Growing up, one of the worst things that could end up in the basement was black mold. It was a bad word, practically, and I can remember my brother loved to try to prank my parents by claiming he saw some in the bathroom as well. Of course, in parts of the country where there are rarely basements, this is not exactly the biggest concern.
However, that does not mean that mold cannot grow in other conditions. The aforementioned bathroom is a common lightning rod for the nasty stuff. This is true in Tennessee as it is for most parts of the world, and even the state government has released information on how to combat it.
Sometimes, though, it can get more serious than spraying some disinfectants around and hoping for the best. Some of the strains of mold are quite toxic to breathe in. Unfortunately, it can be quite difficult to discern these from the less hazardous variants without a very trained eye. That is where professionals come in, though I will be discussing that further later on in this article.
What is Mold, anyway?
Obviously, there are several different types of molds. The one pictured above is a type of slime one, typically not found in homes. However, I wanted to share a picture of it just to get you acquainted with the fact that they appear in various forms and are quite far from homogenous. This makes them even trickier to identify.
The first thing to know is that it is a type of fungus. That means that it creates and reproduces via spores, which is typically what humans end up breathing in. Most of the time, the effects will not be overly adverse, but there are absolutely some that can cause serious health problems. The risk is never worth it, at least in my opinion.
While there are clearly a large variety of them, most types of molds tend to flourish in damp and warm environments. This is probably why bathrooms are such a haven for them. You may have heard them called “mildew” at some point or another, as the terms can be used interchangeably for the most part.
Outside of the home, they are actually quite beneficial to the natural cycle of life and the environment because they break down decaying tissue and are essentially nature’s composters. It is when they crop up inside in which services like this one, https://firstsouthernrestoration.com/ can come in handy.
You see, they can wreak a lot of havoc inside the home. The damage is difficult to repair on our own, sometimes. For this reason, education is important.
Consequences for the Home
For now, I will keep my focus on what it can do to the interior of a house. You see, for one thing, it can lead to the corrosion of your floors. At first, it will likely not be overly apparent. However, if you experience flooding or are close to a river or a stream of any sort, it could easily crop up when you are not expecting it.
When wood is damp for too long, mold can grow in it. This does apply to patios and porches as well, so be sure to remain cognizant of that. Of course, there are treatments that we can use to protect wooden paneling and floors, so perhaps take this as a sign to invest in that sort of thing.
In terms of walls, though, you can see some of that in the photo above. At first, it can look like water damage – and likely, at one point, it was. However, when it gets to a certain point, it may be time to call the professionals in.
Signs of Spores in the House
At first, it can be difficult to determine if you have water damage or mold. However, there are a few tell-tale signals that we can utilize. A musty smell is the first one that I will highlight, since it is probably the most obvious way.
Dark spots or speckles on a wall or part of the floor where there was previously just water damage or dampness is also one to keep in mind. To some extent, having a bit of it around is going to be inevitable. However, for the unsightly and the toxic strains, it is not a good idea to keep them around. Let me explain.
This is where it gets even more serious. You see, there are some strains that are extremely detrimental to human health. They produce something known as mycotoxins, which can be dangerous to breathe in. While some of the research at this time is inconclusive or conflicting, I feel it is still worth mentioning since there is a chance that it can worsen current chronic conditions or cause new ones.
A common condition that is made worse by mold is asthma. I have suffered from it from a young age thanks to the second-hand smoke I breathed in from my relatives and their cigarettes. However, when I feel it getting worse, that is when I scour my home for any potential crops of mold growing. Often, it is indeed the perpetrator.
What Can We Learn From this, then?
For anyone wondering what the lesson or takeaway from this article is, it is that we should not let problems like this go unchecked for too long. When we do, it tends to get a lot worse. Prevention is probably the easiest way to go about it, but sometimes it is simply not possible.
In the aftermath, there is a chance that your walls or floors will need some restoration. A lot of the organizations who offer these services tend to implement preventative measures as well, to help protect you from this in the future. Obviously, it will be your call on whether to seek that out or not, but either way, mold should be taken care of when it is in the home uninvited.