Wood rot, Mould, Mildew and Fungus in Buildings

Whether it’s found lurking in wallpaper, hiding in the carpet or eating away at wooden joints, mould, mildew and fungus are unwelcome guests in any building, they cause many problems including wood rot. This article shall look at how to go about preventing the growth of it and how to achieve the necessary removal of it.

What’s So Bad About Mould, Mildew and Fungus?

Moulds and mildews can often be found eating away at the cellulose causing wood rot and same with the backing of wallpaper or the glues used to bond carpets to their backing. As such, over time they directly contribute to the deterioration of wallpaper, insulation, carpets and other paper and cellulosic fabrics in buildings. Wood, paint and glue also comes under threat.

Alongside potential damage, mould, mildew and fungus are unsightly and unpleasant and produce an undesirable odour. In addition to this, the spores of moulds can act as allergens and can directly contribute to health problems.

Mould can lead to health issues when left unchecked.

Mould can lead to health issues when left unchecked.

Preventing Mould

Mould occurs as a symptom of excessive levels of moisture in an area, and as such, if you can control the moisture levels within a building, you can prevent the growth of mould. It is better to find the cause of the mould than to simply wipe it up, as chances are, it will likely return. Dealing with a moisture problem will not only eradicate mould or wood rot, but will prevent more severe problems from arising possibly causing structural damage.

Dry rot fungus

Dry rot fungus

Keeping Things Clean

Generally speaking, the cleaner a surface, the less likely it is to grow mould. Many surfaces cannot support mould when regularly cleaned, such as ceramic tiles; however, small traces of dirt can be all that’s required for mould to start growing.

Check for Leaks

If the mould is found near water pipes, waste lines or plumbing fixtures, a leak is most likely the cause of the problem. Left unfixed it will lead to wood rot. Absorbent materials such as drywall, water can travel down, sideways or even up. So the actual leak may be some distance from the appearance of mould.

Wet rot causing floor timber to rot away

Wet rot causing floor timber to rot away

Also check your ventilation. If there is mould found around a ventilation duct, then it is probably a sign that the insulation around the duct is not entirely intact and has a leak.

Controlling the Temperature

Alongside moisture, mould needs warm temperatures to thrive. So if the building is too warm, combined with high humidity levels, mould is likely to appear. Controlling the temperature by keeping windows open in warmer weather or using air conditioning will help prevent the growth of mould.

Preventing mould is an important job.

A serious case of mould caused by condensation

Treating Mould

Should you discover mould in a building, it is necessary to deal with the problem and remove it. Should the mould problem be a considerable one, it may be necessary to hire a contractor. Some cases in which it would be wise to call in a professional contractor are as follows:

  • If the mould affects an area larger than 10 square feet
  • If you suspect the heating, ventilation or air conditioning is affected by mould. This should be dealt with immediately to stop the spread of spores throughout the rest of the building.
  • If the mould or fungus is caused by contaminated water or sewage.
  • If you have health concerns that could be worsened by exposure to mould while removing it.

Should you seek professional assistance, ensure that you choose a contractor with experience of dealing with mould, mildew and fungus removal.

However, in most cases, mould can be dealt with directly and you should be able to handle the job yourself.

Removing Mould

Most mould can be removed by simply scrubbing it with water and a good detergent. It is a good idea to ensure the room is well ventilated; open a window, ideally with a fan directing air towards it. This is to stop any mould spores that are thrown into the air in the process of cleaning from landing elsewhere in the room, thus merely moving the problem instead of dealing with it.

Gloves and ideally a face mask should be worn to prevent exposure to the mould while cleaning it up. As touched upon before, mould throws up spores when it is disturbed, so not only are you at risk of exposure from direct physical contact, but there is a risk of breathing in spores when cleaning it.

Disposal of Affected Items

Sometimes the easiest thing to do is to remove affected items and prevent further spread. Disposing of mouldy wallpaper or mildew-ridden carpets and replacing them can a more effective and hassle-free method of getting rid of mold and fungus.


Should it be found in a building, mould is a cause for concern and should be dealt with quickly to prevent it spreading and becoming more of a problem. Once removed the cause of the mould should be dealt with. This is achieved by controlling levels of humidity and temperature and reducing moisture levels.


Image credits: seishin17ElbtheProfanneh632  and carlpenergy