Mold Removal: Structural Materials

After a flood it is imperative to dry out building materials. Sometimes materials will act as a vapor barrier and prevent drying. This can happen when vinyl wallpaper covers drywall and can lead to hidden mold infestations.  These areas may need to be accessed for mold removal or to evaluate water damage.

Mold removal from ceiling tiles

Within two days after water damage wet ceiling tiles need to be removed. If only two or three tiles are wet it may be possible to air dry and reuse the tiles.

Mold removal from insulation and drywall

Mold Removal Structural Materials - mold on insulationWater damaged insulation and drywall also needs to be taken down within two days of contact. The Association of the Wall and Ceiling Industry (AWCI) advises that wall should be cut about 15″ above the water mark. Wet insulation makes an ideal home for mold infestations so dispose of anything that has come close to contact with water.  Foam insulation is the exception because it can be effectively cleaned and dried. After cleaning, spray on a bleach solution and allow to dry.

Mold removal from plaster

Plaster wet from clean water needs to be dried out within two days. Minerals in the plaster may create a chalky surface that needs to be removed and the wall will have to be dried.  When moistrue has penetrated the plaster it should be removed. When only a part of the wall has been wet it can be cleaned with a biocide or disinfectant. If you detect a musty odor coming from the plaster there is a strong possibility that there is mold growth which will require  proper containment and removal.

Water damaged wall paneling

It is possible to clean and dry wall paneling fabricated from of vinyl laminated woods. Wafer board or particle board made wet from black or grey water needs be thrown away. Walls that appear swollen or stained also need to be discarded.

Any walls that had been submerged need to be cut back to the studs 15 inches above the water line. Everything within the wall cavity needs to be inspected for water exposure; studs, outer walls, insulation and wiring. A ceiling underneath a flooded floor needs to be opened and checked; if there is water, it will require remediation.

Mold removal from floors

 Non-pourous flooring such as hardwood, laminates and vinyl can usually be cleaned and dried successfully. It is important however, to inspect and ensure that water has not seeped under moldings or through seams or edges.
Different sub-floor  constructions such as decking or concrete flooring will respond to water damage differently, depending on porousness and other factors. Regardless of the material, immediate evaluation is necessary with a thorough cleaning  and drying. Clean concrete surfaces (walls and floors) with detergent and followed by bleach. If they are adequately dried they should be safe from mold growth. When concrete has been exposed to grey or black water, cover the exposed surfaces with tri-sodium phosphate.