Chances are you have come across black spots or powdered substances during routine crawl space inspections but didn’t know what it was. These are signs that your damp and exposed crawl space could be harboring mold.
Crawl space mold is a major cause of concern because it not only affects below-the-ground structures, but it also impacts your health. The sooner you understand what dangers you face and what kind of mold you’re exposed to, the faster you can act.
Crawl Space Mold – What are the signs?
Some homeowners in Orlando, FL, may not know the risks that crawl space mold poses to their health. Others might not be aware of the signs of mold. If you notice any of these signs in the crawl space, it could be an indication mold has taken over that space.
- Green/black spots or water stains on baseboards are a clear sign of moisture problems.
- Warped wooden floors, peeling wallpapers and a lingering musty smell are indications of a potential mold issue.
- Rotting/decaying wood joists or beams in the crawl space
- Unexplained illnesses accompanied by a runny nose, itchy eyes, persistent coughs, and breathing problems.
Types of Crawl Space Mold
As long as your crawl space remains humid and damp, you’re going to experience some kind of mold growth. Musty smells and patches of white powdery substances on floor joists or beams are all telltale signs. Look out for any of these types of mold:
White crawl space mold: This often forms on exposed soil and damp floor joists. Despite its color, this type of mold is no less dangerous and can produce toxins, so you should give it the same attention as black mold.
Black crawl space mold: It’s regarded as the most toxic type. Ther are two variants of it, and both produce mycotoxins that can cause allergies or worsen existing respiratory problems like asthma. They appear bumpy, fluffy or powdery, and are sometimes dark gray or greenish in color.
Yellow mold: This type feeds on organic materials including wooden structures, causing them to decay and weaken over time. Remove it as soon as you spot it as it will damage your house.
What Causes Crawl Space Mold?
A damp or humid crawl space creates the perfect conditions for mold to grow. Other factors that could trigger mold growth include damp soil, leaking water pipes and floodwaters. Venting also contributes to mold as it allows moisture to enter the crawl space. Since mold feeds on organic materials, damp wooden joists and beams are also likely to encourage mold growth. If any of these conditions are present, you need to resolve them fast. Otherwise, mold will grow and become a menace.
Is Mold a Health Risk?
Yes, it is. Black mold is the most dangerous type, though the other benign forms can also trigger health problems or worsen them. When mold takes over the crawl space, it releases toxic microscopic spores that can float into the living space. When you or your loved ones inhale them, it will trigger many problems including itchy eyes, asthma, bronchitis, and even migraines.
Mold can also make breathing a problem for your loved ones. Your lungs aren’t designed to inhale them. When they do, you could sneeze or cough persistently, and you may also find breathing very laborious. Your lungs will have to work hard just to ensure you get enough oxygen, and this may leave you feeling weak and exhausted. In highly sensitive people, exposure to mold can be life-threatening. So don’t take chances with your health.
Dealing with Crawl Space Mold
Considering how much of a threat mold is to your health, you have no option but to take precautionary measures to ensure it doesn’t grow or take over your crawl space. Your crawl space repair contractor may advise you to do the following.
Drain stagnant water: Remove any water that’s accumulated in your crawl space as these will cause moisture issues, which is a major contributor of mold growth.
Seal the crawl space: Your vented and exposed crawl space will take in moisture all year round, and this could be instrumental in enabling mold growth. Encapsulating the crawl space by covering the walls and floor with a thick polyethylene vapor barrier will stop water from the outside. Make sure you seal off any open vents.
Install a dehumidifier: Sealing the crawl space may block external water and moisture, but it won’t stop condensation. The answer to moisture buildup and condensation is installing a dehumidifier.
If you have a serious mold problem, get in touch with a mold removal company. They’ll not only remove black mold but treat your crawl space so it won’t recur. The cost of removal and repair can vary, so be sure to check with a professional company.
Worried that your vented crawl space could be encouraging mold? Schedule a free crawl space inspection and find out whether you have a mold problem or not. We’re happy to encapsulate your crawl space and help you install a dehumidifier to stop moisture buildup and condensation.