Sub-floors and Mold Risk: What You Need to Know after a Leak

An overflowing sink or a slow leak inside a cabinet can pose a significant long term health risk to your family. Small leaks can even lead to a mold problem under your floors. Mold risk increases with the presence of moisture, and a slow, unnoticed leak creates the perfect conditions for this health risk to flourish.

mold risk

mold risk

 Carpets often let moisture through

The mold risk associated with a leak increases or decreases depending on the flooring of the room. A sealed grout and tile floor is far less likely to allow any moisture to get into the sub-flooring. On the other hand, carpets are more likely to let moisture through. For instance, if your carpets are sealed on the bottom, this adds a slight resistance to the moisture. However, it’s all but impossible to have a truly waterproof carpet flooring. If you notice a leak that’s been getting into carpet for any length of time, call a professional to assess the mold risk in your house or business.

Spongy sub-floors are perfect for mold

Unfortunately, once moisture gets into your sub-floor, mold is certain to follow. Mold loves spongy, cushioned sub-flooring. This pad makes it comfortable for you to walk around inside, but also holds moisture very well. The mold spores are already in the air in your home.

Once mold gets a hold under your floors, it’s very difficult for you to notice it. You may notice the symptoms of a mold infestation, but not the mold itself. Without any visual clue to guide you, pinpointing the exact location of the mold is a challenge. The spongy, airy structure of most sub-floor padding allows the mold plenty of space to colonize and grow. In fact, walking over the sub-flooring may be the mechanism that spreads the spores themselves.

Mold poses health risks in high concentrations

Following a leak, be on the lookout for mold symptoms. Mold risk is highest after leaks and unchecked moisture. This leads mold to grow and produce spores. Mold spores are all around us at all times. In low concentrations you won’t even notice them; the most that will happen is a sneeze.

In higher concentrations, mold spores affect the breathing of the old and young alike. In addition, anyone with asthma, reduced lung capacity, chronic bronchitis, or another lung condition is especially vulnerable. If allowed to grow unchecked, mold spores can affect even healthy adults with symptoms that start out as extreme allergy symptoms.

Did the leak get through?

If you’re worried that a leak may have gotten through your carpet’s water resistance you can test it yourself. Press on the floor around the spill. Does it feel spongier than the surrounding carpeting? Is there any sound such as sucking, slurping, or squishing? If you’re hearing sounds or feeling resistance there’s a greater likelihood that your sub-flooring is now sodden and your mold risk is skyrocketing.

Unbeknownst to many, even the smallest leak increases mold risk. Sub-flooring materials are the perfect place for mold to grow, spreading through your house and posing health risks to your family. If there’s any chance that your sub-flooring could be moldy, get a professional to inspect your property. A quick mold inspection doesn’t take long and will let you rest easy at night.

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