The Dangers of Mold in Office Ceiling Tiles

Brown spots could indicate the growth of mold in office ceiling tiles.Have you or one of your employees noticed a brown or black stain on some ceiling tiles in your office? Unfortunately, that stain is likely more than just an eyesore. It’s an indication that you may have a much bigger problem – water accumulating in the ceiling tiles, causing mold to grow.

The Source of Water Stains in Ceiling Tiles

Acoustical ceiling tiles are made of porous materials, so they readily absorb moisture and dirt. Water or moisture in your ceiling tiles can come from the following common sources:

  • Roof leaks. Commercial roof leaks are often caused by poor roof drainage – especially for flat roofs, damaged perimeter flashing, damaged roofing membrane, roof pipes or drains that are inadequately sealed, or general roof deterioration due to age. Any of these occurrences can cause water to get into your building.
  • HVAC system. The HVAC system above the ceiling tiles may have a backed-up condensate line, a rusted-out drip pan, or a unit that’s not properly sealed.
  • Moisture and condensation. When warm, humid air touches the colder surface of HVAC ductwork, condensation can form. Typically, condensation is caused when the ductwork is inadequately insulated, or the air is too humid in the space above the tiles.

When these problems aren’t fixed quickly, water can continue to accumulate over time. This excess dampness provides the right environment for mold or fungi to grow. Molds can grow on almost any surface if they have water, oxygen, a nutrient source, and the right temperature. That’s why molds like damp, dark, hidden spaces like areas above ceiling tiles.

Health Concerns Caused by Mold

Mold can cause serious health issues, such as:

  • Allergies – An immune system reaction that causes varying symptoms when a person is exposed to an allergen like mold.
  • Asthma – A lung disease that causes inflammation of the airways.
  • Rhinosinusitis – An inflammation of the nasal passageways and sinus cavities.
  • Bronchitis – An inflammation of the lining of the bronchial tubes, which carries air to the lungs.
  • Hypersensitivity pneumonitis – A lung inflammation in people whose immune system has become sensitized to mold. It can resemble pneumonia, but it can’t be treated with antibiotics.
  • Respiratory infections – An infection of the upper and/or lower respiratory tracts.

Due to the potential health risk to employees, molds discovered in the workplace should be removed as soon as possible.

In airtight buildings, or buildings with poor ventilation, molds can contribute to sick building syndrome. This syndrome refers to when building occupants experience acute health effects directly related to their time spent in a particular building.

What to Do if You Notice Water Stains and/or Mold in Your Ceiling Tiles

If you notice water stains in your ceiling tiles, you should investigate the problem immediately. Determine where the water may be coming from. If the water source is not easily apparent, you may need to have your roof and/or HVAC system inspected.

Once the source has been identified, you will need to take steps to fix the problem. You may need a roofer to repair the roofing leak. Or, you may need a handyman or an HVAC professional to fix a condensation issue.

If you do have a mold problem, you will need to have a mold remediation company come in and safely remove the mold infestation.

After all repairs have been made, you can finally take care of the stained ceiling tiles. A handyman may be needed to replace the tiles, or you may require a painter to repaint them.

Handle Ceiling Tile Stains Easily with City Wide of Illinois

At City Wide of Illinois, you won’t have to call numerous professionals to get that water leak and ceiling tile stain fixed. With one call, we can easily provide you with the maintenance and repair services you need to identify and repair the water source, and to repair your damaged ceiling tiles.

Additionally, if your employees have been suffering from sick building syndrome due to mold, we can take care of the situation and ensure your work environment is cleaned, sanitized, and disinfected to keep your employees healthy. Workplace wellness ensures your business is a safe environment for your employees.

Call the team at City Wide of Illinois at 630-457-1120 to learn how we can make your facilities management easier for you.


– Eileen of the City Wide of Illinois Blog Team