It is a common problem that plagues all types of homes. While mold can be found visibly growing on the outside of siding, it is most dangerous when it is found hidden under siding. Often unbeknown to the property owner, mold can quickly spread causing a wide range of problems that can be costly to remedy. Knowing the right way to locate mold and determine its underlying causes can help minimize the damage. Learn more about the dangers of hidden mold under your siding and how to know if siding repair or replacement is necessary.
Why Mold Grows
Mold is living fungi that can be found on the exterior and interior of homes. However, the right conditions must exist for it to grow. Mold prefers warm, damp, and humid conditions which allow it to effectively proliferate and spread. The fungus reproduces by mold spores, which are carried by air currents. Mold can grow on nearly any surface where moisture is present, including the underside of siding where moisture is present. Once mold has begun to grow, it can be difficult to get rid of as disturbing it releases more spores into the air.
How Mold Gets Under Siding
There are a number of ways mold spores, along with moisture, can seep under your siding. For example, cracks or tears in the butt-joints are the perfect entryway for all types of fungi, along with critters looking for a warm place to stay. Window headers are another area where water and mold spores can enter your siding. As water flows off the roof, it is important that it is channeled away from the headers using flashing. However, if the flashing is broke or not properly attached, water can seep behind the siding allowing mold to grow.
Hazards of Mold
Allowing mold to continue to grow under your siding can have a number of consequences. First, it can have a major impact on your home’s structure and integrity. Mold feeds on organic materials, such as wood, paper, and certain types of glue. Over time, mold will literally eat away at materials like drywall, wood studs, and floorboards, causing them to rot. If left unchecked, floors, ceilings, and even walls that have been impacted by mold can actually collapse creating a major safety hazard for those living in the home.
While it would take a long time for mold to destroy your home enough to cause components to collapse, it does not take too long for mold to ruin materials beyond the point of siding repair. Mold can be especially dangerous if it finds its way into your home’s heating, ventilation, and air conditioning systems. Not only is mold difficult to remove from small areas like vents, airflow through these vents can force mold spores into the air. When those living in your home breathe in these spores, they can experience a wide range of health problems.
Respiratory tract symptoms are quite common in individuals living in homes where mold is present. Coughing, swelling of the throat, and wheezing are just a few of the symptoms you may experience. While anyone who has been exposed to mold can experience these problems, those with allergies or asthma are most at risk. Breathing in contaminated air when you are already hypersensitive can result in serious lung infections and chronic illnesses. Mold growth can also cause other uncomfortable symptoms, such as irritability, lethargy, difficulty breathing or sleeping, and rashes. Those with allergies or asthma often find that their symptoms have grown worse since the mold has developed.
There are several other reasons why mold growing under your siding can become a problem. It is important to realize that mold found on the outside of your home does not always stay outside. If mold is allowed to spread without removal, it will sooner or later find its way deeper into your home. If you are planning on selling your home at any point in the future, know that the presence of mold can also bring down the value of your property. Even if you cannot see the mold just by looking at the home, an experienced home inspector will likely discover it.
Prevent Mold on Exterior Surfaces
There are various things you can do to help prevent the development of mold under your siding and on the exterior of your home. First, inspect your rain gutters and down spouts on a regular basis. Over time, gutters can collect leaves, twigs, and other debris. If the gutter system is not able to do its job by channeling water off of the roof and away from the property, it will eventually overflow with water. Moisture is much more likely to seep into your siding if water is allowed to run down the side of the house.
When possible, it is idea to use materials that are less susceptible than wood to mold, such as stone or brick. However, if mold already exists under your current siding then you must take care of the problem before replacing it with a new material. Mold found under siding typically requires siding repair or replacement. If the mold problem is very limited, siding repair may be enough to prevent further damage. However, if the mold has caused damage to the siding or underlying components, you will want to consider investing in siding replacement to ensure that you have a healthy and safe environment.
Schedule a Free Estimate
Once mold has the chance to settle, it can grow on nearly anything including sheetrock, wood, paint, and other building materials. If mold continues to spread over a long period of time, it can ruin everything from outdoor furniture to entire landscapes. The most common molds you are likely to observe on your home are white or blue-green in color. However, know that mold can present in other colors, such as gray, pink, or black. For more information about siding repair or replacement, or to schedule a free estimate, contact a professional siding replacement contractor.