What is Mold?
Mold is a type of fungi. These eukaryotic micro-organisms decompose dead organic material such as leaves, wood and plants—or your attic, basement and walls. The spores and hair-like bodies of individual mold colonies are often too small to see without a microscope. When mold starts spreading on a surface in your home or office, it often appears black, blue or green. The colour can help determine the type of mold while other factors include the nutrient source, surface material and age of the mold colony.
What Does Mold Need in Order to Grow?
Mold needs moisture to grow. It also needs a source of food, air and a comfortable temperature. Mold can grow on wood materials (e.g. gypsum board drywall) and paper and can also attack synthetic materials including some adhesives, pastes, caulking and paints. Mold decomposes these materials by secreting digestive fluids. While it cannot feed on materials such as concrete, plastic, glass and metal, mold can grow on the dirt or dust layer of these surfaces.
How Does Mold Spread?
A small colony of mold can expand using its little root hairs to cover many square feet of material. Mold can also produce spores that survive conditions that are adverse to mold growth. When spores are released they can be carried by air or water to new locations and if they land on a damp surface that has food and oxygen available they will start to grow. It is important to realize that mold spores are present in the air and on surfaces everywhere, both indoors and outside and wherever there is decaying organic material such as leaves, mulch, and wood. When spores are released they can be carried by air or water to new locations, and if they land on a damp surface that has food and oxygen available they will start to grow.