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How Long Does It Take for Water Damage to Cause Mold Growth?

In the aftermath of serious water or flood damage, one of the biggest threats to your home comes from some of the world’s smallest organisms: mold spores. When the right conditions are present, mold and mildew can take root and spread remarkably quickly, taking what was already a pretty serious problem and making it a whole lot worse. That’s why it’s important to seek professional help right away if your home has suffered heavy damage as a result of flooding or exposure to water—hesitating could only be making the cleanup process even more difficult.

How Cast Can Mold Spread?

Mold doesn’t take long to make its presence known. In fact, according to FEMA, mold growths or colonies can start to grow on a damp surface within as little as 24 to 48 hours. How is mold able to spread so quickly? Simple: because mold spreads through the use of spores—tiny “seeds” that travel through the air in our home that are completely invisible to the naked eye. These spores latch on to another damp surface, and if the conditions are right, they quickly begin reproducing and spreading even further, oftentimes multiplying into millions of cells in as little as a few short hours. Before long, you’re seeing spots growing on your walls that continue to get bigger and bigger.

Conditions for Mold Growth

Mold requires three conditions to be met in order to grow and spread. And when they are, mold can spread so fast, large swaths of space could be completely infected in as little as a few hours or so. These conditions are:

  • A food source. Mold requires a carbon-based material that it can latch onto and consume for energy. However, mold isn’t known for being picky about what that carbon-based material is. Mold has been known to grow in cotton, wood, drywall, and a whole variety of other commonly-found materials throughout your home. That means your flooring, your walls, your furniture, your window treatments, and even just plain paper found throughout your home could become a great source of food.
  • A moisture source. While most types of mold can’t grow underwater due to a lack of oxygen, mold does need a constant source of moisture to utilize for water. Because mold spores are such small organisms, this source of water does not need to be big—even condensation or excessive humidity in a particular area of your home might be enough to get the job done. If you have any carbon-based substances that get wet, as often happens during floods or water damage, then conditions are almost certainly optimal.
  • Protection from harmful sunlight. Finally, mold can’t grow in direct sunlight. The harmful radiation the sun emits actually destroys mold spores by scrambling their DNA, either killing them outright or preventing them from reproducing. Thus, any areas of your home that are generally dim, dark, or hidden in the shadows are great spots where mold might grow and spread.

If you’ve been following along to this point, you’ve probably realized just how many spots in your home might be prime areas for mold growth in the aftermath of serious water damage. That’s why it’s extremely important that you get on top of your water damage remediation right away.

Preventing Mold Growth

The best way to prevent mold growth in the aftermath of serious water damage is to immediately take action and begin drying out the damaged area. If you can dry the affected area out, you can stop mold from growing and spreading, thus preventing it from ever really getting started. That will save you a ton of time and effort when it comes to fixing the damaged area because you won’t have to worry about adding mold remediation procedures to the process. It may also save you a good amount of money because it might mean you can get away with simply drying out affected parts of your home rather than throwing them out and having to replace them completely. When it comes to things like flooring, that could mean substantial savings.

Has your home suffered serious damage from water or flooding? Get help with mold remediation services right away by calling FP Property Restoration at (888) 408-2335. We’re available 24/7 to come to you and start the process right away.