What is Under Your Home?

Vented vs. Closed Crawlspace

The Treasure Valley has seen a rapid growth in Closed Crawlspaces in the recent growth boom. Why are closed crawlspaces becoming so popular around the Treasure Valley? Most of the valleys home builders are applying this method to their new construction. A conditioned crawl space, also known as a sealed, unvented, or closed crawl space, significantly reduces or eliminates many of the problems of the traditional ventilated crawl space. It does this by allowing conditioned air from your home to flow through it in a sealed space, which then vents the used air to the outside of your house. Think of it as a mini basement under your home. Not only does a conditioned crawl space significantly improve the air quality in your home, it reduces your heating and cooling costs. Mold or moisture problems will happen with conditioned or vented crawls spaces alike. if the crawl space is high in moisture, or wet, you need to correct the problem and get it dried out! vents or small fans will not do this!

Vented Crawlspaces are best to keep the vents open during the hot humid months to help keep air changes occurring tin the crawlspace. If you have a vented crawlspace making sure all the plumbing is insulated and the sub floor is insulated to help reduce energy costs. If you ever feel you have moisture or mold issues contact Pursuit Restoration to have a professional assess the damages. 

Concrete Slab

The foundation that your house is built on can have a major impact on the structural integrity of your home. A slab foundation is made of concrete that is typically 4”-6” thick in the center. The concrete slab is often placed on a layer of sand for drainage or to act as a cushion. Houses built on a slab lack crawlspaces, and there is no space under the floor.

Concrete slabs are more common in warm states where the ground is likely to freeze and cause the foundation to crack. In the Treasure Valley heating units are often used to keep the slab from freezing during cold winter months. Some houses don’t have a basement or crawl space under them but are simply built on a concrete slab – perhaps because the house sits on bedrock or a high water table. The concrete is poured onto the ground all at one time. Some foundations have post tension cables or are reinforced with steel rods called rebar so that the slab can bearing the weight of the house.

Some advantages of a concrete slab are that it takes less time for a concrete slab to dry. Less downtime means that construction can move along without delay. There is no need to wait the several days it takes for the concrete in a poured basement to cure and dry. Slab foundations minimize the risk of damage from flooding or the leaking of gas, such as radon, from a basement or crawl space into the house. A concrete slab can protect a home from termites or other similar insects as there are no open spaces underneath the house that provide access to wooden joists or supports insects could chew. Cost savings is one of the biggest advantages. In many cases, the home buyer can shave as much as $10,000 off the cost of the house. If it is built on a slab there is no crawl space or basement t budget for. This is particularly true when a builder has to carve a basement out of solid rock—a very expensive proposition.

Some disadvantages of a concrete slab are termites and other pests cannot gain access directly beneath the house, they can enter through the walls since the house is typically closer to the ground. This is particularly true if the siding is made of wood and sits on the ground. An air-conditioning unit and furnace may also have to be installed on the ground floor, which means that they will take up room that might otherwise be used for other purposes. One of the most significant potential disadvantages is if the slab cracks. This can substantially compromise the structural integrity of the house and be difficult and expensive to repair. Among the factors that can result in a slab cracking are tree roots, soil displacement, earthquakes, or frozen ground.

Idaho's Least Common... Basements

More often then I hear questions as to why Idaho does not have many basements in the homes. Its a very good question to ask with yet a very simple answer. The Treasure Valley has a very high water table. Even though Idaho’s climate is of a dessert if you dig just a few feet below the soil in many areas you will encounter wet soil. The high water tables are not a good match for basements or swimming pools. There are homes with basements in the Treasure Valley. They are not common and often times where the water table is not so close to the surface. 

Even pools have the chance of cracking and pushing to the surface if placed in an area where the water table is near the surface. 

Professionally Restoration Services

Pursuit Restoration can handle all Water, Mold and Fire Damage to your property. Call 208-515-6503 24/7 for Emergency Services. If you encounter high moisture from your crawlspace or basement it could be a perfect environment for mold to grow. 

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Are Mold Spore Dangerous?

The Myth Of Killing Mold With Bleach

Most homeowners initial instinct when they encounter mold may be to grab a spray bottle and try to kill it with bleach. Our advice, NEVER reach for a bleach bottle and don’t panic. If mold is on a porous material like drywall bleach will only reach the surface level of the porous material. 

“Don’t “kill” or spray mold! Instead, properly remediate it and hire a professional with experience and references that knows what they are doing…. We “killed” mold, sprayed with Lysol, bleached sub-floor and ran fans, replaced carpet but left mold in the sub-floor, walls, etc. Eight months later I was so sick I could not get out of bed….Not one spray has been shown to denature these toxins. Some sprays appear to make toxins worse or more airborne. Humans cannot smell most mold toxins, especially after the mold is “dead.” They are so small that they cannot be seen. They are so tiny that they generally cannot be removed with air purifiers or filters. But they are deadly.” Stated by Christa Upton a Mold survivor 

The main problem with mold is that there is a lot of bad information, especially on the internet. Many DIY solutions recommend that it is safe to kill mold. However, as the case with Christa simply killing the mold is unproductive and can lead to serious health problems. Unfortunately, because of the lack of regulation in the mold remediation industry, even some contractors BELIEVE that killing mold actually works. These contractors are generally speaking poorly trained and educated on mold and the dangers from exposure. There is no “quick fix” for mold situations. The best thing to do as homeowner is to leave it undisturbed, so the spores do not become airborne. If it is in a visible place use a trash bag and tape to cover if until a professional can remediate it properly. 

If you are in need of a professional be very cautious of any contractor who states they can spray or have a magical solution to kill the mold. Dead molds mycotoxins are as dangerous as live spores. 

Mold Facts You Need To Know

  1. Mold thrives when moisture is present. Removing mold without addressing the source of the problem is not a long term solution. As the mold will grow back without the moisture being eliminated. Before any mold removal, the moisture problem must first be found and fixed.
  2. Exposure to mold spores, both live and dead, and their byproducts like microbial volatile organic compounds (MVOCs), mycotoxins, connecting filaments, etc. can cause illnesses ranging from minor allergic reactions, respiratory problems like asthma and sinusitis, to more serious, life threatening illnesses.
  3. Speaking with restoration knowledge, not a professional or licensed doctor, every person responds to mold differently. Some people will get water eyes, and a runny nose from the moment they contact a room with elevated spores. Other people can remove the materials that are affected with little or no consequences. 
  4. Mold is a biological agent that will continue to grow as long as the right conditions exist. This is the reason that mold is such a concern because it will continue to thrive and grow unless the moisture issue is eliminated. 
  5. Contractors trained in mold removal, refer to the process as “remediation” because they have invested in specialized training and equipment and take precautions to prevent the spread of the mold in other parts of the building. Mold remediation specialists will never recommend a “quick fix” because they understand that relying on mold sprays, bleach, biocides, and fungicides are an ineffective “short cut” to mold removal.
  6. As there are many DIY solutions, Pursuit Restoration recommends ALWAYS hiring a IICRC Certified Firm. This will ensure the follow the Guidelines to Mold Remediation. 

The Myth About Bleach Killing Mold

“Perhaps the most misunderstood aspect of bleach when proposed as a cleaner or sanitizing agent is that its effectiveness is greatly reduced in the presence of organic material. To be a successful sanitizer, bleach must be used on clean materials and surfaces. This is why bleach products are used in the laundry after the wash cycle or in a commercial kitchen as a component in the third sink after the dishes have been washed and rinsed. The efficacy of bleach as a sanitizer is also compromised by heat and light. Despite the fact that the chlorine odor may linger for some time after use, bleach loses strength so quickly that it is not considered to have a residual effect that would prevent future bacterial or fungal growth.” Micheal Pinto CEO of Wonder Makers Environmental

One of the greatest invention thus far today has been the Internet. It has given everyone an equal opportunity to search and invest their time into any topic of interest. Unfortunately, this does allow for both good and bad information to be available for research. As we are barely getting into the scientific studies on mold and the effects of exposure, it is hard to gain valuable information.

In respect to mold, the internet is full of incorrect information! Bleach may have some impact on non porous materials such as bathroom glass, tile, or porcelain toilet but it is completely ineffective on porous materials. 

If you spray bleach all over your “black toxic mold” you won’t kill every single spore….To kill every single mold spore using bleach, for example, you’d have to use such a high concentration of disinfectant and you’d have to keep it on the surface for so long that more likely you’d damage the structure – and still miss some toxic spores.Should we be trying to kill mold? 

Bleach does not address the problem! Experienced Remediation specialists understand the most effective way to deal with mold is to first fix the source of moisture.

The next step is to set containment with plastics, tapes, and poles if necessary to secure the containment and block off any HVAC or areas for air movement.

Set up an AFD ( Air Filtration Device) to create negative pressure allowing to clean the air during air exchanges. 

Then remove the materials under containment making sure to HEPA vacuum bags as they leave the containment. All occupants should be required to wear a full face mask with proper PPE attire.

Proper removal of mold contaminated materials like drywall, carpet, soft goods, insulation, and other porous materials is essential because mold has hyphae, which are basically roots that embed themselves in the material. This is the reason that bleach does not work. Bleach may kill some of the surface mold, but it will not be able to penetrate and kill the roots. The other reason bleach is a problem is that it is diluted with water. Spraying this is counter-productive because water is an essential ingredient mold needs to grow. Keep in mind, even if another biocide or fungicide is sprayed on the material, killing the roots, the material will still be contaminated with dead spores. The best course of action to permanently deal with a mold problem on porous materials is to properly dispose of the contaminated material.


Dead Mold Spores Are Dangerous

Even if in theory we could “kill” every spore, the assumption that they are unimportant is highly questionable. “Dead” spores often contain allergens or toxins that are just as harmful to someone breathing them or getting such mold in one’s eye or in a cut, as before….The object is not to “kill” mold, it is – to remove the mold reservoir in the building by physical cleaning or in cases of items that can’t be cleaned, such as drywall, soft goods, carpets, furniture, or insulation, remove the moldy material – to identify the cause and make sure that’s been corrected.”  How to Kill Mold.

If you have a problem with mold contact Pursuit Restoration. We are experts in remediation and removal of mold in residential or commercial property’s. 

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White Mold

White mold is a term that applies to many species of mold which can grow in homes. Like any other mold, it may compromise your property and health if you don’t deal with it. Although color may be common with certain species of mold, one type of mold may have multiple colors during its many stages. Generally, it’s not necessary to determine the type of mold you have in your home – all molds have similar negative effects. Read on to learn what white mold is and how it can affect your health.

What is White Mold?

White mold is not a specific type of mold – many species of mold may appear white. The species of white mold commonly found in homes are aspergillus, cladosporium, and penicillum. All these molds may also appear gray, green, black or other tints. Moreover, all molds thrive in moist areas where a food source like wood is present.

Some molds may appear white in their early stages of development. Later, these molds may change color after producing spores. Yet, many molds appear white regardless of age because their spores are not pigmented. The lack of spore pigmentation is caused by the type of material it’s growing on.

Also, white mold appears as powdery and may blend in with the materials it’s growing on, which makes it hard to tell that it’s actually mold.

White Mold vs Mildew and Efflorescence

Sometimes, people confuse white mold with mildew, which may also have a white appearance. However, mildew rarely grows on surfaces other than plants and doesn’t destroy materials. White mold, on the other hand, penetrates the surface of porous materials like wood or drywall and can ruin them.

It’s also common for people to confuse white mold with a substance called efflorescence. It’s a type of salt deposit caused by salty water which seeps through concrete, brick or stone. When the water evaporates, it leaves behind a white crystalline substance that looks like white mold.

Unlike white mold though, efflorescence does not pose any health risks and won’t grow or spread.

To tell whether a substance is white mold or efflorescence, just look at the affected surface. If it’s masonry, it’s most likely efflorescence. Also, put some of it into a drop of water and if it dissolves, it’s not mold. Lastly, squeeze some of the substance between your fingers and if it breaks into fine powder, it’s efflorescence.

Is White Mold Dangerous?

All types of mold, including white mold can cause health problems. White mold should be removed as soon as possible to avoid any health risks and/or structural damage. Even milder forms of white mold can endanger your health.

Since some people don’t realize that white mold is actually mold, it may put them at risk for extended periods of exposure.

The symptoms induced by white mold can include allergic reactions, respiratory infections, eye irritations, dizziness, nausea, headaches, and even depression but are not only limited to these symptoms.

Exposure to any mold spores, both live and dead, and their byproducts like microbial volatile organic compounds (MVOCs), mycotoxins, connecting filaments, etc. can cause illnesses ranging from minor allergic reactions, respiratory problems like asthma and sinusitis, to more serious, life threatening illnesses.

If you suspect you or a family member have been affected by mold exposure, consult a doctor and have the mold removed immediately.

White mold is just one type of mold that can invade your home. There are thousands of species of mold. Black Mold is another common and often misinterpreted type of mold. Check out this article on Black Mold for more information.   For mold removal and water damage repair services, contact Pursuit Restoration at 208-515-6503

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What is the Difference Between Mold and Mildew?

Mold or Mildew?

Mold and Mildew are types of fungi that share common features but differ in many ways. Both fungi grow in damp and humid areas, however they can affect your health and home differently. Knowing the differences between mold and mildew can help you know how to approach the problem at hand. The following will explain the differences between mold and mildew. 

Where They Grow

Both mold and mildew can grow in damp areas in homes and outdoors. They need an organic food source, such as drywall, wood, plants or soil, ( something that once was a living organism).

  • Mold can grow on any organic surface in a home. Given enough time, mold can cause materials to rot and destroy the structural components of a home.
  • Mildew grows mostly on plants and can kill them if not removed in time. Mildew is also the name of the plant diseases caused by parasitic fungi.

Mold and Mildew Appearance

Mold is usually fuzzy or slimy, where as mildew appears either powdery or downy. Downy mildew is yellow at first and turns to brownish yellow later. Powdery mildew is white, and then turns yellow and black when it matures.

  • Mold appears as irregularly shaped spots that can have different colors – blue, green, yellow, brown, gray, black or white.
  • Mildew usually grows in a flat pattern and appears as white, gray, or yellowish patches that turn black or brown over time.

Exposure Symptoms

Mold exposure can cause several health problems such as allergic reactions (sneezing, itchy eyes, runny nose, coughing, wheezing, irritation of the throat, rashes, etc.), respiratory problems (difficulty breathing, coughing, asthma attacks), heart problems, migraines, depression, and more.

Mildew exposure poses fewer health risks – coughing, headaches, sore throat, and respiratory problems.

Symptoms from both can vary from person to person and the strength of each person’s respiratory and immune system. Typically children and elderly are most at risk for health related issues due to exposure. These issues can be prevented by trusting in Pursuit Restoration to properly contain your property before disturbing any growth. If you feel you have any respiratory or immune issue please see your doctor for health related questions and concerns. 


Some molds are beneficial, for example, Penicillium is used to make antibiotics and can also be used in the production of cheese and tofu. There are a variety of molds in controlled doses and circumstances that can benefit the human body.

Mildew does not have any known benefits.

Prevention and Removal

As mold and mildew thrive in humid environments, it is important to keep your property dry to prevent any growth. Repair leaks as soon as possible, if needed install a dehumidifier to keep humidity at 30-50% and ventilate appliances (dryer, bathroom exhaust fans, stove). Learn more mold prevention tips.

Removing mold and mildew yourself can be difficult and damaging to your health. For small infected areas – less than 10 square feet – on surfaces like walls, scrub the mold with a mixture of household detergent and water. If the affected area is larger than 10 square feet, the safest and most efficient way to remove the mold is to call Pursuit Restoration to professionally handle the job. Learn why DIY mold removal is not a good idea.

Mildew on plants can be removed by wiping the leaves gently with a dampened paper towel. After each wipe, freshen the paper towel. Replace the paper towel when all parts have touched the moldy surfaces and cut off any leaves that still have mold visible on them.

Among the many kinds of molds that can grow indoors, black mold is one of the most infamous. Learn about black mold removal. Contact Pursuit Restoration for mold remediation services and water damage repair.

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How Long Does It Take Mold to Grow in a Flooded Home?

Water damage from flooding, leaks or high humidity can not only compromise the integrity of your home and its contents, but also cause microbial (Mold) growth. Mold can grow rapidly after water damage, making the restoration process more difficult. Even a small amount of moisture, if not handled quickly and properly, can turn into a large mold infestation.

Mold spores – tiny airborne particles that are not visible to the naked eye – exist everywhere in nature, and they can grow into visible mold  after a water damage incident. When it starts invading your home, mold can threaten the health of its occupants. Mold exposure is especially dangerous for people with breathing problems caused by allergies or asthma.

However, you can avoid mold growth in your home if you act fast. All it takes is eliminating the moisture before mold has the chance to start growing. But how quickly does mold grow after a flood or moisture problem?

How Long Does it Take for Mold to Grow After a Flood?

Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) states, mold typically takes 24 to 48 hours to grow after a flood if the right conditions are met. However, it depends on the type of surfaces and materials, amount of moisture, and temperature. Indoors, mold generally grows faster on softer surfaces in darker, warmer (70 degrees or more), and more humid environments.

The chance for mold spores to spread from one area to another also increases with time. These microorganisms can quickly fill the air and spread throughout your home, affecting more and more areas and endangering your health with every passing hour.

Mold spores that start to colonize on surfaces within 24 hours become visible in about 14 to 21 days after the flooding. But that happens if nothing has been done to dry the water and restore the affected surfaces.

For these reasons, it’s essential to deal with water and moisture issues as soon as you have a flooding incident. The faster the cleanup and drying takes place, the smaller the chances of major mold growth.

Call a Professional or DIY?

If you have a lot of water in the house, hiring a water damage restoration company may be your best bet to get your home back in order as fast and as cost-efficiently as possible. Restoration companies have the right equipment that’s needed to dry out your place quickly.

A restoration professional is even more critical for saving your home if it was flooded with more contaminated water like sewage. This type of water is extremely hazardous and best handled by trained and certified water damage cleanup professionals.

Furthermore, if mold has started growing in your home following a flood, it’s likely that there’s even more mold hiding in unseen areas, such as inside walls. Mold removal experts have the necessary tools to detect hidden mold in areas where the eyes can’t see.

For professional mold removal services and water damage restoration, contact Pursuit Restoration at 208-515-6503

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What Is Black Mold?

Microbial growth

Stachybotrys chart-arum, commonly known as black mold or toxic black mold, is a type of fungi that can grow in homes and feeds on organic matter. Toxic black mold can be easily spotted because of its greenish-black color. It looks slimy when there is still a water source present but can also look dry if the water source is eliminated. Toxic black mold produces mycotoxins – substances that can be a health hazard in buildings and homes.

Black Mold Exposure Symptoms

Long-term exposure to toxic black mold mycotoxins may cause various symptoms to individuals. Symptoms include respiratory problems, sneezing, itchy eyes, nose and throat irritation, headaches, skin and eye irritation, coughs, and more. Toxic black mold exposure can cause over 30 health problems, such as skin infections, flu-like diseases and pneumonia. This is why it can be very dangerous to ignore toxic black mold in your home.

Where Does Black Mold Grow in Homes?

Toxic black mold typically grows in warm and damp areas, after a flooding event or due to leaks in the roof, cracked pipes, or other moisture sources. The most common areas in a home where toxic black mold grows are the basement, bathroom, and the kitchen. Toxic black mold can grow on many building materials in a home, as it needs materials high in cellulose and low in nitrogen, such as walls, drywall’s, wood, etc.

Black Mold Removal

In general, surfaces larger than 10 square feet require professional mold removal services. However, if the affected area is less than 10 square feet and you feel comfortable with mold cleaning, you can choose to remove the mold yourself. Fix the water leak and dry the area first. Use a scrubbing brush and a commercial mold removal product. Wear protective gear such as goggles, dust mask, protective clothing and gloves. However, This is best left to professionals in order to not cross contaminant the area.

Black Mold Prevention

Preventing toxic black mold in your home is a matter of controlling the moisture levels and keeping your home dry. Fix leaks in the walls, roof, gutters and plumbing pipes, keep indoor humidity at 30-50%, prevent condensation by reducing humidity and ventilate appliances that generate moisture. For repairs, use mold-resistant paint, drywall and sheet rock.

Pursuit Restoration brings you valuable advice for mold prevention and remediation in your home. For professional fire, water, and mold restoration services, contact Pursuit Restoration at 208-515-6503

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