10 essential tips to help you successfully deal with mould in your home

What you need to know about mould

1. How is mould formed

If you've been unlucky enough as a homeowner to have experienced mould, you know how unpleasant it can be. Black mould and spores, occur in areas of high condensation and should be of concern to any homeowner. Mould occurs when the warm air is ridden with moisture, which rises until it reaches a cold surface, the cold surface cools the air and the resulting moisture condenses on the surfaces when it comes into contact with it.

2. How does mould spread

With enough condensation and a slightly warm environment mould can thrive and survive. Some examples of an ideal environment for mould to develop, will be your bathroom or shower room, specifically starting as patches on the celling or wall, and expanding to tiling grout and adhesive. Moisture rich areas are the perfect conditions for black mould spores specifically to grow, and this should be of concern.

3. Be aware of black mould

Black mould or (Stachybotrys chartarum) is a type of micro fungus, it has the capability to produce conidia which as an asexual reproductive spore, can reproduce exponentially, within a wide range of moisture based condition. This reproductive characteristics greatly assists in the ability for spores to multiply and spread.

4. A bit about where mould comes from

Mould exists in small quantities in grain and soil, and is mostly found in cellulose rich building materials affected by damp or water ingress. This means that a moisture rish environemnt, coupled with exposure to materials designed to absorb moisture, in the abscence of ventilation, means mould can make it's way into your home, in expected areas, relatively easily. By reducing the quality of mould resistnace materials, in certain project builds, coupled this with the design for lack of ventilation of moisture, present the ideal encironment for mositure to multiply, survive and cause health issues.

5. Mould frustrates and is a risk to homeowners health

This means homeowners, get frustrated with mould gorwth on ceilings, tiles, basins, etc. As they are always having to clean these areas, introducing chemicals and substances, that can also be harmful.

6. How can homeowners deal with mould in several ways:

Homeowners could:

1. Have less baths or showers to reduce the fungi collection on surfaces, but this is less practical

2. Mange ventilation or use mobile moisture withdraw devices such as dehumidifiers to reduce and delay the spread of mould through air management solutions

7. Mould likes warm environments

Most homes are designed to integrate into and work with national the electrical grid, this means, that heating is readily available in spaces where mould can thrive, by design. Mould is multiplicative in warmer environemnts, and in cold or less insulated spaces in the home, less so. Heat being used in the home, is a welcome catalyst for mould growth.

The ideal conditions in the UK, for mouold to thrive, suvive and spread, would be an environment of about 70 degrees Fahrenheit (21 degrees Celsius) and a relative humidity (concentration of water in the air) of 70% and this comnbination of temperatue and humidit, create the perfect environement, to allow spores to quickly reproduce and spread, this is typcially, the temperature for homes in less than extreme seasonal conditions.

8. What can homeowners do to reduce the spread of mould

Reducing moisture is th first step to making a difference in mould presentation. Heating in an environment that is high risk can contribute to accelerated presentation of mould, multiplication and health risks, (this assumes no mould is present) that's why it is important to:

- Use a dehumidifier if possible, to reduce spread and distibutions, and reduce moisture in the space. Check the environment and space is suitable.

- Ventilation of the space or room, depending on the room and time of year, care should be made to cost

- Heating and insulation, this will reduce the area of cold surfaces which will reduce the capability of the air to retain the moisture, through prevention of condensation as the surface temperatue will not allow, based on the room temperature.

- An extractor fan unit installed can contiously remove moisture-laden or vacterus rich air, before it can settle on a surface. Doing this in conjunction with insulation is recommended to maximise the effect. These approaches reduce the risk of mould forming, but there will still be some moist air in places, especially the bathroom or shower room and this means that there is still the likelihood of mould recurring.

Introduce temperatue and humidity measuring devices, and sensory digital equipment, which can alert homeowners, to this. At billntrade.com we are working with trade professionals, to ensure that such solutions are available to our customers, and such alerts are early enough that customers can identify a potential issue, and we can consult then with our experts, to find a safe and manageable solution to prevent the mould problem from getting worse.

9. Other method to reduce mould which have some risks

Other methods can be adopted but should be weighed by the benefits and risks associated, for example:

1. Opening windows can make the room cold, whilst this is not so welcome in winter, it can remove moisture ridden air, and change the environmental temperature, making it difficult for spores to settle and reproduce.

2. Installing heating and insulation may prove expensive depending on your circumstances, but again can prevent mould settling due to the temperature of the surface area, where the insulation is placed, it may be that killing mould rather than preventing it may also be a ore affordable option.

3. If you have a pre-existing outbreak, cover the surface area with a steriliser or mould killer based product, follow the instructions to remove the mould, clean and prepare the area, as recommended by the product. You can then use a barrier solution undercoat product and once the barrier solution has dried, apply the top coat ensuring it is mixed with a fungicide additive, this product formulation should have instructions on how to prevent the mould returning. Mould eradication kits are also available and a good product can clean a huge surface area, whilst the fungicidal properties they have should eradicate the mould completely.

4. Other simpler methods include bleach, mould and mildew products or antifungal sprays.

10. Getting rid of mould in your home

lady cleaning a mouldy window

When dealing with mould it is important to consider wearing the right apparatus and/or protective clothing before attempting to remove any mould from surfaces; particularly if you are a tradesperson who does this regularly. The reason being, the spores in the air form a fine dust which when inhaled can cause health and safety issues, including severe respiratory or breathing problems. Care should also be taken to leave the environment worked in safe for the homeowner and their families, during each phase of the removal, reperation and/or restoration work.

About the Author

Sarah Tring
Hi, I'm Sarah, I'm a blogger who enjoys eveything related to home improvement, I'm passionate about sustainable homes, home improvement, home developments and technology used in the home. When not blogging, I enjoy spending time with my husband, two children and our dog 'Leto'.