Mold is a frequent and unwelcome guest in homes across North America, and the best defence against this dangerous bacteria is a solid combination of good materials, proper construction, and continuous maintenance.
We often refer to mold as the four-legged stool. It grows easily because it only requires air, water, a food source like dust, paint or fabric, and for the temperature to be between 41 to 104 degrees. In a home, these elements come together frequently so mold has the potential to flourish. Flooded basements or attic spaces beneath a leaky roof are high-risk areas for mold proliferation, but so are less obvious spaces like carpet near a wet potted plant or behind walls with old pipes. Mold spores can also enter a home through open doors, windows, heating, ventilation, air conditioning systems with outdoor air intakes and even the walls themselves.
Moisture in the home can be a challenge to manage because, not only does it find ways into the home from the outside, but from the inside too. Did you know the average family of four generates two to three gallons of water vapor every day, just by normal activities such as bathing and cooking?
But while moisture in your home is unavoidable, the good news is, thanks to modern science, it is manageable.
If you are planning to remodel a bathroom or kitchen or building a new home, consider using moisture smart products. Drywall products that protect against moisture or products that include smart vapor retarders, such as CertainTeed’s MemBrain™, have the ability to sense moisture and adapt permeability and help keep your walls dry year round. For example, when summer humidity is high, they open up to let the walls breathe and the moisture inside them dry out and in winter’s low humidity it acts like a conventional vapor retarder, blocking moisture from getting into the walls at all.
If you are building in a mold prone area you may want to consider including a product called FortiCel™, a protective coating solution that prevents the growth of mold on the structural framing surfaces of new homes. This product should be professionally applied to the interior wall cavity during construction, before the insulation is installed.
There are also drywall products such as CertainTeed’s M2Tech® Moisture and Mold resistant family of products featuring a unique technology that combines moisture and mold resistance for walls and is specially engineered to provide enhanced protection.
The good news is that in all buildings, with proper construction, mold does not have to happen. But just as a precaution building scientists tout the five Ds to controlling mold. De-leak fixtures and holes, de-bubble wallpaper, dehumidify the indoor air, dry wet furnishings within 24 to 48 hours, and de-odor or fix the source of musty smells.
Room photo courtesy of Skit Inc, graphs courtesy of CertainTeed.