Is There Mold in Your Garage?
The garage is one of the most common areas Pure Air North Carolina will find mold during an inspection. There are a lot of logical reasons or this:
Little or no ventilation in the garage. The rest of your home is serviced by the HVAC system. Additionally, your home has windows, ceiling fans and exhaust fans that can be used to circulate air, but garages rarely have any of these things.
Moisture from vehicles. Driving a car into the garage when it has rain or snow on it immediately introduces a water source into an otherwise dry environment.
Vacation supplies. When you’re headed home from the beach or the lake, you probably don’t take the time to dry out your chairs, floats and toys. Then they sit untouched in the garage until next year’s vacation. This is an ideal condition for mold growth.
Hunting, fishing, camping equipment. The same is true for hobby equipment. If you store these items when they are wet or even damp, they can create a major mold problem in your garage.
Leaks and HVAC systems. The garage may not have water running to it, but it is surrounded by plumbing that services the rest of your home. Therefore, the garage is not immune to water leaks.
As you know, moisture is one of the key components needed for mold to grow. In addition to the introduction of moisture from the sources above, garages that are enclosed are also somewhat climate controlled - at least when compared to outside.
Mold loves dark, temperate climates where it can grow without being disturbed, and most garages provide that.
Your garage has a similar climate to the basement, another area that is notorious for mold growth if it is not carefully monitored.
Identifying Mold in Your Garage
Fortunately, mold in the garage isn’t as much of a health risk as it is in other areas of your home because you don’t usually spend as much time in the garage as you do the living room, kitchen, or bathroom.
However, air from the garage can end up circulating through your living areas, complete with mold spores and odors. As a result, you can still get sick from mold exposure, and mold can spread to other areas of your home in this way. Therefore, it’s important to be able to identify mold in your garage so you can eliminate it.
Mold will usually appear as black or brown spots in your garage, but it can also be streaks. These distinct markings can show up on the floor, walls or ceiling - anywhere there has been excess water.
Mold on Concrete
Mold doesn’t actually grow on concrete very well. It prefers organic materials that it can feed on, such as wood, paper, glue and upholstery. And since garages are most often concrete floors surrounded by concrete walls, it seems like this would be one room in the house that is safe from mold.
However, you’ll see it growing on the walls, and sometimes even the floor of the garage. Here’s why:
Pores that catch organic materials - Concrete has small holes, or pores, on its surface. Much like grout in the bathroom, concrete can trap dirt, water and other organic materials that mold can feed on later.
Painted garage floors - Mold can grow well on most types of paint, including those used for garage floors.
Mineral deposits that dry on concrete - Rainwater and especially snow carry minerals that wash over the soil. When precipitation ends up in your garage, it will eventually evaporate, but it will leave behind these minerals which can serve as a food source for mold.
How to Prevent Mold in the Garage
Preventing mold in the garage is much the same as preventing it anywhere else in your home. The main goals are to reduce moisture and eliminate food sources for mold. You can do this by doing the following things:
Choose mold resistant paint on the floors - Look for paint with anti-microbial properties to discourage mold growth. One upside of painting your garage floors is that if you do end up having mold growth, the paint is easy to remove and repaint.
Run a dehumidifier or fan - Running a dehumidifier in the garage at all times may not be a realistic option for everyone, but if mold is a huge problem for you, it’s definitely worth a shot. A fan won’t remove the humidity, but it will help evaporate excess moisture quickly so mold doesn’t have a chance to start.
Sweep out dust and trash - It’s very simple, but definitely worth mentioning: just keeping your garage clean will also deter mold growth. Mold feeds on dust particles which are mostly organic materials. The cleaner your garage, the less mold will have to feed on.
Remove Mold in the Garage
Although you won’t be spending ample amounts of time in the garage, you still need to get rid of mold that’s growing there so it can’t spread to the rest of your home.
Here are a few pro tips for removing mold from the walls, ceiling and floor of the garage, regardless of the material:
First and foremost, use protective equipment when removing mold. This includes gloves, an N-95 face mask, and glasses or goggles.
Scrub the affected areas with a stiff wire brush. You can use soap and water if you need something more powerful, but do not use bleach. Bleach, once thought to be the best way to remove mold, is no longer a recommended cleaner for mold on porous surfaces.
Use a scraper to remove paint that is contaminated by mold.
Vacuum up all the particles you scrub and scrape off, making sure to use a HEPA filter.
When the mold has been removed, clean the entire area with an anti-fungal and let it dry completely before painting or sealing.
If this all seems like too much work, you can always entrust Pure Air North Carolina and our patented demo-free mold remediation service in Charlotte NC.