The Responsible Solutions to Mold Coalition is introducing a collection of 50 recommendations to control moisture and therefore mold in residential and commercial buildings. Termed the “Guiding Principles for Mold and Moisture Control,” the collection is on the organization’s Website (www.responsiblemoldsolutions.org) in an interactive format in which visitors can explore mold and moisture control steps by clicking on various parts of a typical house. In addition, a complete list of the Guiding Principles can be downloaded.
Furthermore, the coalition has provided a list of 10 moisture/mold control steps in a form that can be printed and posted on job sites.
“From its launch at the 2006 International Builders’ Show in Orlando, FL, we have had one simple message,” said Mike Poellinger, RSMC chairman, “If you control moisture, you’ll control mold. We think this is a fitting way to mark the second anniversary of Mold Awareness Month by introducing our Guiding Principles, which represent the best thinking on ways to keep moisture out of buildings before, during and after construction. An internet search on mold will generate more than 20 million informational sites. Our goal is to cut through the vast body of information on mold-some accurate, some not-and provide science-based easy-to-use information on mold and moisture control.”
The Guiding Principles are divided into seven sections including Construction/General; Design/Mechanical Issues; Interior Construction/Bathrooms & Kitchens; Construction/Exterior; Construction/Foundation; Maintenance; and Remediation. Representative steps that can be taken to prevent moisture and mold intrusion include:
- Ensure that moisture sensitive building materials are not stored outside or exposed to weather before installation; if they are delivered to the job site wet, they should be rejected.
- Roofs should be designed to drain freely and allow water to move rapidly off roofs, through gutters and downspouts and away from the building.
- Use water-resistive barriers-a plastic sheet designed for this purpose-behind tub and shower tile installations so water permeating through tile grout drains back into the tub or shower pan-not into the wall cavity.
- Gypsum wallboard should be installed only when buildings are closed in from the weather.
- Before wallboard and other moisture sensitive interior components are installed in buildings that have been exposed to the weather, provision must be made to dry the framing and substrate. This may be as simple as providing time and ventilation to allow for drying. Depending on the climate, mechanical drying and dehumidification equipment may be required to supplement ventilation drying.
- All windows, doors, roofs and chimneys need to have flashings installed around them. These flashings, which are not expensive or time intensive to install, are critical in deflecting water away from a building.
- The ground around the building should graded to maintain a slope of five percent that drains away from the building-this should be checked periodically to make sure that settling or new landscaping doesn’t reverse the grade.
- Cover all earthen crawl spaces with impermeable plastic sheets. Do not store anything on top of the plastic sheeting as this can lead to damage that will allow water vapor to enter the crawlspace from the soil below.
- Avoid excessive indoor humidity-run exhaust fans over stoves and in bathrooms for 10 minutes after use. Turn off furnace humidifiers in the spring.
- Watch for water stains or standing puddles in the basement, bathrooms or under kitchen sinks. Treat water leaks as you would a smoldering fire-eliminate the cause and dry the water immediately.
“In marking the second anniversary of RSMC’s Mold Awareness Month, we offer some very simple advice in how to deal with mold and moisture control issues,” said Frank Nunes, RSMC vice chairman and executive director with the International Institute for Lath and Plaster and Lath and Plaster Institute of Northern California. “If you’re having mold and moisture issues in your home or building-find out where the water is coming from (and stop it) and find out where the water goes. Simply replacing moldy wallboard, for example, is not the answer-you need to find out the source of the water intrusion, fix it, and follow the trail of the water to find out if it’s done damage to areas out of sight.”
The Responsible Solutions to Mold Coalition comprises 14 companies, associations, government and academic organizations that are dedicated to identifying and communicating accurate, science-based information on mold prevention and control. It is the intention of the organization to provide useful, easily accessible information to everyone with an interest in the subject for both new and existing buildings and homes. More information is available at www.responsiblemoldsolutions.org. RSMC is funded by grants from USG Corporation, National Gypsum and American Gypsum.