Every homeowner needs to be capable of spotting mold in their basement or attic. Mold can grow on nearly any surface as it requires only moisture and a source of food – both of which are generally present in most basements and attics to varying degrees.
Since some molds can cause allergic reactions and/or respiratory problems (particularly to asthmatics and those with pre-existing breathing problems), being able to quickly spot the presence of mold should be a priority for homeowners, and a mold remediation specialist can be called in to handle the problem.
Generally, a homeowner is first aware of the presence of mold in an attic or basement by its easily identifiable musty, damp smell. The best way to find where mold is growing is to follow the smell to the nearest water source. Black mold, commonly known as “toxic mold” is a mold on drywall or wood that has a distinctive dank, urine smell and will manifest in white patches on the surface of drywall that the mold is growing behind.
Leaks, whether they be from pipes, in roofs or up through cracks in a foundation are traditionally ground zero for mold to spawn and spread. Even without leaks, a particularly humid area of the home can easily facilitate the growth of mold as can anywhere that condensation is present. This is particularly true around refrigerators/freezers, air conditioning units and humidifiers/dehumidifiers.
There are also some less accessible areas that require monitoring as well which include under carpets and carpet pads, HVAC duct work, on the backside of drywall, paneling or wallpaper and or ceiling tiles. If water can reach an area, there is the potential for mold to grow. Basement mold is common in lower levels where water may seep in or regular flooding occurs.
Look for surfaces that are discolored. Upon investigation, a visible mold growth is usually present when you find a discolored surface paired with a moldy smell. Mold does present in a variety of colors including orange, black, gray, green purple and brown. Stachybotrys is a bit different in that it is blackish-green with a slimy appearance in most cases, so don’t ignore any differences in color while investigating.
Also take notice of changes in surface texture. While mold is a fungus, it can grow in a variety of different fashions. Some molds are very fine and powdery while others can take on a coarser consistency similar to peanut butter. You may encounter a colony of mold that has even begun to “tower” or grow layers upon itself and take on a texture that is similar to bread. Other texture types you may encounter could resemble leather, cotton or even vomit.
If you find what appears to be mold, call a mold removal and remediation service. The Dry Guys can help identify and resolve your mold problem and keep your home safe!