Smell Mold But Can't Find it? Check Your Natural Stone Bathroom & Wall Tiles

4 August 2016
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If you smell the musty scent of mold in your bathroom but can't locate the source, you're probably not looking in the right places. Different types of mold species can grow inside and outside homes, including toxic black mold. The most common locations for mold growth include your bathroom's shower stall and behind the toilet. Condensation, moisture and water leaks are often causes of the growth. But mold can also hide beneath your bathroom's natural stone floor and wall tiles. Here's how mold grows beneath and behind bathroom tile and the steps you need to take to locate it.

Why Check Your Bathroom's Natural Stone Flooring and Wall Tiles?

Mold grows best in moist places, including around and beneath materials such as natural stone, that lack a protective, moisture-proof seal. If your flooring and wall tile are unsealed, mold may have a better chance to grow beneath them. Here's why.

Most natural stone material is porous, or easily penetrated by water and other liquids. The grout between your tiles should allow the material to breathe properly. Sealed grout absorbs the moisture in your bathroom and traps moisture instead. If you sealed the grout between your floor and wall tiles, you may have inadvertently made it possible for mold and other contaminants to grow. Unless mold spores travel to more visible areas of the bathroom, such as the glass on your shower stall, you may not know to look beneath your tiles to find it. In most cases, you may only smell the musty scent mold gives off as it grows beneath the tile.

The moisture beneath your floor and wall tiles will most likely spread to the wooden floorboards and sheathing they cover. Wood can rot over time if it stays damp. Because mold feeds off organic matter, it can grow well on damp wood. The mold can create dark blotches on wood or discolor it. If the problem becomes worse, mold spores can grow on the tiles' grout. However, it may be difficult to distinguish the mold from the grout if the grout is darkly colored or soiled with dirt.

One of the things you might do is do a preliminary test on your bathroom to see if it has a moisture problem.

How Do You Perform a Preliminary Moisture Test in Your Bathroom?

You don't have to wait for professional help to detect excessive moisture in your bathroom. You can use a pinless meter that electronically picks up excess moisture in the flooring, or you can use a pin-type meter. If you choose a pinless meter, you simply scan the flooring and wall tile and wait for the device to produce a reading. If you select a pin-type meter, you'll need to drill tiny holes in the tile or grout for it to work. It's probably a good idea that you use a pinless device for convenience.

Simply purchase pinless meter from your local home and gardening store. Then, read the set up instructions and follow them. Move the meter across your flooring and along the walls. The device will send out radio signals to detect moisture. Once it locates signs of moisture, the device will create a reading.

If the reading is above 20 percent, the moisture levels in the bathroom may be at a critical stage and require immediate attention from a mold remediation contractor. The moisture most likely damaged or decayed the wood. If the readings are below 20 percent, the moisture levels aren't critical yet but will require treatment in the near future. In any case, remediation contractors like Servpro Of Bear New Castle can discuss the best way to solve your mold and moisture problems with you.

For more information about your mold and moisture problems, contact a repair and restoration contractor today.