Can Mold Grow Under Hardwood Floors?
Mold is a common and unwelcome visitor in homes, but it can be especially devastating to hardwood floors. Mold loves humid environments like the one created underneath your floorboards after water damage or flooding.
It can take 24-48 hours or less for mold to begin growing. The time factor depends on the weather conditions and where the water damage occurred in the home.
Mold is a fungus that grows on organic material, such as wood. Depending on the type of wood and amount of moisture present, mold can be found growing underneath any type of flooring.
Mold can grow in your floors and cause significant damage. In addition to the unsightly stains, mold will eat away at any porous surface it is on which means that you could be spending money repairing or replacing a floor boards every time this happens!
How Does That Mold Get Under Your Hardwood Floors In The First Place?
We've already mentioned that mold under your floors can be a result of some type of water damage, that seems logical. But there are also other subtle ways that you can be contributing to the problem.
- Walking on your floors with wet feet (like after a shower or if you just got out of the pool or hot tub)
- Spilling water onto the floor from a drink or the sink, etc.
- If your pet is a sloppy drinker from his/her water bowl, all that spilled water may be seeping through your floors
Although these incidents seem very minor, if they are repeated time and time again, the continuous exposure can certainly help to create mold under your floors.
Mold growth is the last thing anyone wants in their home. It's dangerous for everyone, especially those with allergies and sensitivities to mold spores like children or pets. Moisture left on wood can cause this problem to grow- so be sure not leave wet items sitting around!
How Do You Check For Mold Under Hardwood Floors?
If you think mold is growing under your hardwood floor, there are a few ways to check it out.
First and foremost, mold can be found on top and underneath the sub-flooring whether it's plywood or concrete so don't focus all of your attention on the floors themselves.
These 3 signs may indicate that you have mold:
There's a musty smell in the air - Here in Georgia there are many homes with basements. And it's quite common to walk down to the basement area (if it it's open to the backyard) to smell a musty odor. This may be an indication of mold and that may be under your flooring.
It may not be visible, but floorboards can show you mold - If you suspect that there may be mold and you want to check the flooring, one of the easiest ways to do this is to pull out some floorboards where mold can hide.
Visible water damage - The most obvious sign that you may have a mold problem is if you notice water damage. Especially if that problem is on the floor or on the wall.
Water can easily run down a wall (even behind your drywall) and end up collecting under your hardwood floors.
If you notice any of these 3 signs - we recommend that you contact your plumber immediately to help you fix the situation.
Is Mold Under Flooring Dangerous?
Mold and mildew are fungi that grow in places where there is moisture or water. Though some molds are harmless, other types produce toxins which can cause asthma and allergies. Read our article on the different types of mold.
Yes, mold under the hardwood flooring is dangerous to your health.
Mold can be a dangerous health hazard for people with any of the following:
There are multiple types of mold that cause an array of problems from different respiratory infections to chronic lung conditions like emphysema and more. The bottom line is that you want it out of your home!
Mold has the potential to be dangerous, but for different reasons. It can affect people differently depending on their current physical state and immune system function. If you're not in good health or have a lowered immunity (elderly, small children), then it's important that you take precautions when dealing with mold exposure.
Exposure to mold can kill you if the conditions are right. If it's in a large amount, for an extended period of time and your health is not very good, then mold could be deadly to you as well.
How Do I Get Rid Of Mold Under My Floor?
To get rid of mold that is under your flooring, you need to...
- find out what caused it in the first place
- fix the cause (contact a plumber)
- once the cause is fixed you want to then remove the existing mold either yourself (if it's minimal) or have a mold remediation company come in and remove it for you
- replace any damaged flooring
These steps will require you to remove the furnishings from the room where the mold infestation is found and sometimes, you may also have to discard (or try to repair) items such as cloth covered furniture, rugs, ottomans, etc. if they have been in contact with any mold.
To remove the mold under your flooring yourself, follow these steps:
- After you've removed the furnishings from the room, seal the room off from the rest of the house.
- Before you begin the cleanup process make sure to wear an N-95 respirator / mask, gloves and goggles.
- Remove the baseboards and the damaged flooring.
- Mix 1 cup of Borax with 1 gallon of water in a large bucket.
- Get a brush and/or a broom. Dip this into the bucket and scrub the areas affected with mold.
- Wait for 15 minutes and then repeat the process.
- Wait another 15 minutes and then repeat the process again.
- After everything has dried, use a HEPA vacuum over the affected areas.
- Spray the affected areas with a light spray of the water and borax mixture. Allow it to dry for 2 days.
- Replace the flooring
As you can see, this is a long and multi-step process so you may want to consider using a mold remediation company to ensure that it is done thoroughly and properly.
Of course, don't do any cleanup until AFTER you have had a plumber come in to fix the issue that caused this problem in the first place.
Once mold has been found, it must be completely removed to avoid any chance that the spores could return later on down the line - which means removing it from under floorboards properly needs to happen right off the bat if you want things taken care of efficiently!
If you have any questions about mold growth in your home or are having some problems with it, call Atlantis Plumbing today at 770-443-8229. We are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.