What does mold look like? Knowing how to identify mold is a critical step in keeping your home safe from the damaging effects of mold. There are a lot of steps you can take to avoid mold growth, but even the most conscientious homeowner can be caught off-guard by mold growth. Perhaps a pipe bursts during a cold spell in the winter, or an especially humid summer causes dampness in your basement, or your washing machine breaks: any of these or a long list of other “surprises” can lead to the growth of mold.
That’s why identifying mold – knowing what it is the minute you see it – is so important. As soon as you identify mold, you can start taking steps to get rid of it.
Mold is a fungus, a living organism that thrives in damp, dark areas. Some molds grow outdoors, such as in piles of decaying leaves during the fall. Inside your home, you may find it growing in places like the attic, basement, kitchen, or bathroom. These are areas that frequently harbor moisture, either from the humidity that comes from showering or cooking, or because the lack of air circulation or dampness from the surrounding ground causes moisture to accumulate.
If your home has experienced any kind of water damage, such as from a flood, broken appliance, septic tank overflow, or other catastrophe, any part of your home that was touched by the water or sewage has the potential to grow mold. This includes flooring, walls, ceilings, furniture, windows, doors, molding, painted surfaces, fabrics, wood, tile, and more.
When mold grows in hidden areas such as behind walls or under floors or in crawlspaces, often by the time it is discovered the damage is extensive. Mold can cover large areas, causing structural damage that is difficult and expensive to repair.
The bottom line is that mold can grow pretty much anywhere.
White mold in a crawlspace
Black mold found under carpeting
Mold grows in multi-cellular filaments called hyphae, which produce pigment, or color. Mold colors produced by the hyphae depend on which species of mold you are looking at. Mold can be white, gray, green, yellow, orange, purple, red, brown or black, and all shades in between.
Mold can be fuzzy and have a raised surface, or be flat with very little texture. It can be splotchy or it may almost have a slimy appearance.
Mold spores can become airborne and travel with dust through the air, spreading throughout your home and being inhaled by you and your family, causing potential health problems.
Many times, mold may look more like a harmless stain than a living organism. But if mold is there, it is probably growing. And it needs to be removed.
Green mold on drywall
Mold found behind couch
Because all mold should be removed from your home, it doesn’t matter whether you identify the exact species of mold once you’ve found it growing. But it can be helpful to know the variations in appearance to help you identify if you have mold in your home or not.
All of these examples of mold are capable of causing health problems ranging from skin irritation, nasal or respiratory allergies, asthma like symptoms, or more serious fungal infections. They are also capable of causing extensive, and expensive, damage to your home. Even small areas of mold must be taken seriously.
If you see mold in your home and have questions about what to do next, call 877-960-0491 to get immediate, 24-hour assistance. You will be connected to local, experienced professionals who can help you find, treat, and eliminate the mold from your home.