Old House Green Renovation: Mold Clean Up, Part 2
Part 2 of a three-part series, Old House Green Renovation: Mold Clean Up
In the first article of this series, we looked at health problems mold can cause and how it can disrupt the otherwise healthful environment of your old house. This article will examine where you might uncover mold--particularly when you are deconstructing for your green renovation.
Hunting for Mold
As noted in the first article, mold spores are found almost everywhere. In a home, there are a number of places that can harbor and nourish them.
As a general rule, any place that is damp and dark has the potential to be a mold jungle. Dampness is the key, and darkness is an accelerator--but you can have mold in the light, also, as long as there is underlying dampness. According to toxic-black-mold-info.com, some mold-friendly areas around the home are:
- Cabinets. Constantly putting wet dishes away in cabinets can allow dampness to build up to encourage mold growth. More likely, you may have dampness around your sink or the dishwasher--anywhere there is plumbing.
- Behind cabinets. If you are tearing your kitchen apart, don't be surprised to find mold behind or under the cabinets, where dampness is slow to dry and provides fertile ground.
- Under drywall. Mold often will take root in wall cavities, and the drywall is easily contaminated. Blistered paint or discoloration is a possible warning. Exterior walls are more susceptible, as they are cooler and are more likely to hold dampness than interior walls.
- Behind baseboards. Again, dampness can get under the baseboard. And dirt also can gather under the baseboard, offering spores plenty of nutrients.
- Basements and crawl spaces. Groundwater is often the culprit here. Look for any signs of discoloration. Wood framing is susceptible, and its structural integrity even can be compromised by the mold and decay.
- Water damage. If you know that some area of your house has had water problems that have not been remedied immediately, figure mold has settled in.
- High humidity rooms. If you have a room with particularly high humidity, such as a laundry room or a room dedicated to growing exotic plants, you have another mold incubator.
With the number of places you are likely to find mold, and with the propensity of an old house to let dampness gather, you very possibly will find previously unknown mold during your renovation. Sure, you want to green your old house, but not mold green. The last article of this series will tell you how to keep your old house fungus-free.
Jim Mallery, a semi-retired journalist and onetime registered contractor, has extensive experience remodeling, repairing, and rebuilding homes.