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Mold in New Construction Homes

Construction Workers

The planning and construction of a new home can be as stressful as it is exhilarating. There are many important details to consider. From start to finish, it can take more than a year to see your plans materialize. Once your home is complete, building inspectors will assess your newly constructed dwelling and certify your home suitable for occupancy.

Since everything in the home is new and installed by industry professionals, most owners of a newly-constructed residence assume their long-awaited home will easily pass that final inspection. More often than you might realize, building inspectors discover mold in newly constructed homes. It's important to be aware of the fact that mold infestation can occur during any phase of the construction process. Since spores are always present, construction projects allow ample opportunity for mold to thrive.

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Reducing the Risk of Mold in Newly Constructed Homes

One of the main causes of mold growth during construction is the use of damp construction materials. Mold starts to grow within 24-48 hours of contact with a damp surface, including the wood and drywall your contractors are using to build your home. Even slight dampness can be problematic. That's one of the main reasons it's essential to discuss mold growth with your contractor. Preventing mold growth during construction is not impossible. Most often, it's a relatively simple matter of keeping the materials dry. If a construction project needs to be temporarily shut down due to weather conditions, it's essential that someone is taking responsibility to ensure materials are dry, sealed, and protected during downtime. Consider asking your contractor about how their company addresses the following construction site mold concerns:

Drying Out Building Materials Before Use

Subfloors, floors, and framing can hold a significant amount of moisture. Giving building materials a significant amount of time to dry before continuing construction can help reduce the risk of mold accumulation. Workers should also be watching for signs of mold contamination before using building materials on the premises.

The Processes of Drying In

The term "drying in" refers to the process of sealing and protecting your home from the outside in. The drying in process includes the installation of a water-tight exterior siding, water-tight roofing materials, and sealing around windows and doors. Insulation and drywall should be hung after the drying in process is complete.

Controlling Interior Humidity

While under construction, a home's indoor humidity levels continue to rise. Humidity is a significant source of mold infestation, even when all materials are handled impeccably. The strategic installation of industrial dehumidifiers reduce humidity levels during construction and should be run continuously to minimize the risk of mold growth. Relative humidity should be kept below 60 percent.

Interior Construction

Protecting Your Home During Interior Construction

Once the initial construction of the frame is complete, and roofs, doors, and windows are protecting the interior of your home from the elements, the risk of mold is still there. Most walls are sealed with insulation and drywall before heating, ventilation, and cooling systems are installed in the home. Mold thrives in the resulting humidity. If your contractor is using fans and dehumidifies in your home until the heating, cooling, and ventilation systems are installed and functioning, there is less opportunity for mold to thrive. Left unchecked, mold can contaminate your new cabinets, your drywall, and your carpeting.

Once your HVAC system is installed and functional, be sure to run your air conditioning unit or continue to use dehumidifiers throughout the duration of project completion. Reducing the humidity in your home to 60 percent or less will help keep mold at bay.

Reducing the Risk of Mold at the Construction Site

Mold problems are most likely to develop during the framing process. When framing a house, uncooperative weather conditions can stall construction for days at a time. Construction delays could leave significant portions of your soon-to-be home and your building materials exposed to the elements. The way your materials are handled and stored can have a considerable impact on mold growth. To minimize the risk of potential mold growth, consider the following suggestions:

Pay Attention to Direction

Ensure the lot and landscaping on your property are graded downward and away from your home. Ensuring rainfall flows away from your construction area will help keep water from seeping into your foundations, walls, crawl spaces, and concrete floors, reducing mold risk.

Protect Materials From Moisture

Many building suppliers offer the option of moisture resistant, vapor permeable, wrap. When protective materials are vapor permeable, there is less opportunity for condensation to accumulate between the covering and the building materials being protected.

Inspect Materials Upon Delivery

When your building materials are delivered, the shipment should be immediately inspected. If you suspect some of the pieces are contaminated with mold, remove the contaminated merchandise from the rest of your shipment and contact the supplier for a replacement or refund. Deliveries should be planned for when materials are needed, rather than all at once, to minimize the risk of moisture exposure.

Keep Lumber Off the Ground

Lumber should not be placed in direct contact with the ground. The moisture in the ground creates an ideal breeding ground for mold when combined with wood fibers. Lumber should be elevated at least four inches off the ground.

Cover Exposed Building Materials

Lumber stored in the open should be covered with a moisture resistant polyethylene sheet. If lumber gets soaked during the rain, or if your climate is particularly humid, the lumber used by your contractors should be checked with a moisture meter prior to use. Moisture levels should be at 19 percent or less.

Cover Your Construction Area

As a precaution; your home should be covered with weatherproof tarps or plastic sheeting at the end of each workday and during rain. There should be someone on hand trained to monitor for potential construction defects that could allow moisture to infiltrate your home.

Safe Mold Removal Requires a Remediation Specialist

Newly constructed homes are particularly vulnerable to mold growth, particularly in hot, humid climates. If routine inspections uncover mold in your newly constructed home, it's important to leave mold remediation to the professionals. If mold is not handled appropriately, mold spores can be released into the air and will migrate to other areas of your home until making contact with another source of moisture.

For safe, non-toxic mold remediation at any phase of the construction process, contact ATP Environmental Solutions Specialists. With more than 30 years of experience in Delray Beach Florida and the surrounding areas, we have decades of proven homeowner satisfaction. ATP Environmental Specialists remove the mold in your new home efficiently and effectively, so you can enjoy living in your new space as soon as possible.