Basements, bathrooms and kitchens are hotspots for mold. However, if you have a leak or busted pipe, nowhere in your home is safe from mold. Once water gets behind drywall, in carpet or behind appliances, it’s only a matter of time before mold begins to grow and you’ll need mold remediation.
The cleanliness has less to do with mold than other contributing factors, like moisture and temperature. Therefore, you need to start at a base level when trying to prevent mold within your home.
From the roof to the basement, interior to exterior, mold will make its home anywhere the perfect conditions exist. Eliminating excess moisture from your home is one way to control mold, but to really keep it contained, start with the right building materials.
If you are building or remodeling, there are several materials available now that make it easier than ever to prevent mold growth. These inorganic building materials actually repel mold spores and resist their tendency to stick to them.
Pressure treated is not the same as mold-resistant when it comes to lumber. Pressure treated wood is often soft and still wet from the chemicals. This actually creates a more favorable condition for mold within the wood fibers. And in some cases, pressure treated wood can already be loaded with bacteria and mold because it has been moist during transport and while in inventory in the store.
Mold-resistant wood needs to be treated with an anti-fungal and allowed to dry completely before it is used in your home. Mold-resistant wood can be used anywhere in your home, including the frame, floor joists, exterior (where siding is attached), attic, and porches.
Consider using wood that has been treated with an anti-fungal for your new construction or home remodel, and you will give your home an added layer of protection against mold at its deepest layers.
Drywall, Drywall Tape & Joint Compound
The paper on regular drywall is appealing to mold because it is an organic (once-living) material. Non-papered gypsum drywall, fiberglass wallboard or cement board are all mold-resistant alternatives to traditional drywall because they do not contain organic materials.
Quick-setting joint compounds and fiberglass drywall tape are much better at resisting mold than their more common counterparts, mainly because they do not retain moisture as long.
Insulation has always been a terrible place to get mold in your home, because not only did you have to deal with mold exposure when replacing it, but you also had to work with insulation that could release dangerous particles of its own.
Foam insulation is much safer to install and is far more mold-resistant than cellulose, fiberglass, or mineral wool insulation.
Today’s paints are lower in VOC and they contain fungicides to resist mold growth. However, paint with fungicide is not designed to kill mold.
Carpet is notorious for trapping allergens, including mold spores. It’s nearly impossible to keep clean, but many homeowners still crave the coziness of carpet. Carpets made of polypropylene are much better for resisting mold, but carpets should be professionally cleaned regularly as well.
Caulk & Grout
You wouldn’t think these connecting materials would matter so much when it comes to mold, but, in fact, they can be mold’s way in to a deeper and harder to reach area. Check the package before you purchase if you will be installing caulk or grout yourself, or ask for it specifically from your contractor.
Sealants can be applied to almost any surface in your home, and they help guard against moisture and other particles getting into the miniscule pores of these surfaces. You can have wood, tile, granite, concrete and many more home surfaces sealed to prevent mold.
The shower pan sits underneath your actual shower, and its purpose is to catch any overflow from the shower so water does not pool underneath. The shower pan also redirects water so that it cannot flood your tile and grout.
It only makes sense to have a mold-resistant shower pan since it will handle dirty water in a cool, dark place: the perfect environment for mold.
Mold-resistant framing materials are changing the game for home builders. With these materials, contractors can ensure that your home is protected from within the walls, all the way out to the exterior.
Framing materials that now come in mold-resistant varieties include studs, beams, and plates made of steel as well as glass panels for doors, walls, windows and skylights.
Similarly, flooring materials that resist mold make your contractor’s job easier than ever. They can now guarantee that your clay, porcelain or ceramic tile – and the cement board beneath it – will resist mold and prevent you from having to tear up the entire floor to find and remove it.
Exterior Home Finishes & Accessories
Finally, we make it to the outside of the home. Mold is just as common on the exterior of your home as the inside. The outside of your home has no protection against the elements. Regular cleaning and pressure washing can remove mold, but to prevent it completely, you need to start with building materials that are designed to keep mold at bay.
Contractors have access to bricks, cinderblocks, aluminum siding, and stucco that are proven to resist mold. In addition, you can purchase windows with the same great quality. This is especially important since windows are susceptible to mold and are a known access point for moisture and mold in most homes.
Mold-resistant materials are high quality and, therefore, more expensive that average building materials. You need to communicate clearly with your contractor about the quality and type of materials you want for your renovation or new construction.
Even with all the advances in technology to produce these building materials, you still have to use a fair amount of common sense and vigilantly practice mold prevention, including keeping an eye on leaks and monitoring the amount of humidity in your home.