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Mold vs. Efflorescence: What’s The Difference & What It Means For Your Home

With spring right around the corner, warmer weather is inevitable. Coupled with the immense amount of rain that we have had this winter and during the first couple of months of the new year, moisture and humidity levels are on the rise. The last thing you need is to find mold or efflorescence popping up in your basement and crawlspace. These two unwelcome visitors are due to water damage and moisture issues within the home. Since the two-look similar and can be easily confused, it is important to know the difference so that the right action can be taken.

Mold in Crawlspace

Let’s start with mold in the crawlspace. Mold is an easy indication that your home suffers from moisture issues. It can appear in 3 different colors and degrees:

  • Black– Black mold can present itself as fuzzy or powdery when spotted, as well as appearing dark gray, black or greenish in color. Mycotoxins are naturally released from its source and can cause allergic reactions such as a runny nose, headaches, sore throats and itchy or watery eyes.

  • White– White mold appears white in color and fuzzy to the eye. You will find this mold growing on exposed soil or sitting on the wooden joints of the home in the crawlspace. Although not as serious as the previously mentioned black mold, it can still cause health issues if left untreated.

  • Yellow– Yellow mold appears in your crawlspace due to high moisture levels and is referred to nation-wide as the house eating mold. This mold appears yellow or orange in color and flat to the naked eye. Its main function is to attach itself onto the wooden structure of your home and feed on its organic material. Over time, wooden floor joists and supports decay and rot to the point where the overall structure of your home is weakened and breaks down.

You must consider how much of the air of your crawlspace circulates throughout the home to understand the risks. The air from your crawlspace accounts for 50% of the air that you breathe so it is important to have a sealed space that will not cause you any issues. This is where we come in. Our crawlspace encapsulation and basement waterproofing services will ensure that these spaces are in good health and that you remain safe in your own home. Contact us now for a FREE inspection or click here to schedule an appointment today.

Mold in Basement

Basements are naturally cold, dark places that are typically used for storage and other things. Combine that with a little moisture build up and you will have organic organisms like mold forming everywhere. But how does moisture get into your basement in the first place? Here are a few reasons why your basement might have moisture and mold:

  • Foundation Cracks and Leaks– A foundation issue will allow water and moisture to seep into your basement. Once there, because of it being cold and void of sunlight, mold will thrive, attaching itself to any surface it may find. This could be your walls, furniture, or even cardboard boxes, depending on if it is used for storage or not.
  • Leaks in Pipes– Pipes usually circumnavigate your home, through your kitchens, bedrooms, and through the walls and floors of your basement. If one starts to leak, water will penetrate through causing moisture spots to appear on the floors of your basement. Mold will thrive in a moisture-filled environment.
  • Poor Ventilation– Your home’s ventilation system is in place to take all the moisture build-up from everyday activities like bathing and cooking and dispersing it throughout the house. This keeps mold from forming. Mold will be the result if your ventilation system is damaged or not working properly, moisture will collect everywhere, including your basement.

Efflorescence: Basement and Crawlspace

Much like mold, efflorescence spawns under the same conditions, however, it is far less serious than its counterpart. Efflorescence is a white, powdery, or crystal-like substance that leaves salt deposits and appears on the interior or exterior of the walls of your crawlspace or basement. If efflorescence pops up in your basement or crawlspace it usually means:

  • Water Intrusion– Water has made its way into your home by passing through the brick, concrete or natural stone surfaces of the structure.
  • Unsealed Surface– This is most commonly how water makes its way through your walls, if they have no sealing or are improperly sealed water can penetrate easier and leave moisture.

As water passes through your walls it mixes with the natural salt of the material that it flows through forming salt deposits. The distinctive difference between this and mold is that efflorescence is flakey and will usually fall off the wall if scraped while mold populates and sticks to the surface it inhabits.


Most, if not all moisture and water intrusion issues, as well as the associated symptoms (mold, efflorescence) can be solved by a vapor barrier, encapsulation system, dehumidifier installation or complete waterproofing system. This will help seal your crawlspace or basement, keep it dry and render the environment uninhabitable for mold and efflorescence. Carolina Foundation Solutions offers over 100 years of expert contracting experience and is more than equipped to handle any moisture or water intrusion issues that may arise. Call us at (877) 770-7050 or contact us online to schedule a FREE consultation with the experts here at CBS. 

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