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Wood Rot vs. Mold: Is There a Difference?

Although both wood rot and mold are caused by fungi, they are very different. Also, one is much more harmful. Find out more.

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If you’ve noticed some changes in your basement or crawl space, you may be wondering if you have a mold or wood rot infestation on your hands. You’ve come to the right place. 

Before we get into the signs and symptoms of wood rot and mold and how they could potentially impact your crawl space or basement, let’s take a look at what they are. 

wood rot or mold problem

What’s interesting about wood rot and mold is that they are both caused by fungi. Unfortunately, although they are caused by fungal species, one is far more destructive than the other. 

Mold is an umbrella term used to describe a very wide range of fungal species. They are all very different, and unfortunately, some are toxic to humans, which is why all mold-related repair work is best left to the professionals. 

The way mold can appear in your basement or crawl space is varied as well. It is almost always slimy and can be a wide range of colors, including black, white, orange, green, or purple. Mold flourishes in damp, humid environments and reproduces by sending spores through the air. 

Like mold, wood rot thrives in damp and humid environments. However, unlike mold, wood rot digests the wood it has infected. It spreads at remarkable speeds and can cause a need for major replacements in homes. The good news is that it is possible to deal with wood rot and even prevent it by taking care of your crawl space or basement. 

So how can you tell mold apart from wood rot? Wood rot looks like decay, whereas mold on wood usually looks like a discoloration. 

While mold is by no means good, it is better than wood rot for homes. However, as both wood rot and mold form in damp and humid environments, the presence of mold can signal that wood rot is soon to follow. If you’re worried you have mold in your crawl space or basement, you should contact a repair specialist as soon as possible. 

Wood Rot and Mold Symptoms 

While mold and wood rot are very different things, they do cause a wide range of very similar symptoms. If you notice any of these symptoms, it’s time to call in a crawl space or basement expert. 

You may be one of the many homeowners in Indianapolis, IN, confused about what to look for when it comes to the health of your basement or crawl space, particularly in terms of wood rot or mold. While some homes in Indianapolis, IN, do not have basements but rather crawl spaces, it may not be advisable for you to go down there and look for the most obvious signs. Instead, we will cover some of the indirect symptoms of wood rot and mold to help you figure out what to do next. 

Bouncy Floors 

A sure sign of wood rot is bouncy floors. If you have bouncy floors, it is likely that you have wood rot instead of mold. 

So, what is a bouncy floor? Basically, when you walk across your floor, if it moves or gives way, it’s likely infected with wood rot. Instead of breaking under your weight, the floor will bounce back once you move away from the affected area. 

Wood rot has a particular way of attacking wood. It permeates its way through the wood in such a way that it affects its structural integrity. If not dealt with, affected joists will eventually be completely consumed by wood rot and give way. 

Musty Crawl Space 

A stale, earthy smell emanating from your basement or crawl space can be a sign of either mold or wood rot. 

Many Indianapolis, IN, homeowners think that below-grade areas like crawl spaces and basements are just supposed to smell musty, but that’s not the case. If you’re noticing unpleasant smells coming from below your living space, it’s best to contact a repair professional as soon as possible. The sooner you act, the easier it will be to deal with any potential problems. 

High Humidity Levels 

High levels of crawl space or basement humidity cause a wide range of problems. These problems can not only be detrimental to the health of your below-grade spaces but can also impact the lives of those living inside your home. 

Humidity can cause high levels of condensation and therefore moisture. One thing to keep in mind is that wood rot and mold require high levels of humidity to develop and spread. That is why you should waterproof your basement or encapsulate your crawl space as a precaution. 

Talk to our basement waterproofing and crawl space repair experts at Indiana Foundation Service today. Contact us for a free inspection and repair quote

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Foundation Repair, Basement Waterproofing & Crawl Space Repair and Encapsulation, Serving Central Indiana & Indianapolis

INDIANA FOUNDATION SERVICE, WHITELAND, IN

624 North Front Street
Whiteland, IN 46184