Problems with Mold and Mildew | Orange County Hazard Remediation

Mold and mildew are not exactly the same, and understanding the difference is important when remediation is needed.

Both mold and mildew can have serious consequences when they take up residence inside a home or other building. The problems they cause can affect the health and well-being of people, as well as the integrity of the building itself.

Is It Mildew or Mold?

Mildews and molds are different kinds of fungus, and both come in a variety of species. Both of these fungi grow quickly when conditions are humid or moist, which means they are often found in bathrooms, kitchens, and crawl spaces where moisture is present.

In most cases, mildew grows only on the surface of a wall, floor, or ceiling, while molds are capable of extending deeper into the material, making them harder to treat and potentially more harmful.

Mildew is usually white or light grey in color, and molds often appear dark green or black. Mold is what you find on old food in the refrigerator, and mildew more commonly appears only at the surface of whatever material it is growing on.

Because it is restricted to the surface, mildew is easier to get rid of than a mold problem. If the mildew is not extensive, it can often be remediated simply by applying a disinfecting agent to the area.

Molds, on the other hand, are more destructive and extensive in the damage they do, because they are capable of growing deeper into the building material. For example, mold which has gone untreated on framing members in a crawl space or as a result of a leaky drain pipe can destroy the integrity of flooring and framing materials, requiring the complete replacement of these structural elements.

While there are countless species of mold, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports there are five species commonly found causing problems in buildings. These are:

  • Aspergillus, usually found on walls and insulation materials and appearing in many colors,
  • Penicillium which often appears in areas with significant moisture,
  • Alternaria, the most common mold type found in showers, under basins and sinks, and on window frames,
  • Cladosporium, a mold which prefers colder environments,
  • Stachybotrys chartarum, also known as the toxic black mold because it releases a poisonous dust which can cause asthma, allergies, sinus infections, and other serious health problems.

Whatever type of mold or mildew problem you may have, effective solutions are available from Tri Span Environmental.