Mold is one of the most pervasive problems construction companies deal with when building new homes. A mold outbreak can turn a timely project into a delayed nightmare, costing your company thousands of dollars and potentially causing health problems for workers. Needless to say, preventing mold growth in new buildings is essential.
Luckily, there are several steps you can take to mitigate mold and prevent it from taking root in the future. Part of successful mold management is understanding the conditions in which mold thrives, and facilitating an environment that’s unfriendly for mold growth.
What is Mold and How Does it Grow?
Mold is a catch-all term that describes a large variety of airborne spores. Mold spores are present in the air all around us, but need specific conditions to take root and grow.
In a nutshell, all mold needs to bloom is “food, water and heat.” Mold gets its nutrients from porous, organic materials like food scraps, wood, drywall, and fiber. Because mold needs water in order to flourish, it’s most common in places that are damp, humid, or exposed to frequent leaks. It’s important to note that mold doesn’t need long to establish a colony, and according to GLE Associates, “mold growth can begin within 48-72 hours of [materials] first getting wet.”
How to Tell if You Have a Mold Problem
Aside from the appearance of mold on outer surfaces, it’s difficult to tell right away if your new build is developing mold. Unfortunately, mold is a stealthy intruder, and might proliferate for weeks or months unnoticed, the EPA advises that “mold may be hidden in places such as the back side of dry wall, wallpaper, or paneling, the top side of ceiling tiles, the underside of carpets and pads, etc.”
If you do suspect you might have mold in your construction site, here are a few things to look out for:
- Strange or musty odors in certain rooms or areas.
- Staining and warping on the walls or ceiling due to water damage.
- Disintegrating, cracking, peeling, or spongy drywall.
- Heightened allergic reactions such as sneezing, coughing, and watery eyes.
The EPA also recommends homeowners or workers use caution when investigating potential mold sources, “for example, removal of wallpaper can lead to a massive release of spores if there is mold growing on the underside of the paper.”
How to Get Rid of Mold
If you investigate suspicious areas and find mold in your new build, it’s essential to take immediate, effective action. Eliminating mold may require several strategies depending on the location and severity of the outbreak.
In general, mold remediation consists of two parts: removing existing mold and eliminating moisture. Mold can be eradicated using simple cleaning agents like bleach or ammonia. Remember to wear rubber gloves, eye protection, and an N-95 respirator to protect yourself from harmful spores. Once the mold cleanup is complete, ensure the area is completely dry before sealing it off, or replacing damaged plaster, paint etc.
If your mold problem is severe, it’s wise to contact a professional mold-removal company. Mold is tricky to eradicate and may be harmful to your health if you don’t have the proper equipment.
Mold Prevention Strategies
The best way to keep mold at bay is to implement mold prevention strategies. Since mold thrives in moisture, the best tactic is to prevent moisture buildup from going unchecked.
- Seal the building to prevent moisture from getting in during construction. This includes “installing a water-tight roof, exterior siding, windows, and seals around windows and other openings.”
- Only use materials that are completely dry during construction. For example, if a pile of 2x4s gets wet in the rain, they need to be totally dry before entering the structure.
- Use basic moisture prevention appliances like dehumidifiers, which remove moisture from the air. If a leak or spill occurs, use a fan to dry the area before proceeding with any further installation.
- Use antimicrobial sprays to preemptively treat mold-prone areas. These sprays stop mold at the source by creating an antimicrobial barrier on the surface.
Clean Technologies is Paving the Way for Mold Prevention
At Clean Technologies, we use the latest antimicrobial technology to provide our clients with mold-prevention solutions. Our antimicrobial application process stops mold from growing by bonding to a surface and creating an inhospitable barrier. Unlike harsh cleaning agents, which treat mold retroactively, antimicrobial technology is long-lasting and stops germs at their root.
With Clean Technologies, you can provide your construction site with a safe, effective, and affordable shield against mold and mildew.