It’s something many homeowners dread – moisture and mold growing within the walls of their property.
Fixing damp walls can be costly and time-consuming, so it’s important that you spot it early. If you’re worried about mold growth in your walls, these are the five signs to look out for.
1. Wet walls, floors, or ceilings
Wet walls, floors, or ceilings are a tell-tale sign of moisture growing in your walls. This can be caused by ongoing dampness or a recent leak.
If you suspect there might be a damp issue, have a feel of them for wetness and check your floors and ceilings too. Another less obvious sign of damp might be very cold walls, even if your house is warm.
Even a small leak can be expensive to repair, especially if it directly impacts your walls. Many take out home water damage insurance as support, to ensure the costs of water damage aren’t too high.
2. Musty smell
If your walls are suffering from damp, the first thing you notice might be the unmistakable musty smell created by mold and mildew.
If you can’t see mold or feel moisture in the walls, this smell is a strong giveaway that damp is present.
If the damp is extensive enough, the musty smell could also get into your furniture and clothes too.
While damp needs to be dealt with in the long-term, this guide to getting rid of musty smells from your home and clothes offers some great short-term solutions.
3. Discolored patches and mold or mildew
Many of us realize we have mold growth in our walls because we see it. Discolored and dark patches, black spots, and visible mold and mildew will make it immediately obvious you have a damp problem.
These patches are usually cold and damp to the touch.
Household mold can affect your health (see more here), so if you spot mold, mildew, and dark patches on your walls, don’t just paint over it.
4. Peeling wallpaper and bubbling paint
A lesser-known visual sign of mold and moisture in the walls is peeling or lifting wallpaper and bubbling or peeling paint.
This is caused by trapped moisture between the wallpaper or paint and the wall, forcing wallpaper and paint to peel away or bubble – which looks like small bubbles in the paintwork.
In modern homes, bubbling or peeling paint is common in rooms with a lot of moisture in the air and walls – such as kitchens and bathrooms.
It is not always a sign of damp, but it is something you should keep an eye on.
5. Condensation on windows
In the winter, it’s common to get some condensation on your windows. If, however, there is excessive condensation on your windows, especially if it is all year round, it could be a sign of mold growth and damp.
This happens when water vapor deposits itself on surfaces with a lower temperature – often your windows – and releases its moisture on the surface.
A dehumidifier will help with excessive water vapor and condensation in your home. This can help with small amounts of mold growth, but may not be a long-term solution.
Looking for Hidden Mold
Much of the time, mold will be hidden behind paint or wallpaper.
It also appears in spaces between walls, notably where water damage may have occurred recently.
There are a couple of home remedies that test for hidden mold.
One is to use a mold testing kit, but they’re unreliable and you have to submit it to a lab to get an accurate result.
The other way is to purchase a borescope.
To use one, you drill a small hole in a wall you suspect of being infected (because of recent water damage, etc.).
Then, you insert the borescope sensor and cable into the hole and check the monitor for signs of mold.
If you find areas of discoloration, then you likely have some mold.
It’s hard to tell on the borescope screen how far the mold has spread.
It’s a helpful tool, but odds are you’ll have to call a professional to get reassurance.
If you’re truly concerned, you should hire a professional to come in and search your home.
All you have to do is Google search mold tests in your area.
For example, searching “Mold Test in Pittsburgh” should render you a quality professional in the Pittsburgh area, where humid summers create mold problems for residents.
Hiring a pro is the best way to be sure that you either do or do not have mold in your home.
If they discover some, they’ll also be the best option for getting rid of it so you can get on with your life.
Test for Mold ASAP
It’s important to test for mold periodically, even if you don’t think you have any issues.
It can pop up without any signals, making you and your family ill and confused.
Don’t hesitate to call a professional to get rid of your mold problem.
A small inconvenience now will save you from big trouble later.