If your home is built with a crawlspace foundation, you may not give the area much thought unless you need to access the plumbing lines beneath the flooring. Ideally, a crawlspace should remain snug and dry, but occasionally, moisture can get in from either outside or due to a leaking pipe. When that occurs, mold growth can become a problem. Know the signs of possible mold in the crawlspace so you can schedule mitigation before the issue becomes more severe.
1. Sagging Floorboards
Mold won't grow without moisture, and one side of crawlspace moisture is floorboard problems. The subfloor of your home is the ceiling of the crawlspace. If the floorboards begin to sag, warp, or swell, then moisture is in the crawlspace and causing damage to the wood subfloor. Where there is moisture damage there is likely also mold, and those spores can spread throughout your entire home.
2. Low Wall Discoloration
Mold likely won't stay confined to the crawlspace. Baseboards and walls may slowly absorb the moisture in the crawlspace. The absorption begins at the bottom of the walls and slowly moves up. As it progresses, you may notice dark discolorations or speckling -- this is due to mold and mildew growth. The mold is spreading from the crawlspace into your main living quarters at this point.
3. Increased Pest Activity
The moisture that is fueling mold growth is also an attractant for a variety of insect pests. You may notice more pests coming into the home from the gaps around baseboards or between floorboards. Although increasing pest numbers in the crawlspace don't definitely mean there is a mold, it is a sign that the crawlspace needs to be inspected for moisture incursion and possible mold growth.
4. Powdery Patches on the Floor
Mold doesn't always produce dark speckles. Just as common is a lighter-colored powdery residue. You may notice it forming on your floorboards or baseboards, for example. It's common to find it underneath rugs when you lift them since the rug traps the moisture and spores coming up from the crawlspace. A powdery residue is a direct sign that mold is in the crawlspace and in your home.
5. Musty Odors In Area
When you are sitting on the floor, do you catch a whiff of a musty odor? Or perhaps you pick up the stale mildew smell when working outside near the crawlspace. Trust your nose if it detects mold and mildew, and schedule a crawlspace inspection to see if any mold growth is occurring.
Contact a mold remediation service if you suspect moisture is causing mold problems in your crawlspace.