Mold v. mildew: what’s the difference and when do I need to be concerned?

Blotch of spores on a wall of your property is often unsightly, but it may not necessarily be a cause for alarm. Since mold and mildew appear similar, it is easy to confuse the two. It is important for property owners to know the signs and differences between mold and mildew before jumping to unnecessary, and often costly, conclusions.

Here are some methods to help you identify harmful types of mold, as well as, additional steps you can take to preemptively combat mold problems:

The warning signs of a mold invasion:

  1. Foul odor. A musty, pungent smell is often a telltale sign that mold is hiding somewhere nearby. Before investigating, however, you should equip yourself with respiratory protection to make sure you are not breathing in harmful mold spores.
  2. Fuzzy appearance: To the naked eye, mold appears much fuzzier and darker than mildew.
  3. Coloration: Mold can grow in a number of different colors, from bright red, to dark, swampy greens. Don’t discount small patches of, what may appear to be, dirt on your wall. Mold, like many other household issues, often get ignored until its too late and in many cases, that small spot on the surface may be covering up a much more significant problem beneath the surface. Mildew, on the other hand, typically appears grayish-white or brown, has a powdery appearance and a foul odor.

The best thing you can do in order to prevent the growth of mold on your building or home is to keep the property dry. Nevertheless, if you are concerned about mold growing in your home or building, here are some preemptive steps you can take in order to reduce the development of harmful mold in or around your property.

  1. Work from the outside, in. Use a water-resistant membrane to keep the exterior of your home or building dry.
  2. Protect your walls from the inside. Apply a protective coating directly to the framework of your home to inhibit the growth of mold in the wall cavity after it has been sealed.
  3. Select a moisture managing insulation. Select an insulation that will keep your walls dry year round.
  4. Use moldresistant drywall. Using a mold resistant drywall will not eliminate, but will help to combat the growth of mold especially in areas with high moisture contents like kitchens, baths and laundry rooms.
  5. Remember to protect decorative features like backsplashes and areas around your shower. Although tile may seem waterproof, it is not. Make sure to protect these areas from moisture intrusion.

While the steps detailed above are great preliminary efforts to minimize and prevent the future growth of harmful mold, you should not overlook the importance of having mold testing conducted by a qualified and experienced professional. The mold specialists at Rarefied Air Environmental offer mold testing in San Diego for your property and will provide you with a comprehensive report that details their findings. Call us today to see what we can do for you!

Mold v. mildew: what’s the difference