Black Mold on Lumber – Lumber Mold
Homeowners remodeling or building new structures are not aware that certain types of mold can already be built into their structures. This type of mold commonly referred to as “lumber mold” can often be brought on the lumber that it is used to build your home, office, or new addition. The Lumber Association California Nevada states “that the mold will not continue to grow in the absence of moisture and water intrusion.” “Lumber Mold
can often appear black and seem to have a heavy residue on the surfaces of framing members causing homeowners concern.” Robert Santanastasio, Fun Guy Inspection & Consulting LLC
Black Lumber Mold – Visual ID by a Certified Mold Inspector – Picture Left
Black Lumber Mold – how did it get here?
“Lumber that is solid and piled in moist weather conditions will have a tendency to mildew, leaving a dark almost black stain on the lumber. As lumber is exposed to the atmosphere, the moisture content goes down and it will equalize in the surrounding atmosphere at about 11%. This is well below the level needed to support fungi or mildew.” LACN
“Molds are typically characterized as fungi that discolor the wood surface through the production of pigmented spores that can be yellow, green, orange, black, and an array of other colors. WWPA, Pg 4. Mold spores are present on surfaces in all homes, so cleaning will not prevent the re-growth of mold (Taylor, 2004).
Moisture Test – Picture Left
Mold Clean Up – can I clean the mold?
Every year billion of board feet of lumber are installed in our buildings, some with black lumber mold. Fungi only need oxygen, temperature, food, and water to grow. Controlling moisture in the environment is an essential task in preventing mold growth. In the event mold growth is visible on the surface “there are a number of products on the market, from commercial mildewcides to common bleach, which is promoted for removing mold from wood.
However, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency suggests using mild detergent and water for most mold clean up. For cleaning wood surfaces, the EPA recommends wet vacuuming the area, wiping or scrubbing the mold with detergent and water and, after
drying, vacuuming with a high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) vacuum” (EPA, 2001).
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Lumber after BLACK Lumber Mold has been removed – Picture Right
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Lumberyard Mold and its Complexities
If you happen to be a contractor who has a lot of orders every month, then you must have observed the lumberyard mold. The dark-colored stain that appears on the lumber is known as the lumberyard mold. But, the color of the stain or mold depends on what type of lumber you have in your yard. The color of the lumberyard mold may vary from tree to tree, such as dark, bluish, brownish, or whitish, and they are thick and heavy for sure. Typically you don’t get to see the discoloration on the whole lumber or all pieces of the lumber. It only appears on a specific spot.
Trees happen to have nutrients within their body. When you cut down a tree and remove the bark, the trees release those nutrients from their body. As these nutrients release from the body, they make room for the fungal spores to develop on the lumber. And, if the wood comes in contact with moisture, rain, and humidity, the case may get more severe as it leaves the chances for the mold to overgrow.
Most of the lumberyards and sawmills in the United States happen to have their products stores outside or in open sheds. As a result, the lumber quickly gets in contact with the condensed moisture of the atmosphere, falling visibly in separate drops such as rain or snowfall. This results in bad for the wood as it increases the exposure of lumberyard mold.
Wood on Construction Sites are in Danger
As mentioned earlier, when the lumber is exposed to rain and moisture, there will inevitably be excessive exposure to mold. On a construction site, we tend to keep the wood in the yard, which is the ultimate reason the lumber gets attacked with fungal spores. The lumber, at some point, starts to dry out when the framing and roofing of a house are done along with the wrapping.
At this point, when the discoloration appears on the lumber, the contractor considers surface mildew on the grounds that this type of mold is not dangerous to the structural integrity of the home or is not a reason for any health hazard. This type of mold can be found in every home, even in yours. If you want to find some, you can head to your garage because most garages have open framing and visual inspection can reveal a black discoloration on the beams.
Following the Code is Essential
Lumber that has a high level of moisture content within themselves cannot be used by contractors as per the local building department and code. The moisture content has to be 19% or lower according to the code, and in some cases, the contractors need to go through some testing procedures to make sure that the wood complies with the rules of moisture limitations. In some cases, the contractors also have to make sure of the moisture limitations through the documentation before installing the drywall over the wood framing.
Never Build a House with Wet Lumber
You are likely to face a series of problems at the point when your home is built with lumber that contains high moisture content. The problems may be severe if you drywall your house before the lumber reaching a proper moisture content. If you drywall your house without waiting for the wood framing to dry correctly, the moisture of the wood fails to dry out as it gets trapped inside. This is the ultimate reason that fungus or mold has the chance to grow drastically. At the point when the moisture content on the lumber happens to be too high, then the chances are:
- There will be more mold exposure on the lumber of your home
- As the wood dries out, the drywall at the door and window areas may crack
- There may be an appearance of screw heads or drywall nail
Moisture Content Levels
As a guideline, you should use these moisture content levels:
- Dry wood generally contains 15% to 17% moisture content.
- On the other hand, wood that has moisture content upper than 17% has the chance to grow mold within it.
- If the moisture content is 20% or more, then the chances are that it will get infected by decay fungi.
- Meanwhile, if the moisture content reaches 28% or more, be sure that the decay will accelerate substantially.
- If you use wood to build a cabinet in the kitchen, then you have to make sure that the wood you use has a moisture content between 5% to 8%.
Older Homes are in Safe Hands
On average, the typical wood in American houses contains moisture content between 5% to 15%. But, when the house faces any water leaks or plumbing leaks, it leaves the chances for the mold to grow over the wood of the house. That is why it is essential to get rid of the leaks as early as possible. Having preventive maintenance for your house may save you from facing a battle of wits.
FunGuy can offer project management and building-related services to help mitigate the presence of lumber mold during construction. We create reports for your mold inspection and include recommendations for mold removal. Certified laboratory results are analyzed and included in your reports.
Over to You
Mold, fungus, and decay are likely to develop on the wood that is high in moisture content. You should always keep in mind that you cannot drywall your house before the moisture content is under 19%. Most of the newly built houses are very prone to lumberyard mold. But, at the point when you make use of proactive construction practices, you have nothing to worry about the potential risks that arise due to the exposure of lumberyard mold.