Before purchasing a home, it’s important that the home be checked for points of egress from roof to basement. When water enters the home from a crack in the basement, a leaky window, or a stuffy attic space, the moisture cannot evaporate or be drained away from materials, and mold forms and grows. When mold enters the home and releases its toxic spores, air quality suffers and its inhabitants can begin to feel sick or uncomfortable, have issues breathing, headaches, or other concerns.
The Several Kinds of Mold
Mold is easy to smell, and not hard to recognize by sight: fuzzy and colorful in shades from the gray-brown alternaria which often appears around the window sill and other damp places, or olive-green cladosporium which exists on wood or cloth. Musty blue penicillium grows in moist places, but most feared of all molds is black mold—Stachybotrys chartarum—which can produce toxic compounds that lead to allergy symptoms, breathing problems, and other health concerns from chronic infection to fatigue and depression.
These are just some of the more common varieties of mold found in and around the home.
Find A Professional Home Inspector
It is highly advisable that if a home or business owner spots any mold that they find professional help to perform remediation on any required surfaces. If the property is a possible space for purchase, then having access to an inspector and remediator can help in the discussion of home price—a mold free home does better on the market, and some may sell at a lower price to avoid doing the work themselves.
A professional inspector will point out all problems or issues with a new investment, including the doors and windows, basement, and attic spaces. Checking these areas and providing key solutions is only half the battle—maintaining the space can require additional structural work, or may be as easy as a simple fix. However, by checking a few key areas, knowing what to expect makes any mold-related situation easier to manage.
Check the Points-of-Egress
Deteriorating flashing or cracks in the window or door materials can lead to the collection of moisture, which in turn leads to mold. Many homeowners first spot signs of molding at their window areas—especially near older wooden windows—and near natural materials, like a garden, flower bed, or wood pile.
Regard the Roof and Attic: Leaks Lead to Mold
Mold is a high of moisture building on natural surfaces and not being able to ventilate. One of the most suspect areas of the home when it comes to mold is the attic space or roof. Hiring a professional to inspect one’s attic space or the roof is the best way to find out the condition of the space. Over years of construction, ideas regarding proper ventilation have changed. Inside the home, moist or damp areas are signs of potential mold. Outside, compromised materials much as caulking, flashing, or shingles can provide a point of egress for moisture inside the home. The corners of the roof incline are the most frequent spots for molding. Each home should have the attic area or another flow-through to act as a dry space, which allows a house to breathe. In the home, water follows the path of least resistance, and mold grows in areas grows in these moist and warm conditions.
Avoid the Musty Basement Smell
Moisture can enter a basement or underground space through a number of ways—points of access like doors and windows, or through cracks in the foundation, or through leaks that have navigated downward to the belly of the home. One of the most common causes of basement mold come from old building practices, some of which are now out-of-code. Poured concrete walls require interior and exterior weeping systems and additional waterproofing before insulation, drywall, or other finishings.
In situations where these additional proofings have not taken place, or have deteriorated over time, water can enter the home through cracks. In the case of large cracks, a professional can fill and resurface the concrete material before the resealing process. After resurfacing, a rubberized waterproof barrier is painted on both sides of the concrete, and the inside space should be well-insulated and taped off to prevent any further moisture issues. When it comes to finishing a basement space, using metal framing materials instead of wood can allow for a more mold-resistant environment, as well as concrete or antimicrobial flooring options.