Black mold in cabinets

Posted by Matt Buchanan

Mold can find a home pretty much anywhere there is food and an excess of moisture. But for a number of reasons, toxic black mold loves your kitchen and bath cabinets. In this blog post, we’ll discuss this common problem and try to offer some advice on how to prevent it from happening to you as well as what to do should you discover black mold under your cabinets.


Why black mold is often found in cabinets


kitchen-sink-black-mold-growthSome places just seem more prone to black mold damage. One such place inside cabinets. Whether it’s a kitchen sink, bathroom vanity or your mud sink next to your washer and dryer, mold loves cabinets! But why? The truth is mold loves anywhere where it can find food to eat (and your cabinets are the perfect food), has a nice ambient temperature and there is too much moisture. Your cabinets aren’t going anywhere and you obviously want to keep your home comfortable (it just so happens our ideal comfort level in terms of temperature coincides with the ideal temperatures that promote mold growth), so it’s the water/moisture variable that must be controlled.

Inside your cabinets are two sources of water that can become problematic. One is the water supply lines (one for cold water and one for hot water) that service your sink. The other is the drainage pipe that takes the used water from your sink to your main drain that exits your house. Both of these can leak, often slowly, and provide enough moisture to allow black mold to grow but not enough leaking for you to notice right away. That presents a couple of big problems. One, it will allow the water to travel to other parts of your home like the subfloor below it and the wall cavity behind it, ultimately creating more damage and a costlier cleanup.  But secondly, it’s classified as slow leak water damage meaning it’s very unlikely your insurer will pay for the damages. In other words, it can quickly become a nightmare scenario of a denied claim and a costly cleanup if it isn’t discovered quickly and rectified!


What should be done when it’s discovered


So you just opened a cabinet door to grab something from under the sink and noticed a musty smell, moved some things around and noticed some mold growth. Uh oh. Now what? Well, don’t get overly worried right now. It may be the case you just have a very small problem on your hands that can be dealt with fairly simply and affordably. Of course, it may also be the very small tip of a larger iceberg. How can you know for sure? Well, technically it’s impossible to know what’s going on below the cabinets without removing them. But that’s clearly an expensive process that you don’t want to begin unless you know you have a bigger problem on your hands.

thermal-image-kitchen-cabinetsWhat we suggest in this case is to call us or another certified water & mold damage restoration company to have them assess the situation. We can use thermal imaging camera equipment to peer behind and underneath the cabinets to see if moisture has traveled elsewhere. If that is the case, it’s usually the case the mold growth has also expanded. But mold damage is a tricky foe because you really don’t know what you’re up against until you start peeling back layers. Given that, many homeowners can’t help but start doing a little demolition themselves.  If you feel inclined to start pulling back cabinets or punching through drywall, please just keep in mind that doing so will kick up mold particles that you can end up breathing or that can travel to other parts of your home. That’s why any reputable mold removal company will quarantine the affected area before removing any areas as well as wear full body and face protection.


How you can prevent cabinet mold growth


Preventing this potentially costly problem from happening to you is as easy as making sure you don’t have an ongoing water leak under your sink. That means either checking down there routinely for water or installing a leak detection system that will alert you when it senses moisture. If you’re interested in the latter, we’ve discussed water alarms at length before so be sure to check out that article!

About Matt Buchanan

I grew up in Irving, TX and left for Nashville, TN for college. After college I lived in Washington, DC and then in Cairo, Egypt. After coming back to the states, I spent a couple of years back in Dallas before moving with my wife to Denver!
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