How to Prevent Mold and Control Moisture
Your professional builder knows the best techniques and materials to keep mold at bay. Hint: controlling moisture is key!
We’ve all seen stories about black mold in houses, and no one wants to experience that. But even a new custom home can develop a mold problem if the builder doesn’t use the right construction practices and products. Mold is a part of the natural environment. Since mold spores are always floating around, you need to stop them from settling in moist areas where they can grow.
The key to mold prevention is moisture control, so a critical building objective is to keep moisture in its proper place. That requires a healthy respect for the nature of water and how it moves, so as to find the right solutions to direct, vent, and shed moisture from the home.
A high-performance home will take moisture control under consideration in everything from the structural frame and insulation to the heating and cooling system and even the finishes. A correct HRV system for your home will help to not only keep air fresh and clean, but can also remove excess moisture.
Some key practices and products for controlling external moisture and preventing mold are:
- Housewrap. This means applying an air-moisture barrier behind the exterior siding to shed wind-driven rain while venting (or drying out) any moisture that somehow gets past it.
- Flashing. It’s essential to properly flash or seal around openings and then to place windows and doors tight and square in the openings.
- Roofing, gutters, and downspouts. The roof should be “dried in” with building paper under the shingles to shed and direct the flow of water. Also, the roof should be designed to prevent standing water or ice dams and include a reliable system of gutters and downspouts to move water away from the home. This includes making sure the ground slopes away from the home/s foundation.
- Attic insulation. Attic insulation keeps the temperature up there moderate, countering high levels of humidity.
- Basements. Some homeowners install waterproofing membranes that both seal and insulate below-grade spaces. For instance, Winsome has installed Insofast insulated panels in basements because of the continuous insulation and moisture control and rain screen performance.
Moisture can also be generated inside a home also. Cooking, bathing, and laundry can produce a significant amount of moisture vapor (or steam) that will affect finishes and indoor air quality ifnot properly vented. Your professional homebuilder will specify and install the most efficient kitchen, bath, and laundry ventilation systems to effectively remove moisture from inside the home.
Despite media hype, most new homes built today never experience significant moisture intrusion or dangerous mold growth.
That being said, we take the issue very seriously to ensure that our homes meet the highest—and driest!—possible standards of performance for durability and for the homeowners’ health and comfort. Every family should be able to breathe easily in their new home.
-Winsome Construction is a custom luxury home builder, crafting high-performance homes throughout Portland, Salem, Bend, the Willamette Valley, and the North Oregon Coast. We invite you to stay connected with us by subscribing to our monthly newsletter (enter your name and email below) or calling us today at 503-472-7402.