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Over time, all homes exposed to excessive moisture often develop mold and mildew problems. In the Ozarks, moisture-related mold growth can occur in any type of house. The problem is more likely to occur in older homes because moisture more readily seeps through cracked foundations and leaky pipes, even inside walls.
Also, these microorganisms literally eat away at its host surfaces: wood, drywall, grout, and all porous or semi-porous substances. Unchecked mold infestations can cause structural problems, something that we at Courtesy Care want to help you avoid. If you live in an older home in Bella Vista, chances are you’ll see evidence of mold somewhere in (or outside the house like siding or shingles.)
Molds reproduce by means of tiny invisible spores that float through the air. Some are harmless, and others can cause health problems. While small amounts of indoor mold growth are expected, uncontrolled growth can exacerbate allergies and existing respiratory problems in healthy children and adults. Fortunately, toxic molds are rare, usually occurring only in indoor environments that have been damaged, flooded, or closed up for long periods of time.
The two main types of toxic molds are Stachybotrys chartarum, better known as black mold, and Memnoniella echinata. (The main difference is how they grow. Black mold appears in splotches, while Memnoniella appears in chains.) Both grow on wet cellulose materials in hard-to-see or -reach places, such as the back sides of walls, wallpapers and textiles, crawl spaces and other enclosed cavities, and ventilation ducts.
Older bathrooms almost always have mold. Small amounts of visible mold, like the kind that builds up in the shower, can be addressed by removing the moldy caulk and resealing the affected areas with new caulk. If there’s no ventilation fan in the bathroom, add one or more. If the mold has penetrated the wallboard beneath—a common result in bathrooms and kitchens—a more serious repair is in order.
Check all around the home including the caulking around leaking windows. Standing water in gutters holds moisture close to the house and can lead to leaks that may ultimately trickle into interior walls. Leaks around windows can compromise plaster and drywall.
Look beyond finished rooms to the attic and basement or crawl space. Leaks in out-of-the-way places can go for years without notice, creating an optimum environment for mold.
If you do find visible mold, you can clean small areas yourself, provided the mold isn’t one of the two toxic varieties (both are black in appearance). On hard surfaces like wood, plaster, or wallboard, scrub the mold off with detergent and water. Let dry completely before painting.
Molds are living organisms, so they can be killed by biocides such as bleach. Generally, however, don’t douse with poisons if the moisture problem hasn’t been addressed. Mold will come back whether or not the area has been cleaned with bleach. Call Courtesy Care for help solving the underlying water problem.
If 1) the patch is greater than a few square feet, 2) you suspect toxic mold, or 3) the mold is hidden, call in a remediation professional. If the problem is in air handling vents or duct work, do not attempt to investigate it yourself; do not use the system until it’s been checked out. If old wallpaper is suspect, don’t peel it off unless you are wearing full protective gear. If there is mold growing on the underside of the paper, removing it can release a massive amount of spores into the air. If the mold has impregnated materials that are absorbent or porous, such as carpet, drapes, or upholstery, it may be impossible to clean it up yourself.
Whether your mold was caused by a flood, a broken pipe, or poor ventilation, Courtesy Care is ready to help. In addition to cleaning up the mess, we will do everything we can to eliminate the spread and cross contamination of mold in your home.
Our experienced technicians are background checked and subject to drug testing to ensure your safety in your home. We pride ourselves on the courtesy and care our technicians display, especially during those stressful times. With onsite technicians and our office staff working behind the scenes, we assist you through the complete cleaning and restoration process. For help with your water damaged home in Northeast Oklahoma and Northwest Arkansas, contact us.