Home flooding has recently become a large problem in several areas of the country with excessive rain and other extreme weather conditions. After your home has become flooded and the flood waters have receded, it is time to get busy to clean up your home of water damage and prevent as much mold growth as possible. Here are some tips to help you remedy mold and clean up some of the most commonly-affected areas of mold growth within your home's walls after flooding occurs.
Remove Moldy Materials
One of the largest areas in your home that can receive damage from flooding is in your walls and the materials behind them. Your walls are likely made of drywall, which is a plaster compressed boards that can turn into a mushy material when they become wet. They are also an easy surface for mold to grow upon, as they soak up and hold in moisture well. When you encounter any spongy wall materials or where water has obviously soaked, such as a high water line on the walls through your home, you can safely know it is best to remove the entire area of wall materials.
Use a pry bar to cut into and peel off wet wall materials. You can make a cut above the water line by several inches if you want to salvage some of your wall materials. If you are unsure of any electrical wiring behind your walls, it is best to shut off the electricity to your home or the room you are working on before you begin removing wall materials. Then, carefully begin peeling the drywall from the area to locate wiring so you don't damage it.
It is recommended to bag up any moldy materials, such as drywall, in heavy duty trash bags and tie the bag to reduce the mold spores from spreading further. Pull out any insulation behind the walls, as the insulation will have become water soaked and will no longer properly insulate your walls. The insulation also likely contains mold spores that will begin to grow if they have not already.
Repair Wall Interior
Check the wall studs for mold growth and moisture rot once you have removed the insulation and drywall. If you can push the end of a screwdriver into the wood, it is water damaged with rot and should be cleaned, treated, and reinforced with additional lengths of lumber. You can hire a professional contractor to rebuild your wall materials.
If you can salvage the wood in your wall, clean the mold from its surface with a solution of one part bleach to three parts water. Combine the solution in a bucket and use a scrub brush to clean the exterior of the wall studs. If the wall materials are heavily covered in mold, you should let the bleach solution sit on the mold for several minutes before wiping it. Then, wipe any visible mold growth remaining on the wood with the solution-soaked rag, then let the solution air dry on the wood. This will kill any mold spores on the wood. After the wood has dried, treat the affected lumber with a wood preservative to prevent further mold growth.
Once you have located all areas of visible mold growth behind your walls, be sure to check any questionable areas that may contain mold growth on the edges of the water damage. During a flooding situation in your home, mold spores can spread to and grow upon any damp surface. So even if the area was not underwater does not mean it did not become water damaged. It is best to check and clean mold from all areas before you replace wall and insulation materials to close up the area. Neglecting to complete this check for mold growth can allow undiscovered mold to grow untreated and cause you and your family health problems in the future. For more information, contact companies like Servpro Of Washington County.