A contractor’s guide to mold

Preventing mold in the workplace The Occupational Safety and Health Administration provides a detailed guide to Preventing Mold-Related Problems in the Workplace (PDF).

The way to control indoor mold growth is to control moisture. — U.S. Environmental Protection Agency

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Protect yourself and your customers with proactive steps to prevent mold

The easiest and most effective way to prevent mold is to prevent moisture. Without moisture, mold spores can’t grow or spread. That’s why it’s important to take precautions against moisture and mold before and during construction — especially new construction.

Moisture in building materials can destroy structural integrity, contribute to insect infestation and nurture mold. During construction, spores can easily settle on building materials, such as lumber and drywall exposed to rain and humidity. Left unchecked, mold can cause health problems, allergies, property damage, rot, termites and decreased property value. It can also lead to costly liability claims and defect litigation.

Today, it pays to be proactive and prevent mold. At Tahoe Mold and Water, we know how to prevent, find and treat mold in homes, offices, schools and other properties. We identify the sources of mold, fix the problems and prevent it from returning. By taking sensible steps before and during the construction phase, you’ll prevent health problems for the occupants — and you can use your mold treatment program as a selling point. You’ll also mitigate your liability and improve your reputation within the industry among new and existing clients.

Here are some of the steps builders can take to avoid mold, protect themselves and build healthier facilities for customers:

  • Materials: Cover construction materials with plastic sheeting after each shift (this prevents materials from becoming saturated with moisture)
  • Site selection: Note whether the water table is high or low, and plan accordingly
  • Good gutters: What happens to the water collected on your roof can be the difference between a wet basement and a dry basement
  • Grading & drainage: Rain and water should drain away from the structure to keep it from collecting against the foundation (a good tip: the soil should slope downward at least 6 inches over the first 4 feet away from the structure)
  • Moisture proofing: Consider applying a special water sealant or other coating to the foundation where it sits below the grade
  • Sealants: Consider using a sealant product to protect wood, drywall and other porous materials
  • Antimicrobial coatings: This involves treating wood with a biocide product or anti-fungal product during the framing stage (such coatings also can be used in crawl spaces, attics, garages and other areas prone to moisture)
  • Fake stucco: Avoid fake stucco — if not precisely applied, it can become a breeding ground for mold
  • Consultation: Consult engineers, architects and product manufacturers as needed to address moisture and mold concerns
  • Ventilation: Create positive ventilation (a condition where the air pressure inside the house is slightly higher than the pressure outside the house); this helps to force mold spores outside the home
  • Purifiers: Consider whole-house air purifiers, which are particularly helpful for people with compromised immune systems
  • Sequencing: Perform work in the proper sequence to ensure interior materials are protected from the elements
  • Inspection: Inspect and assess all materials upon delivery