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What Effect Does Moisture have on building Materials

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Moisture is your homes worst enemy! It causes physical damage to your walls, ceilings, furnishings and contents. It literally eats everything that it comes in contact with. If you have mold it is eating your house as you read this. It also has negative health effects as you are breathing in the mycotoxins that the mold puts off to protect itself. All of this of course affects your homes livability not to mention its resale value.

Molds food source is the cellulose based materials which it is constructed with such as sheetrock and the only thing it needs to grow is moisture. Just like watering the plants, water is all mold needs to. You see mold is a form of plant life "the fungus species" and it will grow on virtually any semi-porous surface that it comes in contact with that provides a food source, moisture and oxygen. This is why moisture is a home's worst enemy and molds best friend.

The Effects of Moisture on Building Materials


Yes, moisture certainly is your homes worst enemy. It causes building materials to decompose, which in turn causes property damage and of course illness. The information that follows will explain in more detail the effects that moisture can have on your home.

There are several factors which affect hoe building materials will react when water is introduces. Some of these factors include such things as how porous the material is, its permeability, its absorption rates, its moisture holding capacity, the evaporation rate and its typical susceptibility to damage from microbiological growth. There are some building materials like plaster, stucco and fiberglass that are not highly conducive to mold growth, however most other materials that your home is made up of are a different story altogether. Below is a detailed list of many of the building materials that make up a typical residential home, along with a description of the effects that water will have on them.

Brick and Cinderblock: Contrary to popular belief, these materials do have the ability to absorb large amounts of water. The good news is that similar to concrete, mold is not particularly fond of growing on these types of surfaces. A good preventative measure is to be certain that all mortar joints are properly pointed to help prevent water from absorbing into them. Once brick or cinderblock gets wet, it takes a long time for them to dry out. This is why mold will grow on them if given the right set of circumstances such as darkness and moisture.

Concrete: Concrete is an unpredictable material when it comes to mold growth. It comes in many varying thickness' and can vary in its porosity. Due to these many variations, it is impossible to predict how concrete will react when moisture is introduced. Generally speaking, like brick and cinderblock surfaces, concrete is not the best of growing environments for mold. However this is not to say that mold will not grow on concrete. It will, especially when other building materials such as wood or cardboard are in contact with wet concrete.


Mold Removal Staten IslandYou can removed mold from Plaster but not from Sheetrock


Drywall or Sheetrock: Drywall is a cellulose based building material and as porous as it gets. Therefore it will quickly and easily absorb water which will quickly cause mold to grow on the surface. Drywall is a perfect food source for mold to grow. This is why you must always remove drywall if it stays wet for 48 hours or longer.
Glass, Plastic, Ceramic and Porcelain: These building materials are non-porous and mold will rarely grow on these types of surfaces.

Metal: Metal building materials are non porous. These types of building materials include soffits and metal beams. This makes them much less likely to have mold growth on them. These metal building materials will however rust if they are left wet for a long period of time.

Insulation: Insulation is a very porous building material. It will quickly absorb water and must be replaced, not dried whenever it gets wet for more than 48 hours.

Laminate Flooring: The good news is that the top surface of laminate flooring is non-porous which does not allow mold to grow on it. Ready for the bad news? The underside of laminate flooring is made from fiberboard. When this fiberboard backing sustains water damage mold will easily and aggressively grow on it. Therefore if the bottom of laminate floor gets wet you will have no choice but to remove and dispose of it.

Oriented Strand Board (OSB): OSB is similar to solid wood, therefore it can be dried providing the moisture content is at 16% or below. If the moisture level exceeds 16%, it should be removed rather than dried. A knowledgeable mold inspector will know this and carries a commercial moisture detector with him so that these decisions can be made with a strong degree of certainty. Particle Board / Fiberboard: Just like Drywall, Particle Board will readily absorb water causing it to swell and loose its shape and strength. Mold will easily grow on these materials making it imperative that you remove and dispose of them when they become water damaged.

Plaster and Stucco: These materials are very similar to concrete and in most cases mold can be removed from them without having to remove and dispose of them.

Plywood: Plywood is similar to solid wood, therefore when the moisture readings exceed 16%, they should be removed and disposed of as opposed to dried and salvaged.

Solid Wood: Framing, flooring and trim are some great examples of solid wood surfaces that are used in a residential home. These solid wood materials are considered semi-porous. Therefore when the moisture content exceeds 16%, they must be removed and disposed of as opposed to dried and salvaged.

Vinyl Tile (VCT): VCT tile flooring is considered to be non porous, which means they do not have the ability to absorb water. However when water leaks in between the tiles and water becomes trapped underneath the floor it is important to remove and dispose of the floor so you can dry down the wood sub flooring underneath.



References: IICRC S520 Standard and Reference Guide for Professional Mold Remediation

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Mold Testing, Mold Removal, Mold Inspection, Mold Remediation, throughout Richmond County NY

Since 1995 Absolutely Spotless, Inc. has provided certified mold remediation services to the residents of Richmond County NY. These services include work inside of attics, crawl spaces, basements, bathrooms, as well as any other place in you house where mold contamination issues may be an issue. Absolutely Spotless are the certified authority when it comes to your Mold Inspection Staten Island NY, Basement Mold Testing Staten Island NY, Basement Mold Removal Staten Island NY, Basement Mold Remediation Staten Island NY, needs. We also offer 24 hour emergency service to all Richmond County residents so you will not have to wait days for your problem to get addressed.