Home Improvements to Damp and Wet Environments

Improvements to bathrooms, kitchens, laundry rooms, basements, and areas that tend to experience moments of dampness should include designs to assist in keeping the areas dry and contaminant-free.

Both during and after renovations, odors should never be ignored. Odors are indicators of the existence of a contaminant or the growth of mold.

While renovations are in progress, odors may be released during the demolition process, such as when walls or floors are being removed. Work should be stopped, and the source of the odors should be investigated and addressed. Otherwise, the new renovations may cover up an issue that could cause major problems in the future.

Extra design items should be included in areas that tend to get damp, such as the installation of exhaust fans above stoves and in bathrooms. These exhaust fans should exhaust to the exterior. If exhausted into a building chase or the attic, moisture can become trapped. One mold spore can cause full-blown mold contamination in these areas in the future. The controls to the exhaust fans should be separate from the lighting or other electrical components so that the occupants can allow them to run until all moisture has been eliminated from the area.

Renovations are the perfect time to clean all appliances, furnishings, and building components that are going to remain. Kitchens and bathrooms tend to be more humid than the other rooms, allowing for small mold colonies to accumulate. Remember that the best cleaning method is to HEPA vacuum, damp wipe, HEPA vacuum.

Consider applying a sealant to the interior of cabinets to ease cleaning in the future.

All plumbing should be checked for leaks and repaired.

Any cracks in the plumbing areas, countertops, backsplashes, wall, or floor tiles should be repaired in such a way that they cannot collect or retain water or moisture. If they retain water or moisture, the building components around them will become degraded or mold growth can occur without any initial visibility or warning.

Carpeting should never be installed in humid environments such as kitchens, bathrooms, laundry rooms, and basements. Carpets easily collect biodegradable dust. If the biodegradable dust becomes damp, it is the perfect nutrient to feed mold growth.

A DEHUMIDIER is your best friend in damp areas or areas at risk of water intrusion. A dehumidifier can be positioned in the containment during renovations and should be a part of the design for humid areas. When conditions linger above 50-60% relative humidity for extended periods of time, mold and bacteria growth is stimulated. Damp areas also contribute to the cupping of wood floors and the deterioration of floor joists, beams, sub-flooring, insulation, and electrical-mechanical systems.

To learn more or to join our BREATHE HEALTHY Initiative, visit baxtergroupinc.com.  Request a copy of our BREATHE HEALTHY ebook.

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