Water damage to carpeting is always troublesome. Even the smallest amount of moisture should be cause for concern when it comes to your flooring and your home’s environment. It doesn’t take much for mold to form and grow into an enormous problem. Mold can wreak havoc not only with property damage, but also with your family’s health.
Why is it Important to Remove Mold from Carpeting and Flooring
Mold is just plain nasty! Especially if it is from water damage. It can begin to grow and proliferate, most times unseen, within hours of exposure to moisture. Mold loves dark, dank, warm places. So carpeting, and the flooring materials under it, are the perfect breeding grounds.
Mold produces allergens and irritants which can cause allergic reactions. In some cases, it can produce toxic substances known as mycotoxins. It is an irritant which can affect the nose, eyes, skin throat and lungs, affecting both allergic and non-allergic alike. In extreme cases disease and death in humans and animals is possible. Basement carpeting that has been wet for a time, and carpeting in homes located in tropical, moist climates are at especially high risk of developing these toxins.
Recognizing and Identifying the Signs of Mold in Carpeting
Eradication and prevention of mold growth should be treated with extreme urgency. It is critical to recognize the signs of mold growth. Simply because there are no visible signs of mold on the surface of carpeting does not mean that mold growth has already begun. It only becomes visible on the surface in extreme cases, such as flooding or wet spots that remain for extended periods of time. Here are a few cases where mold growth has or will develop:
- Carpet that is wet or water damaged: Plainly stated, conditions are ripe for mold to appear. The carpet needs to be removed, cleaned and dried within 24 hours. Even this measure of prevention might not guarantee success. More than likely, the carpeting needs to be replaced.
- Noticeable mold growth: Mold is unseen at first, but it may become blatantly clear that mold is indeed forming. It would be wise to remove and replace the carpeting all together. The carpet should be examined completely on both sides to determine the full extent of growth and decide the next course of action.
- Mildew on the carpet: If there is any visible sign of staining, discoloration or noticeable odor, mold is most likely present.
- Moist or wet padding underneath carpeting: Any moisture that has affected the carpet has most likely affected the padding beneath. Likewise, if the padding has been initially exposed to moisture, it will permeate the carpeting on top as well. Replacing the padding is necessary, but the carpet most likely will need to be replaced as well.
- Basement carpeting: Carpeting and padding in basement levels is at an eminently high risk as humidity and dampness are usually extreme. In these environments, various temperature swings will produce abundant condensation.
- Odors and discoloration: There are many causes for stains and odors on flooring. If there is a palpable smell or distinctive discoloration visible, samples from the affected area should be acquired and sent for analysis to determine if indeed it is mold.
Ways to Prevent Mold Growth in Carpeting
The most effective way to battle mold contamination is to prevent it from initially occurring. Here are a few suggestions to aide in the prevention of mold growth:
- Smart flooring installation: Avoid areas of the home which may be susceptible to increased moisture or humidity, such as basements and bathrooms. These areas are prone to consistent exposure to moisture and are proven breeding grounds for mold.
- Embrace good-quality padding: The old saying “you get what you pay for” works well here. Choose padding with anti-microbial qualities and solid, rubber slab padding. Although a bit more costly, it will be well worth it should there be any chance of water or moisture permeating the flooring.
- Remove standing water immediately: As soon as it is noticed, clean and dry above and below the area as quickly as possible. The longer the water stands, the less likely the carpet will be salvageable.
- Reduction of indoor humidity: Dehumidifiers remove a significant amount of moisture, reducing the catalyst mold spores need to thrive. 40% to 60% humidity is optimal for interiors.