How To Safely Remove Mold From Your Hardwood Floors

Water leaks and excess moisture in your home can cause mold and mildew growth on surfaces, including your hardwood flooring. Because any mold spores in your home can put your and your family's health at risk, it is important to properly remove any mold and eliminate it from your home's environment. Here are instructions to safely remove any mold growth from to restore your hardwood flooring.

Clean Visible Surface Mold

When you have mold growing on your hardwood floors, you need to clean it up and get the area dried out as soon as possible to prevent further mold growth in your home. But, first, make sure you are properly attired to clean up mold, so you don't inhale any spores or expose yourself to the mold's toxins. It is a good idea to wear long pants, long sleeves, rubber gloves, goggles, and breathing protection, such as a P-100 respirator or N-95 mask.

If you are not sure if what you are seeing growing on your hardwood floors is mildew, the beginning stage of mold growth, you can test it with a cotton swab dipped in bleach. Touch the bleach-soaked cotton swab onto the suspected area. If the area contains mildew growth, the bleach will lighten the spot in one to two minutes.

If you have mold or mildew, clean it off your wood floors. First, combine a mixture of one part bleach to eight parts water. Then, moisten a rag with the mixture and wipe up all surface mold or mildew growth. Throw away the rag so you don't spread any of the mold or mildew onto other surfaces in your home. If the mold growth is larger than a ten square-foot area, you should hire a professional mold remediation company to remove the mold

Check the Level of Mold Damage

After you have removed  all the surface mold, check if the mold has penetrated into the pores of the wood. Because wood grain is porous, even if it has been sealed with a polyurethane sealant, visible areas of the wood grain can still draw moisture into them, causing mold to grow. 

Use the corner blade of a putty knife or the edge of a screw driver to dig into the wood several millimeters. You will be able to see how far down into the wood the mold's dark stain has penetrated. It is important to remove this area of the wood that has become molded because the mold spores can regrow if you leave them there. Also, if the mold has caused the wood to become rotted, it will be crumbly and flaky as you dig into it with your sharp tool, requiring the wood's removal.

Remove the Mold Damage and Restore the Flooring

If the wood of your floor has become rotted with mold growth, it is best to cut out and replace the damaged area with new wood flooring. If you have extra wood flooring left over from its original installation, use this to patch any damaged areas. If you do not have extra flooring pieces, you can check a local lumber yard or home improvement store for any extra hardwood pieces they have in stock for you to use. 

Cut to remove the mold-stained board with an electric handheld reciprocating saw or circular saw. Then, use the damaged piece as a template to cut a replacement section from your replacement flooring pieces. Install your new piece of hardwood in place, attaching it with flooring nails.

If the mold damage is only into the top few millimeters of wood flooring, you can sand to remove the molded wood from the flooring. Use a coarse 100-grit sandpaper to sand the mold-stained wood until clean wood is visible on the surface of your floor. Next, use a 220-grit sandpaper to smooth out the surface of the wood flooring. Moisten a rag with the water and bleach cleaning mixture and wipe up all excess dust from the floor after sanding. Throw the rag in the trash.

Now that all the mold is gone, you can stain the sanded or replaced section of wood flooring with a matching stain. Allow the stain to dry and apply one to two coats of polyurethane over the repair.

For professional mold removal help, contact a company like GEM Environmental, Inc.