Habitat In Humidity: Mold Resistant Building Materials And Design

If you're remodeling an old house or building a new one, combating and preventing future moisture problems should be one of your top concerns. With builder grade materials, you don't get as much prevention as you would when specifically choosing building materials that are resistant to mold and mildew. Here's how you should design and outfit your remodeled or newly-built space to prevent future mold growth. 

1. Opt for treated wood. 

Instead of framing with your typical 2x4s, opt for frames that have been treated with an anti-mold fungicide. Other key areas of your home that can be built with treated wood include the trusses and rafters in your attic, the floor joists for the main and top floor, and the plywood exterior that lies under your siding. Another benefit of choosing anti-mold wood is that it is also resistant to termite damage. Since remediation for both can be very costly, this is an investment in protecting your house for years to come.

2. Insulate with spray foam.

While fiberglass insulation is technically mold resistant, the panels of insulation are easily filled with organic materials and the insulation can hold moisture. The organic particles within the insulation can get moldy. So, even though older-style insulation panels are not technically moldy, they can still harbor spores and allow the mold to spread to the frames or drywall of your home. Opt instead for closed cell spray foam for the best mold resistance. Open cell foam is still better than fiberglass panels, but it is more permeable, so it can still potentially mold. 

3. Choose the best for your walls.

Generally, new walls are finished with drywall, which is usually a plaster gypsum slab held together with a paper substance on both sides. However, if you upgrade your drywall to mold-resistant sheetrock, you have all the benefits of drywall with fiberglass finish instead of paper. The paper can get moldy under the paint and eventually require complete replacement. Since fiberglass is inorganic, the chances of mold developing on the material are much lower. You can also use netted tape for the drywall instead of paper tape for a completely moisture-proof surface. 

You can add further protection by using a mold-resistant primer that has anti-fungals mixed in. You can't use the paint to kill existing mold, but if you use this paint to begin with, you can keep mold at bay in spite of any humidity concerns. It's ideal for walls in a bathroom or basement where moisture levels can be much higher than the rest of the house. 

4. Seal with the right finishing touch.

All of your mold-resistant bones with framing, insulation and drywall will not do you much good unless you try to keep water from getting in through the cracks. Use an antimicrobial sealant for mold-prone areas like cracks around doors and windows. Anti-mold caulking in the bathroom along the shower and floor tiles can keep water from reaching the subfloors or sneaking behind the shower wall. 

If you use grout that is mixed with epoxy, you'll also have a floor that doesn't need extra sealing every few years and is resistant to cracking, which is another way to prevent eventual mold growth from water damage in the kitchen and bathroom. 

By choosing the right building materials, you can have a home nearly impervious to mold and moisture damage, especially if you are quick about cleaning up spills and have proper ventilation. You can also run a dehumidifier during muggy days to help reduce the overall moisture in your air and keep your interior cool with air conditioning, as warmth promotes mildew growth. Speak with a local building materials supplier today to get more information.