Finding black mold anywhere can be a serious problem. First of all, it means you have a moisture problem that will need to be dealt with immediately, and second of all, it can sometimes cause health problems for the people in living in the home.
Locating the Black Mold
- If you find black mold in one location, then it is always a good idea to look around for other areas of it as well to ensure that it hasn’t spread. If you find it on your dry wall, there are several things that you should consider.
- If there are people who might be bothered by the black mold’s removal, find a way to either relocate those folks for a day or two. People who might be bothered include those with sensitivities and/or allergies to mold spores, people who have chronic or recurring lung and breathing issues (such as lung cancer, bronchitis, emphysema, or asthma), and people with compromised immune systems.
- Determine how extensive the black mold problem is in the entire area and then assess the dry wall for damage. If either is beyond what you can safely handle on your own, bring in a professional for assistance.
- Before you go much further, it will be important to stop and determine where the water is coming from. Black mold comes from moisture and darkness. If you do not figure out the cause and then eliminate it, it will continually come back in the same place. It is worth the extra time to find the source and eliminate before doing any kind of repair work.
- Sometimes the cause of the water or dampness cannot be found until you remove the drywall. If the mold is coming from behind the drywall, you might have a very serious problem on your hands.
Handling Painted vs. Unpainted Drywall Affected by Black Mold
How you handle finding black mold on your drywall may depend on the condition of the drywall itself. There are many advantages of having painted and sealed drywall rather than just leaving it unpainted, as you will quickly see.
- Unpainted drywall is porous and will absorb black mold spores right through to the back surface. Once you find black mold on this kind of drywall, the only thing that you can do is to remove the affected section and then replace it.
- Keep in mind that drywall is one of the most finicky materials to work with. If you pick it up the wrong way or handle it too quickly it can break, often at the worst possible time. It can also break while you are trying to screw it into place. The bigger the piece that you are working with, the bigger the risks of these things happening. A large piece of drywall may need the work of two people – one to hold it into place and one to screw it in.
- Drywall must be cut out large enough to expose the wood behind it, so that you have something to screw it into. After reinstalling the piece of drywall, you will need to use joint compound (which is often simply called “mud”). That will need to sit and cure for roughly 24 hours before it can be sanded down. At that time, you will be able to paint the new drywall.
- If the drywall has been painted, you may not need to replace it, assuming that the black mold is not extensive and the water damage has not destroyed the wall itself. Start by cleaning a section of the drywall to see if the mold comes off easily and if it is going to leave a stain behind. Some commercial cleaners might be too strong for drywall, so use great caution. It might be better to use something that is far gentler such as a paste of baking soda and water and some good old-fashioned elbow grease rather than trying the most powerful thing you can find.
Disposing of Damaged Drywall
- After cutting out the damaged pieces of drywall, inspect the walls and wooden beams behind it. Is there mold there as well?
- Before replacing, find the source of the mold and eliminate it.
- Bag up the drywall that you have removed. Taking the bag out can be a challenge and requires extra care, especially if you must carry it through higher traffic areas in your home. You should be fine if the bag is heavy duty and you take care not to tear it as you go.
- Some communities treat drywall and other household, building materials differently than regular trash, so check with your local laws before hauling the bagged drywall to the curb.
- Vacuum the area thoroughly using a vacuum cleaner that has a strong filter so the mold spores are not spread around the room. Do not use a broom and dustpan because you will just contaminate the air with blowing dust and debris.
- If the drywall damage encompasses more than a few sections or there are corners involved, consider your skillset before you proceed. Drywall, especially in the corners, can be very difficult to manage. If you do want to go it alone, consider buying an extra sheet or two so that you are ready for the possible mistake.