Moulds, from the Kingdom Fungi, are microscopic organisms that can be found virtually everywhere, indoors and outdoors. They are a natural part of the decay and decomposition cycle of all organic materials. Organic materials refer to those materials that are or were once living, such as leaves, grass, wood, papers and foods. There are reportedly more than 100,000 species of mould and some estimates of 1,000,000 species of mould present on the earth today. Also contained within the Fungi Kingdom are Mildews and Yeasts.
Some of these moulds or fungi are favorable to us as we eat them with our salads and steaks, however other varieties are not quite so enjoyable. Most moulds are regarded as allergen reaction producing or asthma triggers given the right conditions to most if not all humans. In fact some mould species produce toxins in an effort to protect themselves and the areas in which they live. Unfortunately, some times these areas are in our homes making for an unwanted tenant in your home.
So what does mould look like to the average person! Mould as it grows will take on a wide variety of different colors depending on when you look at it during its life cycle, the material that it is growing on and finally the type or species of mould. In fact during the early growth phases of many moulds there is no visible color and it is not until later on in the life cycle that the colors become present in the spore production phase. Many resources talk about black mould and to be aware of this type of mould. Not all black mould is the toxin producing mould, typically thought to be Stachybotrys.
Discoloration on a surface may be an indication of a mould problem within your home along with a musty or earthy odour. If an odour exists with no visible indication the mould may be hidden from view, for example below a raised sub-floor, within a wall cavity or some other concealed area. Just because you cannot see the growth does not mean that there is not a problem.