What Is Mold

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What Is Mold

Mold is a type of fungus. These small organisms can be black, white, orange, green, or purple and live almost anywhere indoors and outside. Molds thrive on moisture and reproduce through lightweight spores that travel through the air. You’re exposed to mold every day. They’re usually harmless in small amounts. But when they land on a damp spot in your home, they can start to grow. They release spores that you might breathe in. If you’re sensitive to mold and inhale a lot of spores, it could make you sick.

There are many types of mold – all of them need water or moisture to grow. When water damage happens or excessive moisture accumulates in buildings or on building materials, mold growth often occurs, particularly if the moisture problem remains undiscovered or unaddressed.

How does mold spread?

Mold spreads by producing tiny reproductive cells called spores that waft through the air. Mold spores usually cannot be seen without magnification and are naturally present in both indoor and outdoor air. Some molds have spores that are easily disturbed and settle repeatedly with each disturbance. Other molds have sticky spores that will cling to surfaces and are dislodged by brushing against them or by other direct contact.

Mold spores may remain able to grow for years after they are produced. In addition, whether or not the spores are alive, the allergens in and on them may remain allergenic for years.

Where Do Molds Grow?

Mold usually grow on walls, floors, appliances, carpet, or furniture – they can all provide the food mold needs to grow. But the thing all molds need most is moisture, so you’re most likely to see mold in damp places such as bathrooms, kitchens, laundry rooms, basements, and crawl spaces.

Tips To Control Mold

In basements and crawl spaces:

  • Put a plastic cover over dirt in crawl spaces to prevent moisture from coming in from the ground. If there is standing water or the soil is wet, dry it out with fans before covering the floor.
  • Be sure crawl spaces are well ventilated by using fans and having vents installed in outside walls if necessary.
  • Consider painting concrete floors and using area rugs instead of wall-to-wall carpet in basements. If you plan to install carpet over a concrete floor, it may be necessary to use a vapor barrier (plastic sheeting) over the concrete and cover that with sub-flooring (insulation covered with plywood) to prevent a moisture problem.
  • Have your basement floor checked for leaks and have them repaired if necessary. Water can enter your home by leaking or by seeping through basement floors or walls.
  • Make sure gutters are working properly and that outdoor landscaping causes water to run away from — not toward — the house.
  • Do not finish basement walls with insulation and wall board unless your basement is very dry.