Breaking the Mould

Tuesday, 22nd August 2023

The problem with mould
Mould growth has always been a serious issue, since the fungus is not only difficult to eradicate but it can reappear at the drop of a hat if the conditions are conducive to its growth. Ideally, mould thrives on damp surfaces that are in a humid environment. It is more prevalent in winter months, when households are less likely to have open windows, more likely to dry washing indoors, and there is a lack of sufficient heating. These conditions will increase the amount of condensation in the atmosphere and provide mould with a perfect environment for growth.

Apart from its ugly appearance, mould can be harmful to health. Inhalation of mould spores can inflame airways, leading to nasal congestion, wheezing, coughing and throat irritation. If exposed to high levels of mould fragments and spores over a prolonged period of time, the conditions can reduce lung function and may cause chronic health problems such as asthma. In addition, mould, especially black mould, is unsightly and smelly.

The first line of action is to treat the mould with a biocidal cleaning spray which not only removes the mould growth but also kills the remaining spores, thus ensuring that further growth is kept to a minimum.

Prevention, of course, is better than cure, and since mould loves condensation on cold walls, the surface temperature of the walls on a property should be increased and enough ventilation provided in order to minimise the amount of damp air in the building.

Raising the temperature of cold walls by turning up the thermostat will however, increase the cost of heating. You may want to consider improving the insulative properties of the walls and there are various ways of doing this. For example, installing plaster board or applying masonry waterproofing cream to exterior brick walls to reduce heat loss.

Extractor fans are also an option but you will require an electrician to install the unit and it may be expensive if ducting is required.

Finally, there are also anti-mould paints which contain a biocide that resists mould growth which can be applied to interior walls, even if they are damp.

There is no doubt that mould, like many other pests, will take some beating, but it can be done by providing the right treatment to tackle existing problems, and by maintaining an efficient preventative regime