Getting to the Basics: Remodeling Projects

How Quickly Does Mold Spread?

by Jill Jenkins

The growth of mold is a problem in many households in the country. Mold can take advantage of the presence of moisture in various environments and start to grow. Areas of the house that are normally at risk of mold growth include the bathroom and laundry rooms; these parts of the house have a lot of moisture most of the time. When you factor in the presence of certain organic materials that the mold can feed on, what you have is a mold haven.

Mold spores are almost always in the air, and only start to grow once they land on a suitable surface. One of the questions that many people ask is how fast will it take the mold to grow.

How Fast Does Mold Grow?

There is no consensus on how long it takes before mold starts growing. However, some experts on the issue state that the mold spores will usually start to grow between 24 and 48 hours after landing on a suitable surface. A suitable surface in this context is usually something damp that's also organic. There are some cases where it has taken much longer for the mold growth to become visible.

How Quickly Does Mold Spread?

Once mold has started to grow, it can be incredibly difficult to get rid of. This is because:    

  • By the time mold growth is visible, it may have had enough time to affect parts of the house that you cannot see.

  • Mold can become dormant in the absence of water. Therefore, simply fixing the leak or another source of water that caused the mold growth will not be enough to get rid of it.

  • Attempting to remove mold in the wrong way can result in the mold spreading to many other parts of the house.  

How quickly mold will spread after it starts growing will depend on the prevailing conditions; if the conditions are right, you could have mold in several parts of your home within a few weeks.

How to Stop Mold from Spreading

The first thing you should do is change the conditions that have made it favorable for mold to thrive. If there is a water leakage somewhere, fix it. If your bathroom has parts made from the wrong materials, these should be changed as quickly as possible.

Waterproofing areas of the home that you can't see, such as inside of walls and crawlspaces, will help you control mold. A big way that mold spreads is through the HVAC system or other hidden spaces, where it's allowed to run rampant. Consult an HVAC, wall, and crawl space waterproofing specialist to ensure that moisture cannot collect in these hidden spaces. Companies like Rite-Way Waterproofing can offer more information.

There's also the issue of cleaning up the mold you can already see so that it doesn't spread. Some people choose to kill the mold using bleach and other substances before cleaning away the mold; however, it may be simpler to get rid of the affected items, or seek professional mold removal services.