What if I told you I have foolproof secrets to avoiding mold problems on construction projects? Would you believe me, or would you think I’m just trying to get clicks on our website?

I promise – this isn’t a gimmick. I’m not here trying to get you to buy my “Secrets to Avoiding Mold Problems” for $99.95. Nope – if you act now, you can get it for $39.95.

Just kidding!

This advice is free. No strings attached. But I am serious when I say I think this advice can help. First though, we have to get two things out of the way:

You probably know this one: mold is everywhere. That means mold is in all existing buildings, and mold will be in all new buildings as they’re constructed.

The next thing: we don’t have to put up with having mold problems. This goes for any building, buildings undergoing renovation, or for new construction.

But for some reason we’ve come to accept mold problems as some sort of fact of life. And I don’t like seeing people have to deal with mold problems that are avoidable.

When it comes down to it, saving yourself from mold problems comes down to one thing: managing water.

In this post I want to focus on new construction. Specifically, I want to focus on gypsum materials.

secrets to avoiding mold problems includes keeping water out

this gypsum board will grow mold if it stays wet long enough

Why? Because water damaged sheetrock and mold growth on sheetrock are two of the most common things we see in buildings. This goes for existing buildings, renovation projects, and during new construction.

A lot of times the gypsum board manufacturers catch heat because there’s mold on the sheetrock. But if we allow sheetrock to get wet for long enough, it will grow mold. Even if it’s on that green or purple paper on the gypsum board. We haven’t studied it enough to know the difference, but the mold resistant green or purple paper will grow mold much the same as the regular gypsum board.

Mold doesn’t care what color paper in on gypsum board.

Over the last few weeks we’ve been working on a new construction project that’s having some water problems. They’re rapidly heading towards a mold problem.

Guess what the water problem is? The contractor started installing gypsum board in areas where the building enclosure wasn’t complete. Wall penetrations are open, and temporary opening protection is not adequate.

secrets to avoiding mold problems includes keeping water out of the building

Instead of waiting for the building to be dried in, the contractor is installing gypsum board.

So it rains, water comes in, and things gets wet. This isn’t good for the gypsum board.

secrets to avoiding mold problems includes keeping moisture sensitive materials dry

I don’t need to sample this – the new gypsum board is supporting mold growth.

This was avoidable. All they had to do was wait to hang the sheetrock after the building was dried in.

If you’re like me, you’ve probably dealt with this more than once. Maybe you’ve tried to explain this phenomenon and how to avoid it. Maybe you’re tired of trying to explain it. I have come up with way to demonstrate this, even to an engineer’s satisfaction.

Let’s do an experiment* the next time it rains:

Step 1: look out the window.
Step 2: go outside without an umbrella.
Step 3: wait 5 minutes.
Step 4: go back inside & put on dry clothes.
Step 5: if it’s still raining, go outside with an umbrella, rain clothes, and boots.
Step 6: wait 5 minutes.
Step 7: compare how you feel after Steps 3 and 7.

* = I was going to type a really long disclaimer about what could happen, but it’s been a long week. If you do what I say and something great happens, then I get the credit for whatever it is. If you do what I say and something bad (or your results aren’t to your satisfaction), then too bad.

What were the differences between Steps 3 and 7? As someone who’s been out in the tremendous Louisiana sideways rain with rain gear (and many times without), I prefer having a way to reduce the amount of water that gets to me. Same thing goes for moisture intolerant building materials like gypsum board.

Enough of all that – let’s get to what you’ve been waiting for: secrets to avoiding mold problems during construction:

Don’t install water sensitive materials until the building enclosure will protect the interior.
If materials get wet, get them dry as soon as possible.
Get the building dry & keep it dry.
Remove and replace materials that are water damaged (follow manufacturer’s instructions).

this water shouldn’t be there

Here’s a bonus tip:

In the case of wet gypsum materials, I’ll bet the insulation got wet too. Even if it’s a great material like fiberglass, you may be better off removing and replacing the insulation.

Here are two other bonus tips:

Corrective actions are always cheaper during construction when compared to when the building is occupied. It’s easier to determine how the water is getting in, easier to see where the water is going, and easier to figure out what to do.
The cost of mold prevention is lower than the cost of mold remediation. When people and building contents are in the way, the time and expense of remediation increase at a rapid rate.

So there you have it – 7 Secrets to Avoiding Mold Problems. More to come in the next post.

Have you had a moisture or mold problem during new construction? How did you solve your problem? Would you like to share your secrets to avoiding mold problems?

Send us a comment, share your story, or send us ideas for future posts that will help you or others.

Or if there is a moisture or mold problem that has you stuck, email me.

Stay dry, my friends.