Mold is Everywhere! So How Do You Keep It Out of Your Building?
Typically when we think about mold it’s throwing out a partial loaf of bread or that nasty looking take home bag of food. The truth is that mold is everywhere in our environment, including the soil, on plants and any dead or decaying matter you might see, including plant matter. It serves an important function in keeping our environment balanced, yet when unchecked, can wreak havoc on your building or home.
“Moisture control is the key to ensuring that mold does not create problems in your building. It’s important to prevent water infiltration,” said Shawn Morgan, KPOST Company Director of Waterproofing. “Otherwise you could potentially have an expensive problem to fix that may also negatively impact your tenants.”
Mold is Bad for Your Health
Even though mold performs important functions in our ecosystem, when mold grows inside a building it may negatively impact the tenants. There are known health issues associated with mold, including:
- Allergic Reactions – some people are sensitive to mold and mold spores. The reactions can occur immediately such as in the case of dermatitis, or delayed and show up as hay fever type symptoms.
- Asthma – folks who suffer from asthma are aware that many items in the environment can trigger an attack – mold is no exception.
- Opportunistic Infections – there are plenty of people who simply have a weakened immune system. For these people, mold can cause infections not seen in a healthier person. These infections typically show up as respiratory illnesses. In addition, molds can cause common skin diseases such as athlete’s foot.
If your building has mold, you typically notice the musty smell first. There may be water damage in the area, including peeling paint, soft or rotting wood, and signs of leakage. If you think you have mold, it is important to have the area checked and appropriate steps taken for remediation.
“Mold is one of the environmental factors that can contribute to ‘sick building’ syndrome,” said Shawn. “The good news is there are plenty of ways to ensure waterproofing of your building envelope to keep mold at bay.”
An Ounce of Prevention
Molds can grow on just about any surface that allows for moisture and oxygen. When excessive moisture accumulates in buildings, or on building materials, you often find mold. Areas common for mold including ceiling tile, insulation, HVAC ducts and wallboards. While it is impossible to eliminate mold, taking steps to control moisture will reduce mold growth.
Steps to prevent mold include:
- Check routinely for water leaks.
- Double-check seals around doors and windows.
- Make sure drains are unclogged and free of debris.
- Look for cracks in exterior walls and roofing membranes.
- Check HVAC systems looking for excessive condensation and/or leaks.
“One of the best ways building owners and property managers can reduce the likelihood of mold occurring is to invest in a building maintenance program,” said Shawn. “The best program will provide expertise in waterproofing and an understanding of various manufacturers’ products. Keeping buildings well maintained via routine inspections keep water out of the building, thereby keeping mold from developing.”
Building materials have a life span, so investing in routine inspections and maintenance keep the materials in better shape. Waterproofing services will provide a barrier to moisture, keeping mold out and tenants happy and healthy!