Preventing toxic mold growth is one of the keys to having a healthy home both structurally and in terms of air quality for the occupants and visitors to the home. Mold grows in damp, dark areas that don’t get much sunlight or a decent amount of air flow. Mold has been known to cause a host of health problems and threaten the structural integrity of a home. Keeping your home safe, keeps your family, friends, neighbors and guests safe.
Mold can grow just about anywhere inside the home besides the common places such as bathrooms or basements. There are a few things you can do around your house that will help to destroy the environment in which mold thrives.
Repair and Protect Basement Walls and Floors
Examine the basement walls and floors. Look for cracks and holes where water can seep in.
Clean the areas of mold growth with a mold killer, chlorine bleach or hydrogen peroxide.
Repair any damage you find with hydraulic cement.
Paint the walls and floors with a waterproofing masonry paint that has an added mold inhibitor.
Look to the Water Pipes
Examine the water pipes in the basement and any other area of the home where the piping is exposed.
Repair leaks and drips.
Wrap sweating pipes with pipe insulation to stop a buildup of moisture from forming on the surface.
Clean the mold growth in the crawl space.
Install a vapor barrier in the crawl space to block moisture and dampness from the crawl space ceiling.
Keep in mind -- Mold and mildew on the ceiling of a crawl space is just under your feet in the rooms above the crawl space.
Floors and Walls
Remove and replace any non breathable wall and floor coverings such as those made of vinyls or plastics with natural breathable materials. Plastic and vinyl trap moisture and dampness, blocking air flow and creating a perfect environment for mold to flourish.
If the floor is a concrete slab or over a crawl space, cover it with a vapor barrier to stop the dampness and moisture from encountering the underside of the floor covering.
Door and window insulation will keep drafts out of the home. Drafts create an issue when the cold or warm air from outside meets the warm or cold air from inside. As the two different air temperatures meet, they form moisture. Moisture around windows and doors can easily travel inside door and windows frames and in between the walls where mold will grow.
Backsplashes, Showers and Bathroom Walls
If mold is an issue in any of these areas, remove the existing drywall or green board and install cement backer board. Drywall soaks up moisture rather than repels it, making it a hospital place for mold to grow.
Remove and replace damaged caulking material around bathtubs, showers and sinks. Water can enter the void spaces through the gaps in the caulk and cause mold to grow in these areas.
Roof Leaks and Gutters
Repair flashing around chimneys to create a barrier from water entry. Fix holes or loose roofing tiles and shingles.
Fix leaky gutters and keep the gutters clean. Rain water pouring over the sides of your gutters will soak into the soil next to the foundation and make its way into the basement.
Use a dehumidifier in a damp basement to help control the moisture and is helpful in keeping the damp basement smell at bay. A dehumidifier pulls the moisture out of the air and helps dry the area. If your dehumidifier has a collection tray, add 1 tablespoon of chlorine bleach to the tray to inhibit mold growth in the tray.
Install louver doors and exhaust fans along with opening windows in areas that don’t have much natural airflow. The extra air passing over walls, floors and ceilings will dry more quickly and help to prevent a spot where mold can grow.