Mould requires minimal moisture to grow and can start colonizing in as little as a day. It can adapt to a wide range of temperatures and grow on inorganic surfaces like glass, tile or steel, though it needs to feed off organic sources such as drywall, fabric, insulation, wood or stucco. Mould spreads easily through ventilation systems and produces mycotoxins — poisonous, airborne substances that you, your employees and customers can breathe in.
Simply put, mould can be a hazard to your commercial property and overall business. It can also be identified, removed and prevented. Here’s how.
How to identify mould
Some common mould growth symptoms are:
- Stained ceiling tiles or walls
- Musty, earthy, or urine-type odors
- Black, brown, orange, pink, or green speckles around plumbing, grout, or tile
Some common causes of mould include:
- Leaky roof or flashing
- Flood or hurricane damage
- Plumbing leaks at drains and gaskets
- Lack of ventilation
- Faulty air conditioning, ventilation or heating systems
- Cracked or disconnected kitchen-appliance hoses
How to prevent mould
Mould is extremely difficult and expensive to eradicate, so take steps to prevent it by:
- Keeping your business property’s humidity level below 50%
- Use an air conditioner or dehumidifier as needed
- Ventilating properly with exhaust fans in kitchens (if applicable) and bathrooms
- Adding mould inhibitors to paints before application
- Cleaning bathrooms with mould killing products
- Using air purifiers
- Removing carpets from bathrooms and basements
- Repairing leaky roofs, walls and basements
- Cleaning, disinfecting and drying everything after a sewer back-up or flooding
What to do if you have mould
Cleaning mould involves identifying and removing the sources of excess moisture, then using the simplest cleaning method to effectively remove mould growth.
Small areas — Less than one square meter or 10 square feet of visible mould contamination
A healthy person can clean small areas by bagging and disposing material with visible mould growth while wearing an approved N95 disposable respirator, gloves and eye protection. As these materials are removed, check exposed areas for mould growth and clean as needed. Less-porous material like glass, plastic, concrete or metal can be thoroughly cleaned using a strong detergent followed by lots of water.
Moderate areas — One to three square meters or 10 to 30 square feet of visible mould contamination
Clean these areas using the procedures above but make sure to contain the mould damaged areas with well-sealed plastic barriers and the regular use of a HEPA (High Efficiency Particulate Air) vacuum.
Large areas — More than three square meters or 30-plus square feet of visible mould contamination
These require the expertise of a professional mould clean-up contractor.
Since mould damage isn’t typically covered by insurance, it’s important to be aware of the signs of mould and act quickly to prevent it from developing any further.