Is there a nasty surprise lurking in your home, hidden but threatening your family’s safety? Every homeowner knows the dangers of mold, but oftentimes mold goes unseen until it has already taken a firm hold. An improperly built garage presents a perfect environment for mold to take hold, so we’ve gathered some information that every homeowner should know – why mold will grow in your home, what you can do to prevent it before it ever appears, and how to get rid of it if you do find some! Like garage doors, homeowners can do some of the simpler preventative measures and fixes, but for more serious problems it is always better to call a professional!
The first step to living mold-free is understanding your enemy! Mold typically forms in places that are moist, unventilated, and dark. That alone explains why people often find mold in their garages. The garage is usually the room of the house that people put the least work into maintaining, because they spend the least time in it. This leads to garages being unventilated and poorly maintained. Even if you do look after your garage (and the rest of your home) carefully, you won’t be immune to mold – taking these tips to heart will help, but there’s nothing you can do to guarantee that mold will never pay you a visit.
Keeping the garage dry is the simplest step to keeping mold out. Check all of your houses plumbing and insulation periodically to make sure that no moisture is leaking into the garage, especially if it leads to stagnant puddles in your garage or utility room. If you are building or renovating a new garage, consider using metal studs for the construction instead of wood. Metal is not totally immune to mold, but it is much more resistant that wood, and since it is not porous, mold can be removed easily if it does form. Metal also has obvious structural advantages over wood, which is why we typically recommend steel garage doors for our customers. Mold has a hard time growing on concrete floors (although it is not impossible!), but many homeowners paint their garage’s floors, introducing a much better environment for the mold. You can find mold-resistant paints at any home improvement store, and we recommend using these if you want to recolor your garage’s floor.
No matter what materials your garage is made of, moisture will be your main enemy. Ensuring that the garage is well ventilated, using dehumidifiers to keep the air dry, and keeping the garage’s roof in good condition are all ways to fight back. Leaks from a bad roof are a common way for water to find its way into your garage. It is critically important to fix the problem once you have identified it so that never returns. If your problem is a leaking pipe, have it mended. If you simply have too much humidity, either turn down your home’s humidifier or invest in a dehumidifier. If your roof is leaking, have it repaired.
No matter how much effort you put in during this step, however, you will never be able to keep all water out of your garage. Even just parking your wet car inside introduces moisture into the garage. If you ever get camping supplies or toys wet before storing them, they provide figurative hotbeds for mold to take root.
So what should you do if you’ve taken these precautionary steps but aren’t sure if you have mold? Obviously in bad cases you can see the mold itself, but oftentimes the problem lurks inside your walls, impossible to see. One way to detect mold can be thinking if you’ve had any persistent illness that may be related to the mold. This can include allergic reactions, headaches, itchy eyes, or flu-like symptoms. This can give you some indication that you have mold, and at the point your best bet is to hire a professional mold tester to examine your house. You’ll want to know where the mold is, and also what type of mold you’re up against – if you have a serious problem, this information will be essential to a removal company.
The only way to fix mold that has already set up in you home is to remove it completely. This is the kind of job that you generally want to turn over to a professional, because it is difficult and dangerous. If you decide to try and remove it yourself, there’s no guarantee that you’ll remove everything or find the original cause, and might have to hire someone in the future anyways. The very act of removing the mold will cause its spores to be released into the air, and if anyone in the house is sensitive to contaminants, can pose a serious problem. A high-quality mold removal company won’t charge you until after testing has confirmed that your home is mold-free, so ask about this option when hiring.
If you do decide to remove the mold yourself, look up further help online. Knowing the type of mold that you’re dealing with can still be helpful, and there are guides online that cover how to best remove all types of mold, which is beyond the scope of this blog. The one thing that we will comment is that practicing safety should be your first priority, and that at bare minimum, you will need a respirator mask and gloves to protect yourself.
As an important little note – it is impossible to remove all mold from a home. The goal is simply to reduce the mold to such a small concentration that it is no longer dangerous. Once the mold inside your home is at the same level of concentration as the mold outside the home, you’ve achieved basically the best level of cleanliness that you can expect. There are products designed to keep mold off of your possessions, such as the ones available from moldmonsterproducts.com, and those can help you with the odor and spread of mold.
The good news for garage mold is that the garage is the easiest room in most houses from which to remove mold. This is because most of the time, garages don’t share their outside walls with any other rooms, unlike interior rooms. Since mold removal often requires the surrounding wall to be removed (in order to both remove all of the mold and to identify and fix the source), the garage’s exterior walls present fewer problems during removal.
Furthermore, since the garage is not living space and most homeowners don’t spend much time there, the repairs afterwards don’t have to be as pretty. Although we’re always in favor of giving your garage a proper makeover, if you only use the garage for storage and parking, a simple drywall fix should be sufficient to repair anything removed because of the mold, if you’re not concerned with it looking pretty! A Plus Garage Doors can help you with any garage door repairs or installations, but we’ve seen enough garages to know that sometimes, what happens behind the garage door stays behind the garage door…