How to Prevent Mold Growth After Water Damage
july 9TH, 2020 UPDATED 1:00PM CT
Water can do a lot of damage to your roof, but one of the main things you need to watch for is mold growth. When an area is damp and moist, it provides the perfect environment for mold to thrive and grow. And once that mold reaches the interior of your home, it won’t take it long to spread. This is why we need to deal with mold growth as soon as we notice it. But how can we prevent mold growth after water damage? Let’s talk about that.
The Problem with Mold Growth
Before we talk about how to prevent mold growth on your roof system, why don’t we first talk about why it’s a concern. Aside from the fact that mold is unsightly, it can also be hazardous to our health. Though mold doesn’t affect us all equally, it can cause symptoms like wheezing, a stuffy nose, and itchy eyes and skin.
Furthermore, mold can intensify breathing problems for those who already have them. People who suffer from asthma or COPD, for example, may experience exasperated breathing problems when they are in an environment where there is mold growth. Severe reactions can occur for people who are exposed to large amounts of mold and can include fever and shortness of breath.
But don’t think that just because you don’t have a pre-existing medical condition that mold can’t affect you. A 2004 health study conducted by the Institute of Medicine showed that exposing healthy individuals to indoor mold can result in coughing, wheezing, and other upper respiratory tract symptoms. Other studies have shown that early exposure to mold can lead to the development of asthma in children.
Where do molds live, and how do they grow?
Molds can live almost anywhere both indoors and outdoors – including on our roof. Mold spores are picked up by the wind and then travel and hit our roof. When conditions are right, these mold spores can then grow and multiply, leading to a mold infestation. Once it is on your roof, mold can enter your home through small cracks or holes and start invading your attic or other areas of your house.
Of course, mold comes into the house in many other ways as well. Mold can enter your home through open windows, open doorways, vents, and even heating and cooling systems. It can also be on clothing, shoes, and pets. In most cases, nothing will happen. But if there is excessive moisture where the mold lands, it will start to grow.
Roof surfaces, piping, walls, plants, or areas where there are leaks or floods all provide the perfect environment for mold to thrive. Molds also love building materials like wood, paint, wallpaper, carpet, and upholstery (among other things).
What conditions does mold need to grow?
Mold needs four conditions to grow:
2. Food (starch or sugar).
4. Ideal temperatures between 41 degrees and 104 degrees Fahrenheit.
If all of these conditions are ideal, it won’t take long for mold to spread throughout your home.
How do I know if I have a problem with mold?
When it comes to your roof, there are some signs that you can watch for that signal you may have a problem with mold:
1. Your roof is leaking. Many things can lead to a leaky roof – ice dams, damaged roof shingles or metal roofing, improper insulation, and so on. When there is a leak, there is a good chance that water has penetrated your wooden roof. If this is the case, there’s also a good chance that mold is starting to grow. Watch for visible water damages, discoloration of insulation, or condensation in your attic. These are all signs that you may have a leak, which means you may also have mold growth.
2. There is A Musty Smell coming from your Attic. Most molds that grow on a roof give off a strong, musty smell. Even if there are no visible signs of mold growth, mustiness is a good sign that it is there. If the odor is coming from the attic, you should be concerned about your roof.
3. You can visibly see the mold. Mold growth can come in a lot of different forms, and, depending on where it is, you may not be able to see it. However, sometimes mold growth is visibly evident. Mold often looks like dirt or soot and can be brown, black, gray, or white in coloration. If you notice the growth of anything that looks like mold on your roof or in your attic, consult a professional immediately – especially if it is combined with a musty odor.
How can you prevent mold growth?
The key to preventing mold growth on your roof is to keep it free of the things that mold needs to thrive. Unfortunately, you can’t prevent mold spores from landing on your roof. This will happen naturally with the wind regardless of how well your roofing is maintained. What you can do, however, is prevent the growth of mold by ensuring that it does not have the ideal environment to thrive. Preventative maintenance tasks can include:
● Fixing any leaky roofs, windows, or pipes promptly
● Ensuring that your roofing has proper ventilation
You can prevent the growth of mold in your home by cleaning and disinfecting regularly, as well as by running a dehumidifier to help control humidity levels.
How can you prevent the growth of mold after water damage?
The key to preventing mold growth on your roof system is to prevent water damage. But what if you already have water damage? Here are the steps you need to take if you have recently sustained water damage to your roof:
Step 1: Dry the area immediately
Wherever you see visible signs of water damage, dry the area as best as you can. Do not wait to do this. Mold does not take long to grow, so the sooner you can dry up the water, the better you can prevent unwanted growth.
Step 2: Remove any damaged materials
If there are any materials that cannot be cleaned or dried, remove them immediately to prevent mold growth and further damage. If insulation gets wet, this provides the perfect food for mold. Mold also thrives on other wet surfaces like wood and drywall. So if you have wet materials that can’t be dried, contact a local roofing company to come in and replace them.
Step 3: Be sensitive to odors
Just because you have dried the affected area doesn’t mean that mold can’t grow. There can still be water damages in places that are not visibly evident. Keep your nose peeled and be sensitive to musty odors for several weeks following the water damage. If you smell any musty odors coming from the area of damage, consult a professional immediately.
If you think you could have a problem with mold on your roof system, don’t wait to act. Mold growth progresses quickly, and before you know it, you could experience symptoms like sneezing, wheezing, and problems with your breathing. Have a roofing company come in and take a look today to ensure that your roof is protected against moisture and mold damage.