What is black mold?

It’s a prognosis no homeowner wants to receive: black mold. We’ve all heard of it, but many of us simply know it as an ominous variety of mold that can be bad for our health. While those are important takeaways, there is more information you should be aware of to protect your home from a potential outbreak and know what to do if one occurs. 

Black mold – also known as Stachybotrys chartarum – is a hazardous species of mold that can grow in a residential home under certain conditions. This fungus has a dark green to black hue and it may appear slimy. Its wet texture sets it apart from other, less harmful molds which are usually fuzzy. 

One of the first warning signs of black mold is a pungent, musty smell. When you notice this scent, be sure to take a peek anywhere there might be constant moisture. It thrives in dark, moist environments where it can feed off cellulose-rich materials such as insulation or cardboard. Basements are a great place for it to thrive.

Even after brief exposure to black mold, you may experience adverse health effects. This is due to the spores they release into the air. Typically, these spores will cause an adverse respiratory response such as coughing or sneezing. Prolonged exposure can lead to even more serious health concerns (talked about below).

How Does Black Mold Form?

Black mold will occur after water damage due to leaks, condensation, or flooding. It requires a constant source of moisture to survive. Just like any other type of mold or mildew, tiny spores can move through the air and land on your walls, furniture, and other surfaces. Once moisture is introduced, mold can take hold quickly. It will eat away at wood, fabric, paper, and any other sort of organic material. 

Symptoms of Black Mold Exposure 

Even brief exposure to black mold can have a negative impact on you and your family’s health. This is especially true for those with existing allergies or respiratory diseases such as asthma. Here are some of the symptoms you might experience when you are exposed to mold: 

  • Respiratory irritation
  • Watery, red eyes 
  • Chronic coughing or sneezing
  • Wheezing
  • Fatigue
  • Skin rash 
  • Runny or blocked nose
  • Headache 
  • Nausea and vomiting

Could Black Mold Lead to Fatality?

Luckily, most healthy individuals don’t need to worry about dying after black mold exposure. Many people won’t even experience any adverse effects at all if they aren’t exposed for too long. However, certain vulnerable populations could be at risk of fatality. Sall children, elderly adults, immune-compromised people, and people with other preexisting conditions could fall ill and die. But even still, this is rare. 

You Should Never Attempt to Remove It Yourself

Black mold is hazardous to be around. As you Google “how to get rid of it”, you might notice a lot of DIY options to remedy the situation. But it’s not worth it to try your hand at a “quick fix” approach when it comes to black mold. 

Mold spreads quickly. It can spring up just 24 – 48 hours after standing water exposure. Once it takes hold, it can snowball into a full-on outbreak quickly. That means mold can creep its way into some pretty hard to reach spots, such as drywall. A cursory wipe down with bleach will more than likely miss spores. 

Additionally, mold spores are present in the air during an outbreak. There isn’t an effective way to remove these spores unless you’re equipped with high-quality, professional gear. Even if you were to clean up every patch of mold on every surface of your home, the outbreak may come back with spores still floating around. 

Finally, you might actually make your situation worse. If you don’t properly eradicate the mold spores, you might just end up spreading them around. This could lead to an even larger outbreak and potentially more adverse health effects for you and your family.  

How to Remove Black Mold 

The best way to get rid of black mold is to call in the professionals. The process is similar to any other mold remediation process. Basically, the only way to remove any mold species is to remove the building material that it’s living on. Solutions such as cleaning or scrubbing will only make the situation worse and the mold will reappear and spread rapidly. Agitating mold on a surface is never a good idea! 

If you’re dealing with mold of any kind, Restoration 1 Central Denver is here for you. Our certified experts offer comprehensive service so you can rest easy knowing your home is safe and free from black mold once the job is done. We strive to provide you with the highest quality experience. Get in touch today! We’re available 24/7 to answer your call! 

Author: John Rust

Author: John Rust

John Rust, Owner of Restoration 1 of Central Denver has been in the exterior and interior restoration industry for 12 years. His background includes exterior building products including roofing and siding, as well as interior restoration and reconstruction. John's experience encompasses field, sales and operations in both industries and currently manages all daily business and operations for Restoration 1 of Central Denver.