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Photographs of mold growth in buildings:
Here is an extensive photo guide to mold growth on things found around the home or in it including mold on plastic or rubber garden hose, mold on glass surfaces such as window panes, mold on hardboard used indoors, mold on houseplants, mold on insulating boards and sheathing, mold on or in fiberglass insulation, mold on or in foam insulating boards or spray foam, moldy mattresses and bedding, even pillow-cases, mold in metal stud walls, mold on metal surfaces such as filing cabinets, mold in modular homes or other modular buildings.
What does mold look like growing on various building & other material surfaces? Here is an online reference photo library of various kinds of mold as it is found growing on a wide range of surfaces and materials found on or in buildings. These photos of mold on indoor various materials or "mold growth substrates" may help you recognize mold in buildings, recognize probably-cosmetic mold, and recognize stuff that is not mold and does not need to be tested.
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MOLD APPEARANCE on VARIOUS SURFACES - INDEX
to return to the index / list of photographs of the appearance of mold on various building materials & contents.
--- MOLD GROWTH on MATERIAL SURFACES PHOTOS GROUP 6 ---
[Click to enlarge any image]
This photograph illustrates mold growth on a common garden hose.
This fireplace panel where the flames go is green and black, it is not fuzzy and cannot scrape with fingernail. It does not fade with bleach or mold remover…just curious, do you know if this is a color from flames burning over time. The apartment does not have any mildew or dampness under rug (replaced it) and the walls are not moldy behind wallpaper (removed and painted) and it is dry.
Do you know if this is a discoloration that old fireplace inserts get? I could not find this addressed on your website.
I called an antiques dealer in Wash. DC as he had photos of similar fireplace inserts in his store for sale and says its wear. - Anonymous by private email 2016/07/29
It's an odd pattern that doesn't look flame-related; but if the stains were from algae or mold on a ceramic surface I'd think they'd at least lighten with use of a cleaner or bleach solution. The photograph itself is insufficient, and your description of inability to remove any of the green and black stain areas by cleanign or wiping argues against it, but the pattern and colors do look a bit like mold growth.
Please see GAS FIREPLACE CERAMIC STAINS where we discuss this gas fireplace and its stains in detail. Although the pattern, texture, and color of the deposits in this gas fireplace look like mold in the photo, without a laboratory test of a surface sample of these deposit mateirals we cannot know for sure what they are and thus we won't be sure about how to remove them nor whether or not the deposits indicate other unsafe conditions.
At MOLD TEST KITSI describe the method I recommended to you for collecting tape samples suitable for settled dust, mold or other particle examination tests. You can use this procedure for surface dust or debris analysis byt any qualified mold or forensic laboratory.
Watch out: If gas fireplace deposits are sooty and are being caused by a burner or combustion air defect the system is unsafe and should be left shut down until it can be inspected and reparied; combustion defects on gas fueled appliances risk fatal carbon monoxide poisoning.
See CARBON MONOXIDE WARNING
Mold found "growing" on glass is most likely growing on organic deposits that are on the glass surface like the overflows on these wine brewing bottles. We have also observed more serious damage to glass lenses on cameras and binoculars exposed to mold. In that case mold is attacking coatings on the lenses.
At below right (click to enlarge) you can just see white fungal mycelia that permeated this sample of hardboard siding that had been used as wall paneling in a church's damp basement.
Above we show white mildew on the leaves of a Jasmine plant that moves between indoors and outside at our house. Left outside in the sun and not over-watered the plant generally doesn't have a mildew problem. But indoors, over-watered, or outdoors in shade and in rainy weather, the leaves can quickly become covered with white mildew.
Mildew only grows on living plants so if you see white mold on your shoes or somewhere else, unless they're made out of green leaves, it's not mildew.
For details on what to do about cleaning off or removing mildew, and how to both cure and prevent mildew.ee
This photograph illustrates mold growth on insulating board product whose principal ingredient is wood fibers.
In our photo at below left we see black mold and other mold growths on the kraft paper facing of fiberglass building insulation. Our black mold photo on kraft paper found on a different section of building insulation (below right) illustrates mold colonies that do not always grow in round colonies shown other mold photographs.
At below left our photograph shows mold on the wrap covering fiberglass insulation used on piping.
Watch out: black stuff is not always mold: at below right our photograph of a black streak across a batt of fiberglass insulation is an example of a marking that a client thought was mold contamination. The black material was a pigment, not mold, and was associated with the product's manufacturing process.
Watch out again: However other samples of this fiberglass batt were found to be contaminated with Aspergillus sp. - it was not visible to the naked eye.
More building roof insulation mold in a different growth pattern is below.
Details about fiberglass insulation contamination, testing, and research begin
at FIBERGLASS INSULATION MOLD
The following photograph illustrates mold growth on asbsestos pipe insulation.
More photos of moldy pipe insulation are at MOLD on ASBESTOS PIPE INSULATION
The mattress and bedding photographs shown above along with more images are discussed at MOLD ON CLOTHING, CLOTH, BEDDING
Below are photographs from two different buildings each of which suffered significant mold contamination in the metal wall stud cavity. Both buildings conducted water around the walls from a single leak point source when water flowed in the metal sill plate.
The severe mold contamination in the wall cavities shown above was detected by first making a very small test cut in a suspicious area (where flooring was buckled).
See HIDDEN MOLD in CEILINGS / WALLS for details.
It's less surprising to find mold growth on a stainless steel surface if you consider that the surface may have had a film coating of food or other organic material. The moldy stainless steel sink in these photographs was in a home that had been left flooded for two or more weeks.
Below we illustrate white mold growth on the painted surface of a concrete-filled steel Lally column in the basement of a home examined by an InspectApedia reader (below left), and mold growth on the painted surface of a metal filing cabinet that was inspected in the flooded basement of a White Plains NY office building (below right).
I was hoping you could help me identify a growth that I just saw yesterday on a house I was touring. It was located on the steel beams in the basement only, so I thought that was odd, as some things I have read indicated that mold does not really like to grow on metal (not a food source).
There is no other evidence of water damage in the basement. Any ideas as to what the growth in the attached pictures could be? - M. 15 Feb 2015
There are two candidates for this white material:
Likely: a white fungus (mold). You're right that most molds don't like to grow directly on steel but this is painted steel and plenty of fungi like various paints. In fact I've collected mold samples even from stainless steel and glass surfaces, though IMO in those cases it was actually living on a coating on that surface such as a lens coating or a food, dust or debris coating that contained organics.
See WHITE MOLD PHOTOS
Some white or light coloured molds such as (but not limited-to) members of the Penicillium or Aspergillus genera can produce small, easily-airborne toxic or pathogenic mold spores that present a health risk to building occupants.
Unlikely: a mineral salt (effloresence) that is unlikely unless the Lally column has been wet AND has numerous pinholes right through the steel (effloresence is a mineral salt left on surfaces when salts leached by moisture from a masonry material such as concrete are left on the surface)
See EFFLORESCENCE SALTS & WHITE DEPOSITS
When I magnify your image I see what looks like a fungal growth material but my view is limited. A close-up examination by high power magnifying glass would perhaps reveal either an organic or fungal structure or crystalline structure characteristic of effloresence. Without a tape sample with which in our lab we could make a definitive particle identification, I'm guessing that the white material on the steel column in your photo is a white fungus.
What does this mean to you? Maybe not much, but I'd be alert for high moisture in the basement where these posts were found since in either case this white stuff is a moisture indicator. Why "just" on these posts?
... if it is indeed a white fungus- is it hazardous? The house is bank owned and otherwise in great shape, but the fact that it's bank owned means I'll be responsible for any kind of remediation and also stuck with the outcome.
... you know what I'm going to answer so I'll be brief:
Only a fatuous fibber or fool would pretend to tell you that s/he can identify the genera and species of white stuff that looks like mold on a Lally column based on a photo, much less to assert just how safe or dangerous it is. There are about 1.5 million mold species, about 80,000 that have been well studied, and probably thousands of species that are white, and perhaps hundreds that we know about and that are white and that might grow on a painted steel surface.
The total area of mold represented by white mold-suspect material on a Lally column is likely to be trivial - not sufficient by itself to merit professional treatment (it's less than 30 sq.ft. of contiguous mold). Remove it, clean the surfaces, using any household cleaner and taking common sense personal protection (eyes, skin &c)
General safety advice:
1. Don't put a dirty mold-covered finger in your eye - you could get an eye infection
2. Heed my warning that the conditions that produced the mold you can see may have produced more important mold growth that you haven't seen. Look for the possible causes of water entry, leaks, high humidity, condensation - and fix those.
OPINON: a house that is bank-owned is more likely than others to have been left unattended - which can explain leaks, moisture, condensation - and to have been cleaned and prepped for re-sale by a contractor who is charged with making things look good at the lowest cost. If you find an inspector who has no conflicts of interest, and who has your interest in mind, s/he ought to be able to reduce for you the risk of surprises - reduce, not eliminate them.
Above: extensive whit
See details at MOBILE HOME MOLD CONTAMINATION
Mold may be found in surprising locations in modular homes depending on the home's delivery conditions and construction history.
Residential modular home structures include cavities between floors and some walls that an inexperienced inspector may fail to consider. Knowing that water had entered this modular structure we obtained permission for some destructive inspecting that helped track how water had moved through the building.
For details about the causes of and detection of mold contamination in modular constructed homes
see MODULAR HOME MOLD CONTAMINATION
Also see MOLD GROWTH on SURFACES, TABLE OF our table of mold growth locations in buildings
where we include MOBILE & MODULAR HOME MOLD
Above we see mold on wet cardboard boxes used to store Quaker State motor oil, contributed by reader [Anonymous] 2016/08/25 by private email. The reader commented and then asked:
Might be from a leak from neighbors bathroom. No product leaked out of containers in boxes, but was asked if mold and mushrooms can grow in clean motor oil.
Motor oil, itself toxic to most living organisms, will not be found supporting visible mold growth. On the other hand, it is not accurate to say that absolutely no microorganisms "grow" in or function in motor oils. Walker (1975) discussed the effects of thermophilic bacteria and mold on the break down of motor oil of the type likely to be found in nearshore wastewater discharges and wastewater. See
CONTACT us to submit photographs of mold growth on other man-made or building-related materials.
Continue reading at MOLD GROWTH on SURFACES, PHOTOS_GROUP_7 or select a topic from closely-related articles below, or see our complete INDEX to RELATED ARTICLES below.
Or see MOLD APPEARANCE on VARIOUS SURFACES - INDEX to return to the full list of photographs of the appearance of mold on various building materials & contents.
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(Aug 3, 2011) taz said:
thank you for your help! i've been trying to find out if i have mold on my window in the bedroom and looks like i do. so thanks for the pictures it really helped me.
(June 8, 2012) Anonymous said:
Is there any tests that can be done?
Yes you can see articles above at More Reading that list mold test resources. First I suggest seeing MOLD TEST vs. PROBLEM DIAGNOSIS
There are various "tests" for mold, but used without a thorough inspection of the building inside and out, air tests and even surface tests can be quite unreliable. Even when a test detects mold we can't know that the mold it detected is the mold that is a problem in the building unless the test was a surface sample that the investigator is confident accurately represents the dominant mold growth(s) in the building by area covered, location, etc. And by that time, by eye, you already know that mold is present.
Indeed when a careful building inspection does not immediately find a significant visible mold reservoir, we might decide to examine settled dust as well as air (much less reliable) as an additional screening test. Test results in that case are a helpful indicator that further inspection, perhaps using invasive methods such as making small test cut openings in most-suspect walls, ceilings, floors, could be in order.
(June 9, 2012) Manny said:
Can a humidifier cause mold growth in a building?
Manny, mold is everywhere, always. High moisture conditions indoors are a gating factor in indoor mold contamination problems. So if the humidifier is not properly adjusted or is run to excess high indoor moisture would be the cause of indoor mold, not the humidifier itself.
Watch out: Failure to clean a humidifier can breed bacteria or other pathogens in the unit.
(July 9, 2012) Lynz said:
Please help! :(
We are currently re-decorating my victorian end terrace house. The living room has dado rails and just above the rails we had powdery paint (?) settling on the dado. We brushed this off and applied a alkai-resistant primer ready to paint.
Can I just mention this was seen on the adjoining wall with next door, the external wall AND the internal archway to the dining room. When we tapped the plaster , parts sounded hallow , so then we hacked off the loose part and re-filled and plastered. This was all done weeks ago. This weekend weve started properly on the room and we took the dadorails off. This pulled off part of the plaster on the external wall where the powdery area was a problem .
Under the rail is an obvious water mark and where the plaster has pulled off theres a green/black and rough white material. Now I know in the hallway the people before use have plastered OVER existing wallpaper. Im assuming this material in the livingroom is a kind of mold/fungus? Im scared to hack off the surrounding loose plaster because I know some species can be hazardous! Im totally at the end of my sanity with this house :( Any suggestions on what I can do myself? Or who is best to contact ?
(Aug 1, 2012) diane said:
I was exposed to a aspergillus mold in my classroom for which I became very ill. I have found blue black mold on the back of vinyl wallpaper backing up to a restroom. Any suggestions on the type or pictures of mold on vinyl wallpaper?
Diane, "black mold" on the back of vinyl wallpaper could be any of many genera/species, and furthermore the presence of "black mold" in a building should not be taken to mean that the mold you see is the biggest or most serious mold problem present - it is just what you can easily see. The presence of visible mold means that conditions are ripe for mold growth indoors - which means that a competent check of the building for the presence and extent of mold problems may be appropriate.
And no, just telling me you see mold on wallpaper is not enough to offer a reliable identification of what genera/species is present. It's true that my study of what molds grow on what surfaces in buildings indicates that certain molds prefer certain growth substrates, but there are 1.5 million genera species to choose from overall, so to determine the identity of a mold we'd need to examine a sample under a microscope.
(Aug 14, 2012) Linda said:
I recently bought used metal filing cabinets. Once home, I noticed that they have a musty odor. It isn't noticeable unless I go very close to the inside of the cabinet drawers. These were from an architect and I believe were kept in a clean air conditioned office, but they are old so I don't know the history. What does the odor indicate? Could it be that they are just old? Have I brought something contagious into my home? Is there a way to get rid of the problem? I bought them to store artwork in, so I really don't want that odor to transfer. Thanks very much.
Check the filing cabinets inside for signs of flooding; if the cabinets were insulated they may not be economically salvageable; if they are simple one-wall steel items they can be cleaned.
(Aug 19, 2012) ian watkins said:
we moved in to a bungalow six moths ago, every thing was bought,including the carpets. new, but we have just found the bedroom cupboards, cloths including shoes covered in a fluffy, raised and white mould/mildew,even under the carpet, the rest of the bungalow is unafected.
(Oct 13, 2012) Reyna said:
Hello, I am having a terrible allergic reaction to something and I'm not sure what, so I'm just trying to eliminate things. I built my own platform bed and when I took it apart the other day I noticed spots in the plywood where the layers had separated and there are dark spots in there. I'm not sure if this would make sense, since I have my allergy attacks everywhere (work, friends' places) and not just in my bed, but I'm just wondering if these spots are normal. They don't look like mold, they're hard and I'm not even able to scrape them off with something. Almost looks like the material tree bark is made of. I'm just confused. picture below:
(Oct 27, 2012) Gina Hansen said:
I have dark pumpkin colored growths on the outside of my refrigerator doors. It is in the pattern of mold but I don't think it is mold. I have cleaned it with comet, Tilex, bleach and even tried polish remover. It never completely removes the growth but makes it so light it isn't that noticeable unless you really get up close and inspect it. However, within a couple of days the dark growth is back and even looks worse. I can't get rid of it. Can anyone help me?! Please!!!
(Feb 7, 2014) gail mollin said:
How to kill mold on unfinished plywood in vanity under sink.
Had a water leak.
search inspectapedia for
How to Clean Mold on Building Framing Lumber or Plywood Sheathing
to read our advice on this topic;
Basically, "killing" is not the best objective - as even dead spores can be harmful; you want to "remove" the mold by cleaning - any household cleaner is fine. If there are cosmetic objections to stains that remain (harmless) one can try cautious bleaching but otherwise it's the cleaning that is more important.
After the surface is cleaned, you can reduce the chances of new mold growth by using a sealant
Details are at MOLD ACTION GUIDE - WHAT TO DO ABOUT MOLD
(June 19, 2014) Danette said:
I have been renting a half house for 5 years now and have had water in the basement 3 times after the sewer pipe broke under the concrete floor in the basement. I just notices thes copper penny mushrooms growing all over the basement floor. Are they dangerous to our health? My landlord has not been over to do anything about them in 2 weeks now :( I am worried that they can cause my family and cats harm. Please any info?
What you describe sounds like there could be serious bacterial hazards as well as mold contamination.
Detailed advice is at RENTERS & TENANTS: MOLD ADVICE
(Aug 1, 2014) Monica said:
I have been renting a house for 8 months and have just begun to notice a hard, brown foam-like substance that keeps appearing in the dog run. At first, I thought it was foam insulation that was coming up to the surface, since it seems to only appear against the side of the house; but since it keeps appearing even though I dig them up and throw them away, I'm starting to think they might be some kind of fungi. The dog run consists only of dirt and gravel. They are dark brown on the outside, but when broken open, they look like yellow insulation and are very light weight. Are these things harmful to my dogs and myself?
From just your text message I don't know what you are seeing at all. It might be a fungus or something else.
(Nov 30, 2014) Michele said:
If I am seeing a darker color under my linoleum in the bathroom at the base of the toilet is that a sign that mold is under the linoleum? I also see the same darker coloration coming from under the linoleum that lines the bathroom sink.
The dark colour could be mastic seeping upwards or stained sheet flooring from sewage water leaks OR it could be mold growing within the sheet flooring material. If wiping the surface is not fixing the trouble I suspect there is a leak or moisture problem to be found.
(Jan 7, 2015) Diane said:
Why is everything that is plastic or Styrofoam is getting what looks to be black soot on them? Cups, trash bin. Some items are in the cabinets. I placed an envelope with a plastic address window on table and one day later is turning black
We can hardly guess: there may be soil, dust, soot in the air in the area or something else. Use our CONTACT link to find our email and send me some sharp photos if you can - that may permit further comment.
13 January 2015 Charlie said:
Myself and three others live in a rental property in Houghton MI. There are two area i am concerned about one is a leak that was comming through the ceiling in one room and im concerned there is mold on the ceiling and in the attic (this wasn't fixed since fall), as well as i came home from a month vacation and there are grey spots in the bathroom on the ceiling and walls when we use a ceiling fan wondering if you can tell me which type of mold they are. i will send you some pictures.
You are welcome to send us photos for comment using the email found at our CONTACT link at page top or bottom. But one cannot speciate mold from an in-situ photograph. You may need to look further or even more invasively to find where there is actionable mold contamination - follow the water.
Also see RENTERS & TENANTS: MOLD ADVICE
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