Don’t ignore it! Deal with the mold!
Out of sight, out of mind? That’s the wrong strategy when dealing with this significant health hazard.
October 20, 2015 by DMX Plastics Ltd.
This is a Sponsored Post courtesy of DMX Plastics, Canadian manufacturers of the DMX 1-Step Underlayment system and the DMX AG Air Gap Membrane.
Mold thrives on moisture, and moisture can be present in both new and older houses. Although the latest developments in underlay materials like DMX 1-Step over top of concrete basement floors can reduce the risk of mold developing in such areas, even a new home is at risk; and not just in the basement. Why? Experts point to the new building standards that demand higher insulation values and modern window technology, for example, that seal houses more effectively. As a result, new homes are ‘tighter’ than ever before. However, without adequate ventilation and a properly maintained HRV system, moisture can’t escape and be replaced with fresh air. That’s a ‘Welcome’ mat for mold.
Aside from the actual physical damage to materials like drywall and carpeting from moisture and mold, Health Canada considers mold a potential health hazard, one that causes a number of symptoms. Eye, nose and throat irritation; coughing and phlegm build-up; wheezing, shortness of breath, plus other allergic reactions, can make a house extremely uncomfortable for the owners and their guests. In fact, Health Canada warns that “some airborne molds can cause severe infections in people with severely weakened immune systems, such as transplant recipients or people with leukemia or AIDS.”
Many molds are airborne and breathable, and therefore invisible. And because their spores reproduce easily, mold particles are more numerous in a contained indoor environment than outdoors.
It’s the visible white or blue-ish-green mold that often first catches our attention, however, and these can cause most of the health symptoms listed above. If you like Latin, you’ll appreciate the varieties: aspergillus, cladosporium, and penicillium. However, don’t confuse mold with efflorescence; that’s merely the end result of water that has wicked through concrete and evaporated, leaving behind white salt deposits. Efflorescence can be easily removed and poses no health hazard in itself. Still, it can be a warning sign of moisture penetration that can lead to mold.
No matter what the fancy scientific name, mold must be dealt with, and thoroughly. If you encounter mold when renovating a basement, don’t just cover it up. The existing mold must be removed or the spores will simply reproduce, spread, and ruin your new work. Affected drywall, ceiling tiles and carpeting must of course be removed completely, along with perhaps some wood studs and joists.
Removing mold from concrete is a bit trickier. There are various products on the market that are very effective. Care must be taken not to spread the mold rather than removing it. Caution must be used; wear gloves and a mask for protection. Applying a sealant to the concrete after treatment is a good idea too.
If the area of visible mold is larger than 10 square feet, some government authorities like the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency recommend bringing in a professional with the right products, techniques and safety procedures.