There have been several articles in newspapers and magazines dealing with mold problems in homes. This is a serious issue and should not be taken lightly. There are many types of molds that can cause significant health problems, especially in infants and young children. From time to time homeowners see small amounts of mold growing on ceramic tile joints or elsewhere in bathrooms. This is not the mold I am talking about. The mold that is causing the problems is mold that may be taking hold in concealed places in homes, such as walls, between floors, etc. This mold is not visible as it is totally concealed, but the mold spores enter homes.
Mold generally needs a moist, warm place to grow. The interior of an exterior wall cavity is a perfect place for mold to grow if it is moist or damp.
That is the big issue. Almost all wall cavities will have some moisture in them at certain times of the year. Moisture from the common air in a home can enter a wall and linger for a time. In a properly constructed wall, the moisture is very low and the cavity can breath to release the moisture. Mold typically will not be a problem in these walls as they dry out.
A real problem arises if liquid water find its way into a wall cavity. This happens when construction details are not implemented that allow surface water to drain off the building materials. Examples of this are window and door openings. If they do not have proper flashing, bulk surface water can enter the wall cavity by getting in and around the window or door. You cannot rely on wall membranes, such as asphalt paper or other building wraps, to keep out bulk water. Once water gets behind siding materials it degrades wall membranes and then enters the building wall. On stucco or brick masonry homes it is essential to have a drainage plane for water to safely travel to the ground. This usually involves double layers of wall membranes as well as careful attention to alignment details. When this type of water enters a wall assembly, the wall rarely dries out, and mold can start growing.
Northfield Construction Company spends a significant amount of time working with employees to make sure they understand water and mold issues. We have monthly meetings that discuss construction details. We share trade journal articles about construction details. I send employees to seminars dealing with mold and constructon issues. I participate in continuing education classes about mold problems. Everyone at Northfield Construction Company want to be sure we are building and remodeling our clients homes properly and that we are following correct details to prevent water intrusion.