Black Mold Identification Guide

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Getting to know black mold and your treatment options

Not everyone realizes that there are different types of mold which have different effects on people who are exposed to them. Most of us are well aware that mold spores can affect our breathing and put people’s health at risk, particularly when they’re young, old or pregnant, but not everyone realizes that there are different types of mold and that some are worse than others.Today, we’re talking about black mold, a type of toxic mold that can damage your property and have a serious impact on your health. Known also by its scientific name of stachybotrys chartarum, black mold can appear to be green or grey and will release toxic substances into the air if it’s left to grow unchecked.Today, we’re talking about black mold, a type of toxic mold that can damage your property and have a serious impact on your health. Known also by its scientific name of stachybotrys chartarum, black mold can appear to be green or grey and will release toxic substances into the air if it’s left to grow unchecked.

Identifying black mold isn’t easy, and often the first warning sign that people receive is a sort of earthy, musty smell, a smell which you’ll recognize as mold straight away if you’ve experienced it before. The actual testing process typically involves using mold testing kits, many of which can be found either in stores or online on sites like Amazon. We’ll share some of our recommendations on that later on in this blog post.

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Black Mold Identification Guide
What does black mold look like on various surfaces?

Before we go ahead and recommend some of our favorite black mold testing kits, it makes sense to go back to the beginning and to tell you what to look out for. Remember that if you’re ever worried about black mold damage then the best thing to do is to contact a skilled professional who can carry out the work on your behalf.

Black mold is like other molds in that it prefers damp and dark places, typically starting in the corner of a wall and expanding outwards from it. If it smells bad and looks black then there’s a good chance you’re dealing with black mold. Remember that black mold doesn’t necessarily have to look black. It can also appear to be grey, green and other colors.

In our experience, black mold typically grows outwards from its point of origin and tends to affect basements, garages and attics as well as kitchens and bathrooms. It can be deeply detrimental to your health if left unchecked and cause all sorts of unpleasant respiratory illnesses. That’s why even though we’re happy to tell you how to identify black mold, we don’t recommend trying to tackle it without the help of a qualified professional.

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What does black mold look like on wood?

Black mold can’t grow on the wood in your house without moisture present, so if you find moisture on your wooden surfaces then that’s a sign that you ought to be concerned. The problem can be exacerbated if there are nearby water sources and even by the placement of fans throughout your house. Sometimes it can be better just to test for it than to take a risk, especially because wood has natural variations anyway that can look like mold.

How to get rid of black mold on wood

You have a choice of different products when it comes to dealing with black mold on wood, but remember that if you’re not careful then you can cause more damage than you cure. As well as specialist mold removal products, you can also use diluted bleach, distilled white vinegar, and even dishwashing detergent. Remember that there are different types of black mold and not all of them are toxic, but at the same time, it’s better to be safe than sorry. If you do attempt to deal with black mold damage to wood in your property then make sure that you wear appropriate equipment including breathing apparatus and safety gloves.

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What does black mold look like on drywall?

Black mold is often easier to spot on drywall because of the severe discoloration it causes. The bigger issue is identifying how deep the mold goes. It’s much easier to clean up black mold damage if it’s only on the surface, but if it’s inside the drywall then it will require a qualified professional. The chances are that they’ll need to remove parts of the wall itself and then replace it.

How to get rid of black mold on drywall

This largely depends upon whether the wall has been painted or not. If the wall has been painted then it’s often possible to simply wipe the mold from the top coat and disinfect it before painting over the top of it, but you’ll need to make sure that every trace of the black mold has gone before you coat over it. For best results, simply call a professional. Still, if you want to take on the black mold at home then try using a mixture of one part baking soda to five parts of water before switching to harsher bleaches and detergents. Be sure to keep the room well ventilated at all times to stop yourself from breathing in too many fumes or spores.

What does black mold look like on concrete?

When black mold grows on concrete, it’s typically after the concrete has been left wet in an area like a basement. This presence of water can be the first indicator that you might be dealing with a problem. It’s also more common in outdoor areas that are in the shade as it can be more difficult for them to dry off completely during wet weather. As always, you’ll be able to differentiate black mold from other types of the mold by its coloration and its intense smell. If in doubt, use a testing kit.

How to get rid of black mold on concrete

As with drywall, you can use diluted bleach or other solutions if you want to try to tackle the black mold yourself. There are also specialist cleaning products out there which are specifically designed for cleaning black mold and disinfecting affected surfaces. Just be sure that if you do tackle the mold yourself, you wear appropriate equipment and carry out the work in a well-ventilated area.

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Home Mold Removal Process

What does black mold look like on carpet?

Black mold can be a little more difficult to spot on carpets than on other surfaces because it can resemble mud damage, stains and other wear and tear. The difference is that black mold tends to be in areas where the carpet or its surroundings are a little damp and it tends to smell bad. It can help to lift up the carpet to check beneath it as it’s not uncommon for the mold to spread beneath the carpet as well as across its facade.

How to get rid of black mold on carpet

The first thing that you’ll need to worry about is identifying and removing the source of the moisture. Until the moisture has been dealt with, there’s every chance that the mold will grow back. Once you’ve dealt with the moisture, the next step is to remove any areas of carpet that are too damaged to be repaired. After that, you can use your cleaning products to remove any remaining mold before replacing any areas of carpet that were too far gone to be rescued.

What does black mold look like on the walls?

The biggest challenge when it comes to identifying black mold damage on walls is making sure that it is, in fact, black mold and not white mold or mildew. This is made more complicated by the fact that both mold and mildew can grow on paint, wallpaper and other surfaces. Mold tends to be almost “fluffy” as opposed to mildew, which is mostly just discoloration and is much harder to remove. If regular cleaning products are able to remove it then it’s probably mildew as opposed to black mold.

How to get rid of black mold on walls

As always, it’s important to remember that black mold can be hazardous to your health, so make sure that you’re wearing protective equipment and working in a well-ventilated area when you try to tackle it. On top of that, it’s possible for the black mold to work itself into the walls as opposed to just across the outer surface, so further testing may be required. If you carry out the work yourself, keep a close eye on the wall to make sure that the mold doesn’t grow back.

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What does black mold look like on insulation?

Not everyone realizes that black mold can grow on insulation, and part of the reason for that is that fiberglass and cellulose insulation are specifically designed to prohibit mold growth. The problem is that if the insulation gets dirty, the dirt can grow mold, so the real challenge is figuring out whether your insulation is just dirty or whether it’s supporting the growth of black mold. If you spot unsightly areas on your insulation that can’t be removed with conventional cleaning products, you may be dealing with black mold.

How to get rid of black mold on insulation

Dealing with black mold on insulation is a little different to cleaning it from walls and concrete because it’s often easier to completely remove the affected insulation and to replace it than it is to try to clean the insulation itself. Remember that if you attempt to carry out the work then you should make sure that you’re wearing protective equipment including a face mask. Or for best results, call a professional with the equipment and the expertise needed to deal with the problem safely and professionally.

What does black mold look like on windows?

Black mold tends to affect windows and their surrounding areas if there’s persistent condensation or if the windows are continually left open. In most cases, the black mold will grow outwards from the source of the moisture, discoloring any surfaces it crosses paths with. It can even make its way to the inside of window frames and if you miss a patch, it can start to grow back almost immediately. Make sure you identify all patches of black mold and that you tackle all and not just some of them.

How to get rid of black mold on windows

We usually follow a two-step approach for tackling black mold on windows, starting with a dry clean using a powerful vacuum cleaner to collect the spores. This dry clean is followed by a wet clean with specialist cleaning materials to tackle any remnants. This is also where we’ll thoroughly disinfect the surface to reduce the odds of the mold coming back.

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What does black mold look like on basement walls?

Identifying black mold in basements can be tricky because of how dark and dingy they tend to be in the first place and because the mold can be hiding out of sight or tucked into a corner somewhere. Luckily for you, one of the best ways to identify black mold is by sight and smell. If it’s black or a blackish color such as green or grey, and if it gives off a strong smell that goes above and beyond just the smell of the moisture, you could be dealing with black mold.

How to get rid of black mold on basement walls

Removing black mold from basement walls is similar to removing it from other walls, although it becomes more important than ever to wear the correct safety equipment as basements are typically poorly ventilated. Use the correct cleaning products and call for backup from a qualified professional if you’re struggling.

What does black mold look like on sheetrock?

Also commonly called “drywall”, sheetrock is a commonly used building material throughout the world. When it’s affected by black mold, it takes on the typical black/grey/brown discoloration that’s characteristic of black mold and can also start to smell. The key to understanding the problem is to determine how far the mold has penetrated and whether the sheetrock can be cleaned or whether it needs to be removed entirely.

How to get rid of black mold on sheetrock

Cleaning black mold from sheetrock typically involves removing any moisture and stopping the source of the water before tackling the mold with the usual cleaning products. As always, make sure that you carry out the cleaning in a well-ventilated area and call for professional help if you’re struggling.

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What does black mold look like on wood floors?

The main problem with identifying black mold on wood floors is the fact that floors by their very nature tend to get scuffed and damaged over time. If regular cleaning and buffing doesn’t shift the damage then it’s likely that you’re dealing with black mold. Be sure to look beneath the floor to identify how far the mold has spread.

How to get rid of black mold on wood floors

Tackling black mold on wood floors can be a little different from cleaning other surfaces because, on top of the usual approaches, another option is to sand the floor and refinish it. It really depends upon the scale of the damage that you’re dealing with, which is why it can help to call a qualified professional. It can often work out cheaper to hire a professional than to tackle the job yourself and to make the problem worse.

Black mold health risks long-term

The reason that black mold is so dangerous is that it releases spores into the air which can cause respiratory problems, coughing and sneezing, eye irritation, rashes, headaches and more. And these problems will only get worse in the event of long-term exposure, which is why it’s important to deal with black mold as quickly as possible.

Neurological symptoms of mold exposure

Mold exposure can cause a wide range of unpleasant neurological symptoms, and if you’re experiencing more than one of them at any time then it’s a sign that you may be suffering from black mold exposure. The most common neurological symptoms of mold exposure include depression, anxiety and nervousness, tiredness, headaches and migraines, forgetfulness, concentration problems and poor balance.

What are the symptoms of black mold poisoning?

The main things to worry about are the respiratory and neurological symptoms that we’ve already discussed, so be on the lookout for those. Remember though that black mold is unpredictable and so this list of symptoms is far from complete. It’s also particularly damaging to young people, the elderly and pregnant women and therefore these groups, in particular, are at high risk.

Black mold exposure treatment

Antihistamines and decongestants can provide short-term relief to people who are suffering from exposure to black mold, but we’d also recommend seeking medical assistance as soon as possible, especially if you fall into one of the high-risk areas. Some mold allergies are ongoing and will require prescription medication to tackle them. If possible, use a home testing kit for black mold before you speak to your doctor so that you have a clearer idea of exactly what you’re dealing with.

Home test kit for black mold

As you can probably tell from the list of symptoms for accidental exposure, it’s important to know as early as possible if black mold is in fact what you’re dealing with. That way you can hire some help and also seek medical attention if you’re worried about exposure. The good news is that there are plenty of home testing kits for black mold available and that you can even order them online and have them shipped directly to your property.

DIY mold test/mold testing kit

If you’re worried that your property might be affected by black mold and you want to know for certain, the best thing to do is to pick up a DIY mold test/mold testing kit. The good news is that these are available to pick up from Amazon, although you may want to use Prime or pay extra for next day delivery as time is of the essence when it comes to dealing with any type of mold, and black mold in particular.

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Free mold testing in Charlotte North Carolina

Here at 24/7 Water Damage Charlotte, mold testing and mold repair is just one of the many services that we have to offer. We also offer mold remediation services which are designed to stop mold from becoming a problem in the first place. After all, prevention is better than the cure!

We’re proud to serve the community that we live and work in, which is one of the reasons why we offer free mold testing throughout each of our coverage areas. So if you live in and around the Charlotte area and you’re worried about black mold, be sure to get in touch. One of our engineers will be more than happy to come over and take a look so that you know what you’re dealing with and there’s no obligation for you to pay us a thing. Get in touch to find out more!

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