Mold is any fungus that grows on food or damp building materials. 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. If mold growth continues untreated it can contribute to poor indoor air quality and cause a number of serious health problems.
Mold can appear in a number of different places in a home, but most often you’ll see it in kitchens, baths, and basements (or anywhere that’s had a leak). You’ll be able to recognize it by the color (usually black, green or brown), and the fact that it looks like a stain on the material. In some cases you can’t even see mold, but you’ll know it’s there by the musty odor it gives off.
The best way to prevent mold growth before it starts is to use a combination of building products that help protect against it. Anytime you’re renovating keep the following things in mind.
InsulationInsulation is your first line of defense in preventing mold. ROXUL insulation does not absorb or hold water and will not promote mold or fungi growth. After exposure to water and moisture, it won’t slump in the wall cavity and the R-value will not be affected. In the event it becomes damp or wet the insulation, when thoroughly dried, will maintain the original performance characteristics. ROXUL products are inorganic which provide no food source for mold to grow.
Drywall Using the right drywall products such as CertainTeed’s M2Tech® Moisture and Mold resistant wallboard can help protect your home. They feature a unique technology that combines moisture and mold resistance for walls and is specially engineered to provide enhanced protection against mold growth.
Vapor Barrier A vapor barrier is designed to keep the moisture in your home from getting inside your walls. Typically, a vapor barrier/retarder is installed on the warm side of the wall, over the insulation and studs.
DryBarrier DryBarrier subfloor system is mold and mildew resistant. It’s ideal for helping to keep
basements dry because where there is concrete, there is moisture, and that can cause mold to develop when it comes in direct contact with flooring. DryBarrier provides a moisture barrier to protect and add warmth to finished floors on concrete slabs.
Remember that tile is not waterproof, so it’s important to use a waterproofing system behind the shower walls. Also be vigilant about making sure tubs and sinks are tightly sealed so the water doesn’t leak into the walls.
Venting Make sure that the area is well-ventilated. Make sure your clothes dryer, stove, kitchen and bathroom fans all vent to the outdoors.
Don’t put too much stock in trades who give free estimates over the phone. A plumber or electrician can’t properly diagnose an issue unless it’s in person. A free estimate given over the phone is likely to go up significantly once he or she is on-site.