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17 May 2014

25 Things to Know About Mold and Moisture in a Property


As a mold remediator, there always comes the moment when you have to educate the customer about how to prevent mold. Whether the customer is a commercial property owner, landlord, or residential home owner, your customer will need basic facts to communicate to their employees, tenants or family members. Basic facts about what causes mold growth may help property owners take steps to mitigate property damage.

  1. You must fix the source of the moisture problem.
  2. Keep the humidity at less than 60%. Less than 50% is even more ideal.
  3. Stay on top of roof repairs. Roof leaks can intrude between walls cause mold growth behind walls causing extensive damage to property.
  4. Be sure to check caulking regularly. Re-caulk around windows and trim work to prevent leaks and condensation.
  5. Mold loves cellulose based materials such as paper, wood, and drywall. If the drywall gets wet and moldy it must be cut out with a large berth around it on all sides. It must be replaced with new drywall.
  6. Moldy wet carpeting must be thrown out because it is too difficult to sufficiently dry carpeting and the spore growth starts from the back side and works into the carpet bottom to top.
  7. Crawlspaces under a property are one of the major sources of mold growth. A crawlspace must have a vapor barrier properly installed to prevent mold from being able to access the support and floor joists thereby gaining access to the living areas.
  8. Verify that all vents vent directly to the outside of the property-not to the attic or some other location.
  9. Be sure that bathrooms have venting to the outside. All that steam and water can cause mold growth.
  10. Use a dehumidifier in areas of mold concern. For example, many basements will never be as dry as you wish so use a dehumidifier.
  11. Seal basement foundation cracks and fix basement block or failed concrete problems. There are many foundation contractors that can help property owners with foundation problems.
  12. Yards that slope toward a property are a common cause of basement mold growth. Re-grade the yard of needed and add drainage systems around the property if necessary.
  13. Be sure to have gutter systems release water 6 or more feet from the property.
  14. A high water table and the absence of a sump pump can lead to a failed basement system-a leaky basement-and thereby mold growth. Get a sump pump and a backup generator so if a power failure occurs, you will not also have a flood.
  15. Mold growth commonly happens in areas where construction materials join or abut such as the concrete foundation and the framing timbers. This occurs because in changing weather the expansion and contraction rates differ leading to gaps in building materials. Moisture enters the gaps (i.e. siding gap) and mold growth starts.
  16. Many older homes had metal basement window wells that water could pool in during a rainstorm. Buy covers at your local hardware store and cover the basement window wells.
  17. Floors and water intrusions into a property must be dried up within 48 hours or mold growth will occur.
  18. A fashionable trend has been finished basements but not all basements can be safely finished. Remember over many years, the integrity of a basement can change and this can compromise a nicely finished basement.
  19. If valuable such as photos get moldy depending on the degree of moldiness, sometimes they can be salvaged by freeze drying techniques.
  20. Be sure to use HEPA filters on air filtering equipment such as vacuums. These filters can catch things as small as mold spores. It will result in a cleaner property.
  21. Simply keeping a home clean and properly disposing of refuse and food remnants can reduce the opportunity for mold to grow.
  22. Performing carpet cleaning on a regular schedule can reduce dirt and outdoor debris that can be conducive to mold growth.
  23. Kitchen and bathroom leaks can occur where the pipes go into or behind the drywall. Just because you cannot see it does not always mean it is not occurring in that area.
  24. Metal, plastic, and glass are surfaces mold can still grow on when the moisture has some cellulose based cells in it.
  25. People want to avoid pollution outdoors. Mold acts as an indoor air pollutant and should be avoided. So fix moisture problems at the source, use a dehumidifier if necessary, and keep a clean low humidity level property.