold requires a food source. If left untreated, mold can literally eat into the very structure of your home including your drywall and the wood that serves as the frame of your home.
What Can You Do About Mold?
No matter what you read online, there is no way for you to fully remove mold from your home on your own. You may have read that you can remove mold with a scrub brush and some potent cleaners, but that's not the case. Yes, you may be able to wipe away the visible spores, but mold thrives by getting into your sheetrock. If you have sheetrock mold in your home, the first thing you should do is call a professional mold remediation company.
Depending on the severity of this mold, don't be surprised if the mold remediation company requires you to replace the affected areas of sheetrock. While they can remove a large amount of the mold, they may recommend replacing some of the sheetrock in your home depending on how damaged it is. If you have to do this, you may be well served to replace your damaged sheetrock with EnduraFlood wall paneling. This water-resistant wall paneling is able to withstand water without allowing mold to form.
You should also schedule regular plumbing inspections to make sure that there is nothing wrong with your home's plumbing system. Having a professionally licensed plumber check out your home's plumbing once a year can be the difference in dealing with a major mold problem and being able to safely enjoy the comfort of your home.