Fighting Inevitable Mold

So, storm is over. You battened down the hatches, left town and came back to a soggy mess inside and out.

When I get emails and questions at http://byebyemold.com/faq_ask.php , they are frequently like “My condo at the beach has mold. What can I do?” My first response (that I never actually send) is “MOVE”.

But of course I can not make that reply. Beachfront properties are lovely. Sometimes I still miss our place in Malibu. And mold occurs in other places than at the beach. However, it is just a fact of nature that if you are going to live in humid, rainy, badly-drained or beachfront areas, you are going to have a plan in place to keep the mold from taking over.

There is one simple rule of thumb. Keep it dry.

Nature rarely cooperates with this agenda, especially at the beach. Everyone in coastal Texas, Louisiana, Alabama, and Florida is nodding along with me. Isaac is a reminder that it can be an uphill battle.

So if you can not keep it dry, GET it dry. Get the property dried off, asap. All the water out, all the moist perishables dried or disposed of. Then you can check for damage. Consider working from the outside in, looking at what must be done from the outside of the property to make it air and water tight. This includes roof, windows, doors, vents, grading, etc.

Inside, once the furnishings are dealt with, the walls should be checked. If water has breached the drywall, there may be remediation to be done. Choose an experienced inspector who does not have a vested interest with a construction company so you don’t end up with more remediation than you need—or find an inspector with an excellent reputation, or one recommended by a friend who has had experience with their service.

Of course, in addition to Nature, the plumbing and ventilation must also be up to par. A beach property may have plumbing issues due to having been built too quickly, ordinary leakage or ageing pipes. Nothing replaces a good plumber.

If there is humidity to deal with, ventilation problems must be troubleshooted. You might need a dehumidifier, or a ventilation system installed so that moisture does not get trapped inside–or that it does not sneak inside ill-conceived vents.

The main thing here is to prevent mold from gaining a foothold. You can help yourself out by using mold-resistant construction materials and mold-resistant paint, but nothing will work by itself. It is up to you to be vigilant with your maintenance plan.

Here is a link to the EPA recommendations for commercial buildings:
http://www.epa.gov/mold/mold_remediation.html

If you’re in California, you might want to give us a call and see about getting an assessment from Byebyemold.

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