Mold Awareness Month Prevent Mold Before, During and After Construction ED+C Magazine

Mold Awareness Month Prevent Mold Before, During and After Construction ED+C Magazine

IntegraSpec ICF

Now more than ever before, the prevention of mold growth has become an issue for building owners. Energy efficient, airtight structures and year-round building schedules can increase the potential for moisture issues to occur that results in mold growth. Moisture, together with mold spores and nutrients, must be present for mold to start and grow. When it comes to preventing mold growth, moisture is the key variable that needs to be controlled for the construction environment.

Moisture exposure can occur during all phases of construction and throughout the building life cycle. Factors such as moisture management on job sites, roof and pipe leaks, gross water penetration through a faade and natural disasters can contribute to mold growth. The following tips can help to minimize mold growth before, during and after construction.

Pre-Construction

Develop a moisture control program prior to the construction process, which will help decrease the risk of mold. The following moisture control strategies should be followed:

Protect products from moisture during the shipment from manufacturer.

Select building materials for use in the appropriate areas of the project.

Ensure that all products arrive at the job site in dry condition.

Delivered materials that are not weatherproof must be stored in locations that are protected from the elements. Remove packaging as recommended by manufacturer to prevent condensation of moisture.

Select building materials for fungal resistance as measured by the American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM) 3273 standard test method. For example, USGs 5/8 SHEETROCK Brand Mold Tough gypsum panels score a 10 (on a scale of 0 to 10 with 10 being the highest) when tested in accordance with ASTMD 3273 at the time of manufacture.

Have a Building Science Engineer review design to assure proper use of vapor barriers to prevent condensation issues.

Construction

Once the products have arrived at the job site, it is essential to continue controlling the amount of moisture they are exposed to during the construction phase.

Protect structures from the elements that are exposed to weather during the installation phase.

Have a plan to maintain ample ventilation when incidental moisture is introduced in the structure with wet process construction materials such as cement, joint compounds or paint.

Mold Awareness Month Prevent Mold Before, During and After Construction ED+C Magazine

Follow manufacturers and industry recommended installation specifications as improper installation or attempts to cut corners may lead to costly mold abatement fees after the building is in use.

Prevention

Mold spores are ubiquitous in the environment. They are constantly present in the air we breathe and on the surfaces around us; therefore, they will be present in your newly constructed building. As a result, it is important to continue efforts to prevent mold growth while the building is occupied. Since moisture is needed for mold growth, here are some tips to cut down on the presence of moisture in your space:

Reduce humidity 30-60% (As per the USEPA). You can do this by venting humid areas such as bathrooms and laundry rooms, and using kitchen exhaust fans when cooking, cleaning or dishwashing. An air conditioner and/or de-humidifier is also a wise investment to help quickly eliminate humidity from the air.

Be quick to dry wet areas and repair of leaks. Any pooling water should be dried up as soon as possible. This means drying down showers and bathtubs, taking wet laundry out of the washing machine and fixing pipe leaks or floods immediately after discovering them.

Open the windows. Be sure to air out the building by letting in some fresh air. This is especially important during winter months. By increasing air circulation you will let out any moisture that has built up on the walls, floors and windows.

These tips, along with reducing moisture during the life cycle of a structure, will assist in the prevention of mold growth. USG is a founding member of the Responsible Solutions to Mold Coalition, an industry group devoted to providing mold prevention information and education free to the public. More information on mold prevention can be found at the resources listed below. Remember, mold cannot grow without moisture. Control the moisture and you can control mold growth.

USG Corporation is a manufacturer and distributor of high-performance building systems through its United States Gypsum Company, USG Interiors LLC. and L&W Supply Corporation and other subsidiaries. Headquartered in Chicago, USG worldwide operations serve the residential and non-residential construction markets, repair and remodel construction markets, and industrial processes. USG wall, ceiling, flooring and roofing products provide leading-edge building solutions for customers, and L&W Supply branch locations efficiently stock and deliver building materials nationwide. For additional information, visit the USG Web site at www.usg.com.

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