If you smell a musty and damp aroma within your home, then it could be a case for mold, which isn’t always immediately visible.
Sometimes it will be very apparent on walls, ceilings, or furniture whereas other instances will see it hiding underneath floors within the crawling space, in roof voids or inside walls.
Whilst there are many types of mold that could be causing this unpleasant stench, there tend to be two main culprits within your residential abode, which are black mold and white mold.
Both can be detrimental not only to your overall health and wellbeing but also that of your properties. Left untouched, they will continue to grow and spread as the colonies of mold spores replicate and grow.
White mold is a term that encompasses several types of mold such as Cladosporium, Aspergillus and Penicillium.
Most Common Causes Of White Mold Growing In Crawl Space
White Mold is a relatively simple microorganism and requires three key components in order to flourish, they are:
- Food source
For the crawlspace underneath your home it is common for white mold to grow as the conditions tend to be ideal for it to propagate.
Firstly, it’s an area that can be prone to poor ventilation, resulting in more humid conditions retaining moisture in the air.
Leaking pipes and faulty plumbing or cracks within the foundations
tend to be the most common causes as they enable the water or moisture
to be present.
Then there’s the climate, for white mold to be grow the temperature needs to be between 2 -40 degrees Celsius.
Food sources that it enjoys most is dirt, which if it’s underneath your floorboards will be slipping down through gaps or crevices.
It also enjoys building materials typically such as drywall, insulation, wood or just about anything where it can colonise on carbon-rich materials.
White mold will also grow on soil, feasting on the dirt deposit and composing material.
So, if there is exposed soil and no vapour barrier underneath your crawlspace then it is providing the perfect home for the colony to set up shop.
White mold will tend to be either on the soil in your crawlspace or on the underside of your flooring joists.
Issues White Mold Under Your House Can Cause
When you’re dealing with a case of white mold there are a few main issues that you must be aware of.
Not only for your health and that of your home but also, so you’re better informed to plan in dealing with it.
Left untreated the white mold will grow, as long as it has the three components required there is no capped time period.
Living in damp and moldy conditions will impact the materials your home has been built with, deteriorating them and making it more susceptible for further damages or issues to arise.
Inside your property, the damp areas can spread and continue damaging your walls, blowing plaster or making your drywall crumble.
Interior paints and decorated areas will also be affected, sometimes they’ll clean up but be prepared o repaint these if mold has affected them.
Mold hiding behind wallpaper will result in it needing to be redone, you’ll have to remove the paper to treat the areas and get them cleaned up.
The damp and humidity will also encourage other organisms to come and feast on the fabric of your building, such as fungi and accelerates the corrosion of metal components.
Invasive pests can also be attracted to the same environments leading to further issues and cost to rectify, so all around it is best to deal with these issues as they arise and not give them a chance to get worse.
Worst case scenarios can see key structural timbers and supporting joists being weakened, sagging floors or collapsing areas entirely. This would take many years to happen.
White Mold in Crawl Space Can Also Affect Your Health…
Having mold in your home can impact your overall health and wellbeing as you inhale the spores into the respiratory system.
For both white and black mold the impact will still be felt, it can take some time for you to notice if it’s an issue in your home due to olfactory adaptation.
This is due to you becoming used to the smell of your regular surroundings and not noticing if the mold gradually becomes an issue, infrequent visitors would be able to tell you.
People who already suffer from breathing difficulties or have conditions such as asthma, COPD or pneumonia are even more at risk from its effects.
Babies, elderly residents or those with compromised immune systems are also particularly at risk from the impact of white mold in their homes.
Is white mold in crawlspace dangerous?
As you probably gathered it will impact your health, the level of severity is individual to each person but essentially yes it is dangerous.
Symptoms that may present due to white mold exposure:
- allergic reactions such as sneezing, rashes or mucus congestion
- sore throats and coughs
- struggling to breathe and wheezing
- sore itchy and irritated eyes
- fatigue and dizziness
Naturally, you’ll want your family to be in good health which is why the use of a professional clean up and treatment from a reputable company is recommended.
They’ll be able to test for mold spores before and afterwards to ensure the issue has been dealt with.
Health issues caused by exposure to white mold over a prolonged period of time can be tricky to deal with.
Once you’ve dealt with the cause of this it is advisable to seek guidance from a professional healthcare worker who can guide you through the proper protocols for detoxification.
How to Get Rid of White Mold Under Your House
When you look to deal with getting rid of the white mold under your house there are a couple of main options you can explore, we’ll discuss both in more detail but are essential:
- Do It Yourself
- Get a Professional To Do It For You
if you’re able to get into the crawlspace underneath your house yourself and make an accurate assessment of the white mold this can form a useful starting point.
Often it can spread further than you’d have thought it will, across the soil or on the underside of your floorboards and joists.
Getting access to this area can be tricky, but is commonly accessed by a hatch, or lifting floorboards.
Should you choose to not do this, then you won’t be able to determine the extent of the problem.
Any professional company will have to make an assessment to provide an accurate estimate to deal with the white mold issues that you have.
To do this they may decide to use camera quotient if access is tricky, also they will want to take samples and identify the exact type of white mold you’re facing so the best solution is presented.
More often than not it is best to get a mold specialist to deal with the problem, also remember that if the cause hasn’t been dealt with the problem may come back at a later date.
Should you decide to tackle the problems yourself then you’ll need to be properly equipped to do so, we’d advise using the following equipment:
- Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)
should be worn, we advise wearing suitable gloves, goggles, and a good quality dust mask. Since you’ll be crawling around in the dirt a set of overalls or old clothes is advisable. Get changed out of them as soon as possible when finished and either washes them or bag the items up. They’ll have mold spores on the fabric, which are important to contain, so they don’t get breathed in by the rest of your family.
- Hoover with the brush attachment,
- hot water in a bucket with a bleach solution diluted
- a couple of cloths and a scrubbing brush, a couple of old towels for drying.
- Small shovel and bucket
- bin bags
Once you have assessed the extent of the white mold problem you are facing, here’s how to tackle it:
Getting rid of white mold on the underside of floorboards or white mold on joists in crawl space
- use your hoover with brush attachment first to remove the majority of the white mold, hoover bags must be disposed of after this, placed into a black bag and sealed
- use the watered-down bleach solution to scrub and wipe the wooden areas and remove the remaining aspects of mold
- dry these areas using your old towels as much as you can
Getting rid of white mold on soil in crawl space
- scrape the top layer of soil gently using your shovel
- immediately bag up the contaminated soil that is collected
- dispose of inline with your local authorities waste disposal regulations
If you’re able to install a dehumidifier and assist with removing moisture from the air that would also be very useful once it’s been cleaned up.
Preventing White Mold In Your Crawl Space
To prevent the white mold from forming within the crawlspace in your home you should ensure adequate ventilation, through vents or airbricks.
Keep on top of this by not letting it become blocked by outdoor furniture, shrubbery or foliage.
Visual inspections regularly of this, along with the foundations and damp proof course will assist in keeping your home in tip-top condition, alerting you sooner rather than later to potential issues
Preventative maintenance throughout your property and being vigilant with your detection strategies should help you keep on top of this matter.
If you’ve had issues with white mold, and they’ve been treated, the professional will advise any specific steps for your property to prevent the mold from returning.
Structural issues have been raised as a point for concern, they should be addressed swiftly to prevent the further spread or reoccurrence of the white mold.
Having a damp proof course covering the soil if it’s exposed will also be a step to take in the prevention of white old in the crawlspace.