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How to deal with the aftermath of Flooding and prevent hazardous Mould Growth

Jul 14, 2014


Mould growth within a home


EBS Ltd has years of experience in advising owners of flood damaged buildings and ensuring the drying out process is carefully managed to minimise damage and potential health problems that can be caused by the formation of mould.

The winter monsoon we experienced during the early months of 2014 caused unprecedented flooding to many areas of southern Britain.  Coastal resorts were pounded relentlessly by ferocious storms and high tides and rivers overflowed, flooding buildings for weeks on end.

The destruction and horrendous mess left behind after the waters subsided will have been most distressing to the returning homeowner.  To add to the misery, an enormous amount of work will have been necessary to remove ruined furniture, fittings and to thoroughly clean every inch of the house and its contents.

These flood damaged properties will take many months or even years to dry out properly.  It is crucial to make sure all the salvaged materials within the fabric of the house are dried out carefully, to avoid further unnecessary loss and expense.

Following water damage, mould growth and infestation may lie hidden within difficult to reach places due to moisture reservoirs.  For example, behind dry lined walls, wallpaper or timber panelling, concealed within floor and ceiling voids, on the face of ceiling tiles, beneath carpets and underlay.  Over time, saturated Gyproc plasterboard may develop toxic mould (Stachybotrys chartarum).

Too rapid drying can result in differential movement between materials leading to cracking and spalling of masonry, whereas if the building is left to dry out too slowly, mould and timber decay may form causing an insidious hazard.


Mould growing on household fabrics


The Potential Hazards of Mould Growth within the Home

Although there remain uncertainties regarding the exact nature of any direct adverse health effects from exposure to moulds, those with existing conditions such as asthma and other respiratory conditions are at particular risk of exacerbating their symptoms. 

Moulds have the potential to cause health problems because moulds produce allergen irritants and in some cases, potentially toxic substances (mycotoxins). Inhaling or touching mould or mould spores may cause allergic reactions in sensitive individuals.  Allergic responses include hay fever-type symptoms, such as sneezing, runny nose, red eyes, and skin rash (dermatitis).  They can be immediate or delayed. Extensive mould exposure can irritate the eyes, skin, nose, throat and lungs of both mould allergic and non-allergic people.

The presence of mould within the home may cause nasal stuffiness, throat and skin irritation, coughing and wheezing.  People with a particular allergy to mould may experience more severe reactions.

Immune compromised people and those with chronic lung disease may get serious infections in their lungs if they are exposed to mould.


Investigating & Preventing Mould Growth

Investigating mould problems may be difficult and will require caution when the investigation involves disturbing potential sites of mould growth.  EBS Ltd has pioneered the use of an air sampler to carry out non-destructive inspections of hidden cavities and voids in both modern and historic buildings.  The sampler is used to extract a known volume of air from a hidden cavity or void, through existing holes in the fabric or through small holes made discreetly.  These samples are analysed for dry rot, wet rot and mould spores.

Normal background levels of spores indicate a low risk of decay, whereas high levels indicate a problem within the void.  These finding can be followed up by using an Endoscope and Resistograph decay detection drill, to investigate any hidden infestation and timber decay.

Endoscopy is a highly advanced fibre optic non-destructive inspection technique.  By employing high power fibre optic instruments, the type and extent of fungal decay in concealed cavities and voids can be assessed without extensive exposure of the fabric.  High-density light illuminates the area under inspection through a liquid light guide and a rigid fibre optic eyepiece.  The image can then be photographed.




Over many years, EBS Ltd has been providing a full diagnostic and remedial advisory service to those who have concerns of this type, by providing cost effective solutions without using chemicals.

We have successfully carried out environmental monitoring and drying out of a range of buildings including one bedroom flats, multi-storey blocks of flats, monuments, castles, mansions, schools, offices, Banks and the directors have been involved at following fire and flood damaged buildings;

  • Royal Palaces, Hampton Court Palace & Windsor Castle
  • Sark Islands Hall & School, Sark Islands
  • Guys Hospital, London
  • St Cecilia, Jersey
  • Isabelle vet Surgery, Guernsey
  • Jordan’s Meeting House


Moulds gradually destroy the things they grow on. You can prevent damage to your home and furnishings, save money and avoid potential health problems by controlling moisture and eliminating mould growth.

EBS Ltd can help householders by carrying out a detailed inspection of the property to identify the moisture distribution, the vulnerable materials and advise on the most efficient way to dry out the fabric.

This will minimise further damage and outline the time scale required to dry out the building safely.


For further information and advice, please do not hesitate to contact us.