Mold, how to eliminate
"Molds are microscopic organisms that are present virtually everywhere in our environment. Molds break down dead organic materials, such as wood and leaves, and recycle nutrients back into the environment.

Why it is important to know about mold?
Builders, architects and consultants - as well as home owners and building owners - need to know about mold because of potential property damage and deteriorated(lam xau di) indoor air quality from mold growth.

According to one US Government agency (FEMA):

Mold can damage buildings
"You should be concerned about mold in your home if the contamination(Lam ban, nhiem benh) is extensive. Mold can also cause structural damage to your home. Similarly, when wood becomes soaked it can warp when it dries and cause walls to crack or become weaker."
[Mold Can Damage Home and Health, FEMA Web site,]

Why is mold considered to be a problem now?
Homes are built to control moisture through design features like overhangs, gutters and flashing. However, some modern homes, for a variety of reasons, have encountered moisture-related performance problems. One of the causes, undoubtedly, is that houses today are designed and built with more corners, angles, hips, slopes, nooks, crannies, and other design features that place greater demands on proper detailing and workmanship to keep the weather and water out. Those demands are not always met. Compounding the problem is the growing shortage of skilled construction workers. Modern energy codes may also be a contributing factor. By encouraging houses to be sealed tightly, these codes, experts point out, can exacerbate interior condensation problems, as well as indoor air quality concerns.

[APA The Engineered Wood Association; "Note to Homeowners: It's the Water, Not the Wood."]

What is mold?
"Molds are microscopic organisms that are present virtually everywhere in our environment. Molds break down dead organic materials, such as wood and leaves, and recycle nutrients back into the environment. All that is necessary for mold growth to start on these materials is moisture."

["Precautions during construction will save headaches later" by David Chawes, Prezant Associates; Seattle Daily Journal of Commerce online edition October 9, 2003; accessed November 19, 2003, at]

Mold Growth In Heating Season
In a heated climate, mold grows on interior surfaces. Typically, the interior surfaces of exterior walls are cool (due to heat loss), while moisture levels within
the conditioned space are high. Mold growth can be controlled in two ways:
(1) by preventing the interior surfaces of exterior walls and other building assemblies from becoming too cold, and
(2) by limiting interior moisture levels. Adding insulation to a wall or ceiling raises the temperature of the inner surface. Controlled ventilation and control of moisture sources limit interior levels.
[Home Energy Magazine online, November/December 1995]

Mold Growth In Cooling Climate
If exterior humid air comes in contact with the cavity side of cooled interior gypsum board, its relative humidity can rise above 70% and mold growth can occur in the cavity. Impermeable wall coverings such as vinyl wallpaper can make the problem worse by trapping moisture between the interior finish and the gypsum board.
[Home Energy Magazine online, November/December 1995]
Preventing mold
Mold spores are always present in both indoor and outdoor air, and they can flourish in any ambient temperature from 40 F to 100 F (4 C to 38 C). But you can have some control over the moisture mold needs, and you can also have some control over the use of organic materials in construction.

Mold needs four key factors to grow. Moisture and organic food are the easiest to manage in buildings. Source: University of Florida
Because some moisture is inevitable, either during installation or from condensation, use components that will retain as little moisture as possible. Moisture-resistant materials will cut down on retained moisture.

Specify materials that have no organic content as part of your overall mold-resistance strategy. For example, paper facings could support the growth of mold. Materials that don't have organic components resist mold.

Proper storage and handling of building products helps prevent mold
Keep stocks of lumber, plywood, oriented-strand board (OSB), drywall, and other porous materials in a dry, covered storage area.
If the stockpiles are out in the open, and it looks like it might rain, cover the materials with a good tarp, anchored down so that the wind does not blow it off. When the materials are needed, remove them from beneath the cover without allowing the remainder to get wet or damp.
Before installing the materials, inspect carefully for water damage, staining, warping, or initial signs of mold growth. Such signs might be visible patches of mold, or simply the musty odor we associate with mold or mildew. Discard any such materials immediately.
Install a roof or cover the new construction as soon as practical.
["Precautions during construction will save headaches later" by David Chawes, Prezant Associates; Seattle Daily Journal of Commerce online edition October 9, 2003; accessed November 19, 2003, at]

According to the National Multi-Housing Council:

Ten Things You Should Know About Mold
Potential health effects and symptoms associated with mold exposure include allergic reactions and other respiratory complaints.
There is no practical way to eliminate all mold and mold spores in the indoor environment. The way to control indoor mold growth is to control moisture.
If mold is a problem in your home or school, you must clean up the mold and eliminate sources of moisture.
Fix the source of the water problem or leak to prevent mold growth.
Reduce indoor humidity to 30-60%. Decrease mold growth by venting bathrooms, dryers, and other moisture-generating sources to the outside; using air conditioners and de-humidifiers; increasing ventilation; and using exhaust fans whenever cooking, dishwashing and cleaning.
Clean and dry any damp or wet building materials and furnishings within 24-48 hours to prevent mold growth.
Clean mold off hard surfaces with water and detergent, and dry completely. Absorbent materials such as ceiling tiles that are moldy may need to be replaced.
Prevent condensation. Reduce the potential for condensation on cold surfaces (i.e., windows, piping, exterior walls, roof or floors) by adding insulation.
In areas where there is a perpetual moisture problem, do not install carpeting (i.e., near drinking fountains, classroom sinks or on concrete floors with leaks or frequent condensation).
Molds can be found almost anywhere; it can grow on virtually any substance providing moisture is present. There are molds that can grow on wood, paper, carpet and foods. Source: National Multi-Housing Council

Other resources
The National Institute of Standards and Technology at Oak Ridge National Laboratory has a Building Envelopes Program ( that addresses water vapor conditions for wall and roof assemblies.

APA - The Engineered Wood Association

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA)

The US Centers for Disease Control (CDC)

The American Industrial Hygiene Association

The information contained in this document was obtained from a variety of third party sources and is cited as such. Although we believe that these sources are reliable, G-P Gypsum Corporation cannot ensure the accuracy or completeness of the information provided in this document. As such, G-P Gypsum Corporation does not assume responsibility or liability for this information. G-P Gypsum Corporation also is not responsible for installation or maintenance of its products. That responsibility lies with those involved in the actual building process. When selecting, installing and maintaining building products, issues such as local climate and geography, local building codes and performance expectations for the finished product should be take in to consideration.   

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