In the latest of its series on building defects, Safeguard Europe looks at mould growth and the best ways to eradicate it.
Mould growth is an issue for many property owners. The notorious fungus can be difficult to eradicate from surfaces and can reappear quite quickly after removal if the conditions are still right for it to grow.
The ideal conditions for mould growth are damp surfaces and a humid environment. This means that it is most likely to appear in the winter. During the colder months of the year, building occupants often keep windows closed, dry washing inside and do not sufficiently heat their property. This makes condensation likely to occur and mould growth more likely.
Breaking the mould
Mould in indoor environments is unsightly, can introduce musty smells and can agitate allergies. On indoor walls, floors and ceilings, mould can be easily removed using a biocidal cleaning spray, such as Dryzone100 mould killer spray. This will ensure that most of the mould is removed and any remaining spores are killed off, ensuring that any re-growth is minimised.
Mould growth usually occurs because of the presence of condensation on cold walls. The best way to ensure that mould does not grow again is to increase the surface temperature of the walls on a property or to ventilate the damp air out of the building.
Ventilation, insulation and innovation
Ventilation is usually achieved using extractor fans or positive pressure units. These units are cheap to run but require an electrician to fit and can sometimes be expensive to install if ducting needs to be routed.
The simplest way to increase the wall temperature in a building is to simply turn up the thermostat. This, however, is not always the most efficient or cost-effective way to achieve the required temperature increase, especially on solid brick walls.
If monthly heating costs are an issue, it is possible to increase the insulative properties of walls using a hybrid aerogel/magnesium oxide plasterboard, such as the innovative Stormdry EP-Board. If combined with the application of a suitable masonry waterproofing cream to solid exterior walls, such as Stormdry masonry protection cream, a 60 per cent reduction in heat loss is possible. This enables property owners to increase the temperature of their walls without increasing their monthly outgoing costs.
Back to the wall
If no heating or ventilation improvements are able to be made, anti-mould paints, like Dryzone mould-resistant emulsion paint, can be applied to at-risk walls. These paints contain a biocide that will resist mould growth even in damp areas. Alternatively, a biocidal paint additive, such as Dryzone100 anti-mould emulsion paint additive, can be mixed in to most paints, wallpaper paints or grouts.