How To Repair Moldy Drywall
Mold in living spaces has become a serious concern for many people. The health effects of living with mold are in debate, but it is agreed that mold, at the very least, can be an irritant to people. While mold should be removed for health reasons, it also should be dealt with to mitigate damage to your home. Mold grows in moist environments, and moisture is an enemy of many building materials.
Sometimes called black mold, it can be found growing in many places around a home. In this article, we address how to deal with mold found on drywall surfaces.
Mold can grow unobserved inside wall cavities. Some clues that there may be a mold problem include discoloration of walls, sponginess in drywall and peeling or bulging paint. If these symptoms are observed, it may be necessary to make an opening in the wall to check for mold growth. Of course, exposed walls can also display mold growth observed as a black powdery substance resembling baking flour.
If mold is discovered, wear a breathing mask before you begin clean up. Also, because mold spores spread through the air, open a window and set-up a fan to direct air outdoors. Turn off your home's HVAC and close the doors to the room. A HEPA air purifier can also add a level of protection against spreading spores.
Mold spores require moisture to grow, but they can survive in dormancy in dry environments. Therefore, it is important to clean thoroughly to get as many of the spores as possible. When dry, they are more prone to floating, so the first step is a light misting to keep them in place.
If the mold or moisture has visibly damaged the drywall, then the drywall should be replaced rather than cleaned. Cut it back just past the point where the damage begins. Depending upon the size and location of the repair, it may be best to cut it back to expose one half of a stud to the left and right for purposes of securing the drywall patch.
If the drywall is undamaged, then the mold can be wiped away with a bleach and water solution. Wear disposable gloves and clean with a disposable cloth. Once the drywall has dried, wipe it down again with another bleach solution and allow it to dry again.
Because of the mold growth, a source of moisture must have been present. It is very important to identify and resolve the moisture issue before completing the repair.
Finally, replace any drywall that you removed (see our drywall index for articles about drywall patching). Repaint surfaces as necessary and use a paint with a fungicide additive to minimize the risk of further problems with mold.