Building a mold-resistant home can be achieved through many means. From poor ventilation to mold growth within the ductwork, the HVAC system of a building is often near the center of many mold issues. In fact, once mold has invaded the HVAC system, it will then be transported throughout the building.
Ensuring a mold-free HVAC system is thus essential to a healthy home. Running the exhaust fan after a shower and wiping up puddles are necessary to stop mold growth. Without mold-resistant materials, though, high-humidity areas can still have mold issues, often behind the surface levels.
To achieve true safety from mold issues, mold-resistant materials should be used proactively. This will help keep mold problems from growing out of hand. Here are some of the more crucial mold-resistant materials in any home.
Understand How Mold Grows
To fight against mold, one has to understand where it comes from. In short, mold is all around us as tiny spores. These spores can survive for a long time, and can wait until conditions are suitable to start growing.
To develop into a colony, mold spores need:
- High moisture: Mold thrives in areas near water, such as leaking pipes and surfaces with condensation.
- Food sources: Mold eats nearly all types of organic matter, from food scraps to drywall.
- Optimum temperatures: Like humans, mold colonies prefer temperatures between 60 and 80 degrees Fahrenheit.
However, even the most fastidious of cleaning won’t always prevent mold. Since mold can survive on common household building materials, you might still find it growing in high-humidity areas.
To further reduce the chance of mold growth, there must be proper airflow and an indoor humidity level below 50%. Always clean up spills, and wipe down showers and bathtubs after use.
What’s happening behind the scenes, though? All of that steam from your shower has to go somewhere. And without the proper ductwork, that moisture might not be making it outdoors. That is where mold-resistant materials and practices come into play.
Mold resistance is often only achieved with the help of the proper materials. Buildings will always have areas prone to moisture. To address that, mold-resistant products are designed to create inhospitable surfaces for molds. Sealants, coatings, and even insulation are practical tools to dissuade mold and mildew growth, especially in the most sensitive areas of a building.
Mold-Resistant Insulation and Liners
Insulation can pose many areas of mold weakness. Mold-resistant insulation should therefore be used to keep HVAC systems airtight and mold-free. An airtight HVAC system also helps ensure indoor moisture is kept low on other surfaces. With breathable seals, even the drippiest of HVAC ducts can be kept free of condensation.
Within the ducts themselves, mold-resistant liners keep mold from propagating. These liners are closed-cell and thus resistant to moisture and mold. Plus, they can be cleaned to ensure optimum health and airflow.
Paints and other coatings are ideal means to keep surfaces from growing mold. Foster’s 40-50 Interior Defense coating is used on most common materials, including metal and painted surfaces. It and other mold-resistant coatings are waterproof and infused with EPA-approved antimicrobial chemicals.
Once applied to a surface as the coating, these chemicals render the surface inhospitable to mold and other microorganisms. Note: These products won’t kill existing mold. Always make sure the surface has been cleaned and disinfected from mold and other debris before applying paint. Painted-over mold will continue to grow and cause the paint to flake off.
Sealants come in many forms, and most of those products are mold-resistant. Sealants like Hardcast’s RE-500 resurfacing product create a resistant surface to mold, mildew, and other fungi. It is bacterially resistant as well. Used in HVAC ducts, it improves airflow and reduces airborne particles that can collect, grow, and reduce HVAC efficiency.
These products can also be applied to other mold-prone surfaces, including wood and wallboard. Sealants are beneficial in areas of high moisture, like ductwork above kitchens and bathrooms.
For most homes, there will always be mold spores in the air. Therefore, reducing mold growth falls on the surfaces around the house. Mold-resistant sealants and other coatings are excellent finishing options for surfaces prone to mold. These include ductwork near exterior walls, and any surfaces near bathrooms.
Mold-resistant products can be used proactively, or after remediation to ensure problems don’t return. Still, even with mold-resistant products, proactive monitoring will help keep mold problems nonexistent. Avoid high humidity and other sources of moisture, and ensure all areas of the home have proper airflow. Without a source of moisture, mold can’t flourish—and no mold means a healthy house.