The last thing anyone wants is to be in the middle of building their new modern house plan, and to find out there is mold (fungi). Understanding the impact of moisture and mold on building materials and the process involved in construction integral to developing good construction practices. Recent media focus has brought some heightened attention to the construction industry for maintenance practices that can minimize the risk of mold.
The sad truth is that mold can grow on almost every construction material including: brick, carpet, fabric, fiber insulation, glass, lumber, OSB, paint, panels, plywood, siding, wallboard, and even vinyl wall coverings. It often happens when a building material gets dirty and then wet. It is a ripe target for mold growth. Even aluminum and steel will support mold growth under just the right circumstances.
There are more than 100,000 species of mold, which is a fungi that is present everywhere in our environment, both indoors and outdoors. There have been more than 1,000 species of mold identidied as common in the United States, several of which are called Cladosporium, Penicillium and Aspergillus. Mold grow around water or dampness such as in bathrooms and basements.
How can mold affect one's health? Most types of mold are not hazardous to healthy individuals. However, excessive exposure to mold may cause or worsen conditions such as asthma, hay fever or other allergies for more sensitive people. When people come in contact with mold the most common symptoms of mold exposure are a cough, congestion, eye irritation, aggravation of asthma and a runny nose, depending on the amount of exposure. It also depends on a person’s vulnerability, and health.
This modern house plan (left) is a 70s Retro-Modern featuring an open floor plan, glass walls throughout. The style of this home highlights many strong features including an entry that wraps around the infinity-edge pool and terrace. And as we mentioned, any building material can succumb to mold, especially when there is a pool create moisture, and mold can set in.
In recent years, due to the economy, construction schedules have been continually shortened as developers focus on more time-efficient construction practices to minimize their costs, which contributes to installation conditions being less than ideal. In some cases, short term protection from water is not provided, but this results in many buildings being left open to the elements during most phases of construction. This of course can lead to moisture in a building. With spores naturally present in the environment and limited or no protection from water on many projects, mold growth can readily develop on and in building materials.
Truely the best think a new homeowner can do to protect their new modern house plan from any mold while it is being built, is to watch it yourself, and of course hire a qualified and reputable builder.
Sources: American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers, Inc. (ASHRAE), the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the New York City Department of Health (NYCDH).