Types of Mold
Although it grows naturally, different types of mold can affect your family’s health and comfort. This type of fungus can grow virtually anywhere, but it tends to thrive in damp areas.
These microscopic organisms are extremely resilient and come in a variety of colors. Mold can grow both indoors and outdoors, but they often cause issues when growing unnoticed inside homes.
Different kinds of molds have unique characteristics that help identify each one. Some may emit a musty smell while others have furry textures and unique colors. Below, we’ll discuss the different types of common molds found in homes and buildings.
Identifying Mold Types
There are dozens of different kinds of mold, all of which have distinct features. At the same time, the effects may vary as some people are hypersensitive or allergic to these organisms.
Molds are all in the same family, and they may even look the same. It’s almost impossible to assert what type of mold you’ve found unless you use a microscope and a testing kit.
Moreover, the best way to single out the type of fungus growing in your home is consulting with a professional inspection company. At Environix, we primarily use non-viable sampling, which gives us an accurate picture of whether mold is affecting the indoor air quality.
Regardless of the type of mold, it’s important to remove it and clean the area to prevent it from spreading to the rest of your home. The most common types of mold found in the Pacific Northwest are:
This velvet-textured fungus can grow on a variety of surfaces but tends to thrive in organic debris like old cardboard boxes and pieces of fabric. Alternaria is a widespread type of green mold that can also feature brown or black fur when fully developed and is commonly found in bathtubs, underneath leaking sinks, showers, basements, and other damp areas around a house.
Known as the main ingredient used to develop penicillin, this type of fungus is also an allergenic mold. It usually features a white or black surface and can grow inside of insulation, carpets, and water-damaged furniture. This mold develops very quickly and can cause lung inflammation as well as allergic reactions,
Penicillium molds often grow with tell-tale broom-like structures, with conidiophores branching off of the main stem. Penicillium molds are indistinguishable from Aspergillus molds without cultured testing. Because of this, lab data will often report them together as “Penicillium/Aspergillus”.
Aspergillus is extremely common and it can be extremely dangerous to those with compromised immune systems, like those suffering from diabetes or pulmonary conditions. It’s found in all regions of the world and grows in circles on the walls of damp rooms. This type of mold only causes slight allergic reactions and minor health complications in most cases. That said, are more than 180 species of Aspergillus, some of which may produce airborne contaminants.
Cladosporium grows in both cold and hot conditions, so it’s one of the most resilient kinds of mold out there. This type of mold can usually be found in different areas around your house including damp window sills, stored fabric, and moist wood. Colonies of Cladosporium range from dark green to black in color, generally feature a suede texture, and grow at a relatively slow pace.
Acremonium is a dangerous type of mold that is either white, pink, orange, or grey in color. It’s worth noting that it changes texture overtime as it goes from a damp mold layer to a fine powder. Concentration levels need to be extremely high to cause severe conditions, but this type of mold should be treated immediately whenever spotted.
When most people think about the term “black mold” they probably picture Stachybotrys. Stachybotrys is a type of fungus that develops on cellulose material including cardboard, paper, and wood. It may be dark green or black in appearance and has a damp, slimy texture.
The best way to identify this type of mold is through viable/culture sampling and it should be treated immediately when spotted, regardless of how small the growth may seem.
Stachybotrys typically requires a high moisture content to flourish. It is most commonly found in areas damaged by liquid water (i.e. flooding, burst pipe, etc.) rather than humidity.
Aureobasidium is dark brown mold that grows on painted walls as well as the back part of wallpapers. In its early stages, it can adopt a pink or black tone and may also grow on wood and caulk as well. It can cause infections in the skin, nails, and skin so it should not be touched with your bare hands.
Chaetomium produces a strong smell of moisture and has a cotton-like texture. Often growing in water-damaged buildings, this type of mold gradually changes from white to grey, to brown, and finally, black color. It can lead to health complications in people with compromised immune systems and is usually found in leaking roofs, old pipes, and basements.
Another type of mold that can thrive in both cold and warm area, fusarium is allergenic. It grows on wallpapers, carpeting, and other fabrics that suffer from water damage. It may be white, pink, or red, and it can cause severe health complications after extensive exposure.
Some types of mold require higher moisture levels than other. Mucor is a great example, as this kind of mold grows close to HVAC systems thanks to the high humidity levels. It grows in white and greyish patches that can release spores and cause allergic symptoms after increased exposure.
This wool-textured white mold features green patches and rapidly spreads in the form of clusters on wet surfaces. Trichoderma also grows on damp fabric like wallpaper and can have detrimental effects on a building’s structural integrity if left unattended.
Ulocladium usually grows on buildings and areas that suffer flooding or severe water damage. It can grow in unison with other dangerous molds mentioned on this list. Not only this, but it can also lead to mild infections and allergic reactions among other complications.
How to Treat a Mold Problem
Having dangerous fungi growing on your property can be devastating, but finding a fast solution will help minimize the damage.
Your best option is getting in touch with a certified mold professional that has the tools and knowledge necessary to handle dangerous molds. Contacting a mold removal expert will help you identify and eradicate the hazardous organisms effectively.
At Environix, we provide state-of-the-art mold testing, cleaning, and removal services. We are a certified mold remediation company and believe in a holistic approach that includes:
Inspection and Testing
A responsible company should take care of all aspects of the remediation and removal procedure. We start off by providing inspection and taking samples, which we send back to our lab for extensive testing. This allows you to identify the type of mold you’re facing and gives us the information we need to propose a great solution.
Mold spores are virtually everywhere, but you can stop them from spreading at a fast pace by containing the affected area. This can be a combination of walls, elements that are already present, and temporary structures that help contain the mold.
Removing and Cleaning Damaged Materials
After containment, you have to decide which parts can be salvaged and what materials and elements need to be discarded. Surprisingly enough, the cleaning phase actually takes as long as the removal stage. Among other tools, we use an industrial HEPA vacuum to help reduce mold particles and improve air quality in your home.
Verification and Testing Once Again!
Visual inspections are necessary, but they should not be the only way to measure the success of the project. Always test your home after the process to verify that the mold treatment was indeed a success!
Contact a Reliable Mold Removal Expert
At Environix, we provide high-quality mold identification, removal, and testing services in the Pacific Northwest. You can get in touch with us by giving us a call or filling out our online form and our team of specialist will be happy to assist you today!
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Got a question? Ask it here and we'll post the answer below
We have what looks like white mold on our carpet by our doggie door. We've used "Wet and Forget" on it but it didn't get rid of it. Suggestions?
I would first verify if this is mold or efflorescence. A tape lift sample can differentiate between the two. The most important step is to determine the source of the moisture. If it’s simply from the dog coming in wet, I recommend replacing the carpet adjacent to the door with a hard surface, impermeable flooring such as tile. A plastic office chair mat could work in a pinch. If the moisture is due to rainwater entering the door, replace the door with a tightly sealed unit.