MOLD?! There is mold behind my wallpaper! What the heck?

This is not only gross looking, but dangerous. Hi! David Cook, owner of D’franco Painting & Wallpaper Here in Huntley, IL, with another quick blog for you with issues and questions we face when in customers’ homes and business locations.

The most common type of mold species that can readily be found under wallpaper is black mold. This mold can be either surface mold or mold that completely penetrates surfaces permeating through the drywall. Black mold is also known as Stachybotrys, and this type of mold can be very toxic to your health if left untreated.

mold behind my wallpaper
Mold behind wallpaper.

Mold that is in your home is DANGEROUS

As you may or may not have seen or heard, toxic mold and indoor air pollution from biological sources seem to always be in the news. This is due to several factors, there is awareness of how much mold, especially toxic mold, can affect your health.

Roughly 35-40% of buildings have some form of mold. These dangerous mold spores are in over 25% of residential homes!

Mycotoxins that are released by mold are more problematic than pesticides or heavy metals because they can affect a more diverse range of biological systems than pesticides and dangerous heavy metals.

The mold most often on walls behind wallpaper (Stachybotrys) emits trichothecene. Concentrations of this dangerous mycotoxin has the ability to inhibit protein synthesis and affect every single organ of your body.

It’s also worth considering that fungi like mold also have a high rate of mutation. This means it is possible for mold to produce novel species that is capable of evading your immune system.

One nasty mold that can be very hazardous is the type of mold known as Cryptococcus. It actually has a mortality rate that’s estimated as high as 30% for those who become infected.

Most indoor mold problems are related to construction defects or home maintenance issues that allow for water intrusion. However, things like localized flooding and certain lifestyle habits can also greatly introduce the chances of mold invading your home to establish a long-term presence.

Don’t blame yourself- it’s not your fault there is mold.

People will always ask- what did I do wrong to get mold? The answer is always the same- you didn’t do anything wrong. So there must be something wrong with the wallpaper!

It is NOT the wallpaper’s fault you have mold!

There are several reasons why mold will show up:

  • Water from leaking pipes, flooding, etc.
  • Walls that were not insulated. Moisture getting in behind the wallpaper through the insulation.
  • Contaminates. Sometimes wallpaper adhesive could have been exposed to mold contaminates.
  • Mold was already on or in the wall before wallpaper was installed.
moldy walls
Moldy Walls, Elgin, IL

If you are living in the North West Suburbs of Chicagoland such as Elgin, Schaumburg, St. Charles, Crystal Lake, or Bartlett, Mold can also happen because of improper ventilation, condensation, and of course water leaks from water pipes or toilets. These calls or mold issues are the most common calls we receive too get help with.

moldy wall behind wallpaper
Moldy wall behind wallpaper, Schaumburg IL

Removing Moldy Wallpaper

If you see that the wallpaper in your home has mold growth, you should remove it. If the problem is significant, you may have to have a professional mold remediation service with the right tools, training, and experience to effectively eliminate the presence of mold from the home or building. Here are the steps you should take to do it safely and effectively:

Step 1:

Wear old clothes that you plan to discard. Wear a respirator mask that is rated for to screen out microbes. Protective eye-wear is also a very good idea, as are latex gloves. Some types of mold can cause severe skin irritation. It’s also a good idea to cover all furniture with plastic in the room and keep the door shut.

Step 2:

Peel away a small strip of wallpaper. Take a close look for signs of mold on the wall or the back of the paper. It might look black, red, orange, grainy, splotchy, or discolored.

Step 3:

Carefully remove all the wallpaper from around the affected area. There are several different types of wallpaper stripper sold in stores. Renting a wallpaper steamer might also be worth the time and money.

Step 4:

Mix 4 parts dimethyl ammonium chloride with 1 part of water in a bucket. Brush the solution over the mold. Then be followed by applying a solution of 3 parts disodium octaborate tetrahydrate with two parts of glycol. Sounds fun, right?

Using these solutions in tandem has proven to be highly effective for killing mold on wallboards. The combination is particularly effective on mold on wallboards. Still, it is best to do multiple applications!

Step 5:

Allow the treated area to thoroughly dry before cleaning it with soap and water to remove the dead mold.

Step 6:

Shower and clean yourself thoroughly. Make sure to bag all the clothes you wore and discard them immediately.

So, what’s next?

Now that the walls are clean, it’s time to let the walls dry out. Use some fans and a dehumidifier. Once dry, use mold killing primer. Block it out, seal the walls. Once the walls are dry and primer is out, you have a fresh slate.

Are you ready for interior paint? Wallpaper? Now that you have fixed the problem, the walls are yours to do what you please! So, let us help you love the space you’re in…the right way!