Problem mould is a big issue currently in both sales and leasing. People are rightly concerned about mould so EWRE is outlining what to look for and how to remove it.
Mould is a fungal growth that thrives on moisture. Mould spores are always present in the air, but they only germinate when they encounter moisture and organic material. Therefore, the easiest way to prevent mould is to make sure that it never gets any moisture to begin with. Keeping the property clean, dry and well-ventilated is essential.
What and where to look for mould
- Mould generally grows where moist warm air meets a cold surface. The air moisture condenses, wetting the surface and creating the ideal environment for mould to thrive.
- Mould thrives in damp, dark, poorly ventilated environments – bathrooms or laundry. It can grow on carpets, curtains, walls, ceiling tiles, insulation material, behind furniture, and in cluttered storage areas. Mould also grows on food.
- Damp odours or clogged sink drains.
- If your house has gnats (tiny flies often seen around fruit or indoor plants). These tiny flies thrive on moisture and can be an indicator of mould.
How to deal with mould
Many rooms struggle with ventilation so you must find a way to vent wet rooms to the outside air. Ensure exhaust fans are connected to (ducted) to outside, not the roof space – unless it is ventilated. Avoid letting the moisture go into the ceiling cavity.
If the walls and ceiling of your bathroom have insulation then their surfaces may not be cold enough for water to condense.
Should you have rooms that struggle with ventilation you may need to consider double glazing. Double-glazed windows are much less likely to have water vapour condense because they don’t get as cold as single glazing.
Treat mould quickly
The best thing to do is find out the underlying moisture problem. A mould problem is always a moisture problem, so removing mould is only temporary until the moisture problem is fixed. You can use diluted vinegar, bleach or mould killers to reduce the spread. However, vinegar can be a food source for some moulds and bleach often discolours mould without necessarily removing it.
Who to contact
If you see mould and feel the problem is extensive call in a building inspector. Mould can be a sign that your house has faulty construction, a sign of much larger problems on the other side of the plaster.
Building inspectors and occupational hygienists can tell you the likely source of the mould. It might be the faulty installation of insulation or building wraps. It might be rising damp. Or your exhaust fans could be dumping moisture into your ceiling cavity and it is ‘raining’ inside the roof space.
If you only have a few local patches, wipe them away with bleach, vinegar or mould killer. This may prevent further problems. Keep the room dry afterwards to prevent recurrence.
Your property should never be neglected because the cost of repairs can be prohibitive if ignored. Some of these remedies may seem expensive but caught early will always be more affordable.