Home Improvements

Signs of Mould (And What To Do About It)

Mould is one of those things most of us have had to deal with at some point or another. With over 100,000 types of mould in the world, that isn’t surprising. It’s easy to miss the signs of mould when you don’t know what they are. 

Mould grows in wet, warm, and dark conditions. But sometimes it starts growing before you realise what it is! The sooner you realise you’ve got mould, the better. Here are some signs that you’ve got mould, and what to do about it. 

Signs of Mould: a dark browny-black mark that looks almost like rust on the underside of a pipe

Strange Smells

Mould is an organic matter that releases certain tell-tale scents. Often, before you see the mould itself, you’ll smell it. The smells start subtly, but over time they’re hard to ignore. 

Some of the best words to describe the smell of mould are musty, stale, damp, sometimes even earthy. 

Now, these musty smells aren’t exclusive to mould – often these smells are related to something like food waste or damp items you’ve left out a little too long. But if you can’t find a source of the smell, there’s a good chance you’ve got mould growing in the room. 

Close up of a cluster of mould spores

Worsened Asthma or Allergies

Allergies and some types of asthma are triggered by sensitivities to particles in the air. Mould is another huge trigger for allergies and asthma. Mould releases spores into the air, which is how it spreads to other locations. If you’re in a room with a high concentration of these spores, you’ll probably notice an increase in allergic reactions. 

Some common allergic reactions to mould particles:

  • Sneezing
  • Coughing
  • Nasal congestion
  • Tight chest and breathing problems
  • Itchy nose, eyes, throat
  • Irritated and watery eyes
  • Skin irritations and rashes, or dry, scaly skin

If you’re seeing an increase in allergic reactions in one or more of the rooms in your house, you might have a mould infestation. 

Woman coughing. Worsened allergies or asthma are one of the common signs of mould.

Constantly Sick

Long-term exposure to mould can make you sick. The most prevalent sickness is usually a combination of nonspecific symptoms, with headaches and fatigue being notable. Breathing problems like coughs or skin problems like acne also start showing up and are much harder to get over. 

Mug with a spoon in it, a pair of glasses, and a tissue box with tissues scattered all around the table.

Water Damage

If you’ve recently had water damage, it’s a good assumption that you’ve got mould growing nearby. Mould thrives in damp, dark, warm spaces. That’s why you’re most likely to find it in basements, bathrooms, or kitchens. 

But if you’ve had a leak or any kind of water damage, this will attract mould. 

Close up of mould in between ceiling tiles. Water damage is one of the most common signs of mould.

As a material, wood is easily waterlogged. This means that once water gets into it, it’s not easy to get out. The water eventually rots the wood, damaging its structural integrity and becoming a breeding ground for mould. 

Make sure you’re avoiding this fate by replacing and repairing any water damaged wood as soon as possible. Get in touch with an expert carpenter to assist you with this task. 

Man on a ladder fixing ceiling

Dark Stains

Sometimes it takes a while to realise what you’re seeing is actually mould. While we expect mould to look like brown, red, or even green and black fuzzy material, that’s not always the case. 

If you notice dark stains or marks showing up on your walls or ceiling, that’s the start of mould. These mould particles stay small and often even look like dirt or water stains. But if you don’t deal with them soon, they’ll keep spreading and become much harder to remove. 

Dark stains seemingly creeping up a white wall, which happens as the mould grows.

Bubbles in Paint and Wallpaper

Depending on the materials, mould can sometimes grow between the wall and the wallpaper or paint. As the mould grows, it releases gases, which would usually dissipate into the air. But when there is a layer of paint or wallpaper around it, that doesn’t happen. 

Instead, this gas pushes against the layer around it. This might look like small air bubbles showing up along a wall. They tend to cluster together, indicating how large the mould infestation is. 

This can also look like wallpaper or paint peeling away from the wall. 

Bright pink paint peeling off a wall, revealing brick and other paint layers underneath. Peeling wallpaper is one of the common signs of mould.

Strange Pet Behaviour

Much like humans can react to mould, its presence can also affect our animals. And since animals are smaller than humans, their reactions typically happen sooner, and can sometimes be even more severe. 

The symptoms will be similar to that of humans: fatigue, breathing problems, skin problems, appetite issues, and even vomiting. 

If your pets are acting strangely and you and your vet can’t figure out why, it’s worth considering that there might be a mould problem. 

Bull dog lying flat on the ground, looking sad

What To Do About Mould

Luckily, mould is typically relatively easy to deal with. 

Depending on the size of the infestation, you can either try tackling it yourself, or hire professionals to handle it. 

Both of these processes essentially involve: 

  • Identifying the mould
  • Drying it out 
  • Deep cleaning all surfaces
  • Waterproofing the area against future moisture

Waterproofing against future moisture might include hiring a contractor to fix any leaks that were making the mould infestation worse. 

Bright yellow sponge in process of cleaning something dark, covered in soap and suds.

Knowing the Signs of Mould

Once you know the signs of mould, you can keep an eye out and deal with the problem as soon as it comes up. 

Look out for strange smells and stains, worsened allergies, sickness in you or your pets, and bubbling or peeling paint. If you’ve had any kind of water damage in recent years, assume you’ve got mould somewhere near there too. 

But once you know the signs, it’s easy! Tackle the mould problem yourself, or hire the pros to do it for you. 

We’re here to help with all your home repair and improvement needs. Find a home pro now to get started.

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