What Is the Difference Between Black Mold vs Regular Mold?

Did you know that around 70% of homes in the United States have some form of mold growth? It’s a common issue that many people face, and being able to differentiate between black mold and regular mold is essential.

Here at Service First Restoration, we specialize in mold remediation and other restoration services. In this blog post, we will take a closer look at black mold vs regular mold. We’ll delve into the key distinctions between these two types of mold to help you address mold-related problems effectively.

What is Mold?

First things first, what exactly is mold? Mold is essentially a type of fungus that reproduces by releasing tiny spores into the air. These spores are invisible to the naked eye and can settle on various surfaces, where they begin to grow and multiply.

It can grow on various surfaces, including floors, walls, ceilings, and even on organic materials like wood and paper. While mold comes in many colors, the two most common types people often hear about are black mold and regular mold.

Regular Mold

Regular mold is a general term used to describe various types of mold that are not specifically toxic or harmful. These molds typically appear in shades of green, gray, or white. They can cause some health problems, especially in individuals with mold allergies or respiratory issues, but they are not as dangerous as black mold.

Regular mold can be treated through thorough cleaning and control of moisture levels. Keeping your living or working space well-ventilated and dry is the key to preventing regular mold growth.

Service First Restoration can help you identify and remove regular mold, restoring your property to a safe and healthy condition.

Black Mold

Black mold, also known as Stachybotrys chartarum, is a specific type of mold that is notorious for its potential health risks. It gets its name from its dark greenish-black appearance. Unlike regular mold, black mold is considered toxic and should be treated with great caution.

Black mold produces mycotoxins, which can be harmful when inhaled or come into contact with the skin. Exposure to black mold can lead to a range of health issues, including:

  • Respiratory problems
  • Skin irritation
  • Headaches

It can even cause more severe symptoms in individuals with compromised immune systems. If you suspect black mold in your property, it’s crucial to seek professional help immediately. Service First Restoration has the expertise and equipment to safely remove black mold and ensure the affected area is thoroughly cleaned and sanitized.

Black Mold vs. Regular Mold

Understanding the difference between black mold and regular mold is crucial for maintaining a healthy living or working environment.

While regular mold can be a nuisance, black mold demands immediate attention and professional remediation to ensure the safety of occupants. This is because black mold is considered toxic due to the mycotoxins it produces, whereas regular mold is not as harmful.

If you suspect mold growth in your property or have water damage, be sure to contact Service First Restoration for expert assistance in mold remediation and restoration services.

How to Prevent Mold After Water Damage

One in every fifty homes in the United States files water damage claims each year. Water damage is an unfortunate but uncontrollable property problem. Water damage may be the result of poor plumbing, natural wear, and tear, or environmental forces like a nearby hurricane.

Regardless of the cause of your property’s water damage, it is vital to act fast in the case of a water damage cleanup. This will prevent mildew and mold growth, saving you the high financial and health cost of mold remediation down the line.

Learn more below on how to prevent mold after a water damage incident.

What Is Mold?

Mold is a fungus that grows and spreads on the damp matter. The kind of mold and speed at which it spreads depend on:

  • Substrate
  • Moisture
  • Temperature
  • pH
  • Exposure time

Exposure is incredibly important because the faster you dry off an area impacted by water damage, the less likely mold is to grow.

What Causes Mold?

Mold is mainly caused by moisture accumulation. Water damage can result from recklessness in use. This is common in areas like the bathroom where someone showering might continually get an area of the wall soaked.

Or it can be caused by poor plumbing that results in water leaks in drywall. Mold can also result from natural disasters like a flood soaking through the basement carpet.

It’s important to have your property inspected for mold and water damage. Often, water damage is not noticed until it is too late, and it becomes the mold.

That’s when the real problem begins.

The Dangers of Mold?

Mold is reported to be found in an estimated 70% of properties worldwide. This number is alarmingly high, and it is causing serious implications for our health. Nearly 600,000 children under the age of five die each year from mold and air pollution.

Mold is a silent killer.

It can cause an immediate respiratory upset. Down the line, consistent exposure to mold spores can disrupt immunity and cause serious or even deadly illnesses.

Three Steps to Prevent Mold After a Water Damage Incident

If you suspect you might have or develop mold, it is important to act fast. The most important thing after water damage is drying everything in the affected area. Below are three ways to do so.

1. Call the Professionals for Water Vacuums Immediately

Save your local water damage expert’s number on speed dial. This way, in the case of water damage, you can call them and have them come as soon as possible. They will set up industrial water vacuums that suck moisture out of the affected area and prevent mold.

2. Dry, Dry, Dry!

Until the experts come, dry the area as much as possible. Place a large fan in the area or open windows for air circulation. Use a towel to suck up any water and moisture.

3. Remove All Belongings From the Area

While things are drying, remove any belongings from the area. These include carpets, toys, books, or anything else. Make sure to put them outside or over a plastic drop cloth to not spread water damage to other areas.

Act Fast! Prevent Mold

Mold is common, but it is not normal. Even small exposure to certain kinds of mold can saturate the body with toxins. Follow these steps to prevent mold growth.

If you do experience water damage or need mold remediation services, get in touch immediately for the safety of your health and home.

Carpet Mold

Carpet is one of the items most likely to experience mold after flooding.  But even a “small” spill can lead to problems if it’s ignored.  It’s even possible to experience moldy carpet due to high humidity.  And the outbreak can be on the underside and padding, hidden from view.  Regardless of the location mold releases allergens and toxins into the air, creating mild to serious health hazards in addition to odors and ugly spots.

Any discoloration or odors that you can’t trace back to a recent “accident” may well be mold, especially if the carpet is over a basement or ground-level concrete floor. There should be a vapor barrier to keep ground moisture out, but the barrier may no longer be intact.  Following EPA guidelines any infestation more than a few feet across should be treated only by mold remediation specialists.  That includes hidden areas — if there’s any doubt lift the carpet and have a look.


You can keep mold from growing in the first place by keeping the carpet clean and dry.  Take care of spills, overflows, and leaks immediately.  You can blot small areas dry with old towels.  Keep in mind that moisture can remain trapped underneath the carpet even when the top surface feels dry.  For areas near a wall you can quickly lift the carpet to check.  That also lets it dry from both sides.

Mold spores are already almost everywhere, just waiting for prolonged dampness.  With just a little moisture spores begin growing in 24 to 48 hours.  So you have that long to get the carpet, padding, and sub-floor thoroughly dry.

Seeing mold due to humidity?  Keeping indoor relative humidity below 50% (but above 30% for human comfort) is a big help.  If improved ventilation doesn’t do it, try a portable dehumidifier.  Needless to say, avoid wall-to-wall carpet in the bathroom.

In a little-known study, the Carpet and Rug Institute (CRI) discovered that the presence of dirt is actually a bigger factor than humidity!  That’s because the synthetic fibers of most carpets don’t provide nutrients.  So regular carpet steam cleaning in addition to vacuuming can be a big help, even a remedy.

Already a Problem?

The first step is to identify and stop the source of moisture, then thoroughly dry the affected area.  After that, it’s not enough simply to kill the mold.  Its spores and allergens need to be physically removed.  Throughout the process, a face mask and gloves are necessary personal protection.  And as per those EPA guidelines treating areas above 10 square feet should involve professionals with isolation and air-purification equipment.

For minor outbreaks, do-it-yourself methods may be enough.  They include solutions of dishwashing detergent, vinegar, baking soda, or Lysol disinfectant.  But after those treatments assure the carpet and padding are thoroughly dry then move on to physical removals, such as scrubbing with a brush followed by vacuuming.  Steam cleaning has been shown to be effective in eliminating mold when each area is heated for at least 12 seconds.

In Brief

Moldy carpet can be hard to thoroughly remediate.  But maintaining a clean, dry, low-humidity environment goes a long way in preventing moldy carpet in the first place.  You can often take care of small areas yourself, but major outbreaks require the services of mold remediation specialists and usually involve replacing the carpet and padding.

For more information, visit https://www.nachi.org/carpet-mold.htm.


Mold or Moisture in My Home: What do I do?

The California Department of Public Health is a great resource for information on Mold & Moisture!  Here is what they say:

Background: About Mold and Dampness

Molds are simple, microscopic organisms, present virtually everywhere, indoors and outdoors. Molds, along with mushrooms and yeasts, are fungi and are needed to break down dead plant and animal material and to recycle nutrients in the environment. Because molds grow by digesting organic material, they gradually destroy whatever they grow on. Molds can grow on surfaces or objects in buildings. Mold growth on surfaces can often be seen in the form of discoloration: frequently white, gray, brown, or black but also green and other colors. They may be visible or, if inside walls or building structures, not visible to you.
For molds to grow and reproduce, they need only a food source—any organic matter, such as leaves, wood,  paper, or dust—and moisture, which does not have to be liquid water but can be just a damp material or surface. Because organic matter is always available, moisture or dampness in buildings is thus the limiting factor determining whether mold can grow. Molds can usually grow whenever enough moisture is available.
Common sources of moisture that may lead to indoor mold problems include:

  • Flooding
  • Leaky roof
  • Sprinkler spray hitting a building
  • Plumbing leaks
  • Overflow from sinks or sewers
  • Damp basement or crawl space
  • Steam from showers or cooking
  • Humidifiers
  • Wet clothes hung to dry indoors
  • A clothes dryer that exhausts air indoors

Prevention is important to avoid mold problems. Inspect your home, school, or workplace regularly for signs and sources of indoor moisture and mold.

Read more – Mold & Moisture in My Home!

Dampness in Buildings

Source:  https://www.cdph.ca.gov/Programs/CCDPHP/DEODC/EHLB/IAQ/Pages/Mold.aspx

Advanced Drying Methods Will Save Time and Money

With any sort of water leak or intrusion the groundwork for damage is laid down within minutes, as moisture quickly soaks in too deeply for natural evaporation to remove it fast enough.  Mold, warping wood, and disintegrating drywall can get started in as little as 24 hours and continue for weeks.  But by beginning immediately, applied structural drying technicians together with the latest in equipment can prevent most (if not all) secondary damage, greatly reducing the cost and delays of water damage restoration.  They’ll thoroughly dry the structure, and may provide drying in place services for the building contents as well.

Drying The Structure

Certification as an applied structural drying technician requires specific coursework, hands-on experience, and ongoing education.  Topics include not only how to identify signs of hidden water damage and dry the building but technical topics as well such as how different wet structural materials behave, microbiology, psychometrics, ventilation and air movement, and much more. That way they understand what’s going on and what might happen next.

Industry-specific drying equipment is also critical in ending those weeks of progressive deterioration.  A modern arsenal includes high-capacity pumps, high-performance surface water extraction vacuums, refrigerant dehumidifiers, specialized air movers, purpose-built dryers, and sensitive moisture-measuring instruments.  A full line of gear also includes thermal foggers, ozone generators, and/or hydroxyl generators to neutralize mold and bacterial odors throughout the building all at once.

So an applied structural drying expert’s knowledge and experience work together along with state-of-the-art equipment to block as much additional damage as possible.  That rescues more belongings and greatly reduces the cost and time it takes for repairs, returning your life back to normal all the sooner.  In extreme situations an advanced drying system can prevent structural damage and the huge costs and disruptions of demolition and reconstruction for major mold removal and water damaged areas.

Drying Building Contents

With prompt professional drying and cleaning, carpet, upholstered furniture, and other building contents can often be rescued.  But there’s been a bit of controversy in our industry as to the best overall approach to the drying process — pack out versus drying in place.

Pack Out

After significant flooding pack out services remove possessions from the damp and contaminated environment for treatment off-site.  That speeds restoring the building and allows the use of equipment not easily moved to the home or business.  But it does add the costs and delays of packing, unpacking, repacking, and unpacking again.  Plus creating and tracking a detailed inventory all along the way.

Drying In Place

With recent advancements in equipment and techniques drying in place is now practical in many situations.  After surface water extraction, dehumidifiers may have enough capacity to dry out the structure and its contents at the same time.  In some cases it may not even be necessary to remove carpet and pad with in-place drying.  There’s also equipment specifically designed for drying hardwood floors in place, avoiding the major costs and disruptions of complete replacement.

Our Conclusion

It takes a well-trained drying technician with hands on experience to determine if in-place drying is appropriate.  And all the right tools & equipment to make it work.  There are two key factors.  First, measurements of moisture content needs to show that drying can be achieved quickly enough.  Second, if there is a biohazard contamination (water Categories 2 or 3, formerly called gray and black) if must also be possible to thoroughly disinfect an item for drying in place.



Mold Basics

You’ve probably been hearing more and more about mold problems.  That’s not some fad or industry promoting itself; there are two very good reasons behind it.  First, medical experts have come to realize that mold contributes to or causes many more health issues than previously thought.  Second, recently constructed buildings are more energy-efficient.  As part of that, they’re “tighter” with far less outside air coming in through door and window seals as well as other construction details.  That makes it more likely for excess indoor humidity to build up, and that’s all mold really needs to grow.

It’s quite reasonable for you to take care of small outbreaks yourself, but you need to learn the right way of doing that and understand when calling in a professional is necessary.  But first, let’s understand a little about mold itself.


About Mold

Mold is a particular type of fungus that grows in long multicelled filaments.  It’s that fuzzy stuff you see on stale bread and other foods.  And sometimes on your walls and ceilings.  There are about 1,000 different species common in the United States and some 100,000 worldwide.  Mold growth doesn’t need any light.  It simply feeds off of dissolved nutrients.  Many building materials such as plywood, paneling, drywall, and wood framing are great food sources as are fabric, paper, carpeting, and carpet padding.  So it really only really needs a bit of moisture to get going, and that can happen in total darkness.

How it Spreads

Mold reproduces through thousands and even millions of tiny spores. Invisibly tiny they travel on the smallest of air currents.  They’re common just about everywhere outdoors and easily make their way indoors to just about any location imaginable.  Spores are highly resilient.  They can survive all sorts of drying and other conditions while they wait for the right conditions to start growing.

A colony can flourish in as little as 24 hours after moisture becomes present.  Or it may take one to two weeks to really get going.  Although temperatures from 77 to 86 deg F are ideal for most species, mold growth can occur at anywhere from 40 to 100 deg. F.  That’s pretty much year-round in Orange County and most of Southern California.  Besides moisture problems in the bath, since water vapor can condense inside walls, crawl spaces, and other building cavities you could have a major outbreak completely hidden from view.

Mold Problems

Those fuzzy blotches are ugly, and are usually accompanied by a musty smell.  Mold also gradually damages building materials and if it goes on long enough can even lead to structural damage.  But its impact on human health (as well as that of pets) is its biggest hazard.  All species release allergens and irritants that can lead to a runny nose, sinus congestion, headaches, eye/nose/skin irritations, coughing or breathing problems.  Often mere annoyances such symptoms shouldn’t be ignored as they can lead to respiratory infections and breathing problems, especially among seniors and children.

You’ve probably heard about infamous black mold creating toxic conditions and even rendering buildings uninhabitable.  But not all black molds are toxic, and certain species of other colors also release mycotoxins that with prolonged exposure can lead to problems as serious as life-threatening and permanent organ damage.

Mold Testing

If you suspect you have a mold problem but can’t spot anything obvious, or if you’ve had any degree of water damage, calling a professional company for an inspection is a good idea.  They’ll perform a detailed visual evaluation that should include lifting carpet and perhaps wall paper, moving furniture, and having a look inside air ducts.  They may also use infrared cameras or moisture meters to check for damp spots.  They may even drill a small and easily patched hole in the wall to use a borescope to look inside.

Many experts advise that if an outbreak is found there’s no need for mold testing.  Simply proceed with mold removal, following all the precautions you would if you knew that a toxic species was present.  If there’s odors or health concerns with no visible signs, then taking samples and lab testing them is the next step in mold remediation.  There are several types of samples: air (via filters), bulk materials, surface, and swabbing.  No single one covers everything so a pair of samples are usually taken.  Test results will indicate things such as the species found and a count of mold spores in the sample.  Surprisingly, there’s no federal standards for acceptable levels.

Mold testing is actually more common after mold abatement work in order to test that removal was successful and levels aren’t in excess of those outdoors.

Next Time

In our next post we’ll talk about the mold removal process itself as well as how to prevent its growth in the first place.  Until then, here’s a great reference to learn more about the basics:  https://www.epa.gov/mold/ten-things-you-should-know-about-mold.


3 Reasons Why You Should Clean Up Mold Right Away

It’s easy to put off home maintenance, especially when it’s “just” a matter of a few fuzzy spots in the bath, kitchen, laundry room, or basement.  But what you see could be simply a clue to a much bigger problem of hidden mold that’s completely out of sight.  Even a small area of a toxic variety can still pose serious health problems for you and your family.  And in business situations, it’s the owner’s legal responsibility to protect workers and the public alike from such hazards.  So it’s much more important than appearance or mold damage to the building.

About Mold

MoldThere are thousands of different species of all different colors, but all are a type of fungi.  They don’t need light to grow (actually preferring dim and dark places) — just moisture, a few dissolved nutrients, and moderate to cool temperatures.  When threatened by dryness or a lack of food they spread by producing spores.  Mold spores are tiny, almost invisible, and float great distances on the tiniest of air currents.  They’re just about everywhere outdoors… and indoors, just waiting for the right conditions to grow.

The first signs of mold problems may be small fuzzy growths around the tub, shower, or anywhere moisture lingers.  Pretty much the same as what grows on stale bread and old food in the fridge.  But an outbreak may be entirely inside a wall or above the ceiling in the case of a roof or plumbing leak, underneath carpeting after incomplete drying from a spill, or within a damp crawlspace.  In that case, your only indication may be a musty odor.  Or the signs of the mold may be seemingly unconnected health problems.  Those include allergies and allergy-like symptoms such as eye, nose, and throat irritations as well as prolonged flu-like symptoms such as headaches and fatigue.

Those 3 Reasons to Remove Mold Immediately

Those 3 Reasons to Remove Mold Immediately

Even if you just suspect there might be a problem with mold in your home or place of business it’s important to find out for sure, and to take swift action if it’s indeed present.  Here are the 3 main reasons to do so without delay.

#1:  Health Problems

The common symptoms caused by mold spores and the contaminants that molds release may seem like a minor nuisance, but why put up with them?  More importantly, they can trigger asthma attacks and lead to upper respiratory infections, especially for children and the elderly.  But the Number 1 Issue is that many species are toxic.  That includes the infamous black mold, but toxic varieties have other colors as well.  Prolonged exposure can lead to organ damage and other life-threatening or permanent conditions.

#2:  Mold Damage to the Building

Mold growth works its way into porous building materials such as wood, plaster, and gypsum board.  There it causes progressive deterioration such as discoloration and weakening.  Painting, even with a “kills” blocker, hides the problem but doesn’t stop it.  Proper mold remediation requires replacing those materials.  So the more time mold has to spread the more mold damage repair costs you’ll likely be facing.  Plus you want your home or business site to be sound and attractive, and an untreated mold problem can be a huge complication in a real estate transaction.

#3:  It Can Quickly Become Much Worse

When moisture and temperatures are just right mold can grow and spread at an incredible rate.  That can suddenly leave you unable to occupy a room or the entire building until a professional mold removal service has completed its work followed by major repairs and even reconstruction.  Don’t forget that with hidden mold the problem could already be much bigger than you think.

Getting Help on Mold Removal

The EPA has great resources on dealing with mold in your home at https://www.epa.gov/mold/mold-cleanup-your-home, including the necessary precautions and step-by-step instructions to remove mold yourself.  But they also discuss how for areas larger than 10 square feet there are important reasons to have a professional remove mold.  You should only hire a company specifically licensed for mold remediation, with a permanent local presence and a strong reputation.