Have you been struggling with mould in your home?
Is mould-free living even possible in the Northern Rivers?
I've discussed this with many of my clients in the last few weeks, and at my house too I've been spraying and wiping all over the place to try and keep it at bay! It sure isn't easy when the rain sets in and doesn't feel like it's ever going to stop. But there are things you can do to help minimise mould growth in your existing home, and also ways that your new home can be designed and built to ensure mould is never an issue.
Here are some ideas for mould prevention in your existing home:
Keep surfaces clean and dust free. I make up a spray bottle with vinegar and a few drops of clove oil to wipe down walls, ceiling and surfaces.
Buy a dehumidifier and run it for a few hours in each room with the windows closed while it's raining. I also open up the wardrobes and run the machine right in front to avoid leather shoes and jackets growing mould.
Also while it's still raining, get your fireplace cranking. This will dry out the air and reduce the humidity indoors.
Run your bathroom exhaust fans to minimise condensation after showers and baths. Damp bathrooms are a favourite place for mould to grow!
Once the sun comes out, open up all your windows and doors and turn on your ceiling fans to maximise airflow through each room.
Keep your roof and building perimeter clear of overhanging trees. As much as we love the shade, the build-up of leaf litter in gutters can retain a lot of moisture and mould spores which can then blow in through windows. Also a dense canopy around the house will block air flow and increase humidity, so better to ensure branches won't overhang the roof.
Similarly, if you have an understorey beneath your house, ensure that this gets as much ventilation as possible (keep ground vegetation clear) and ensure that water is not pooling underneath but is draining away from your house.
And for healthy, mould-free house design, we consider the following:
Having adequate ventilation in each room. Ideally two openings in each room that encourage air to flow through the space.
Using moisture resistant plasterboard for wall and ceiling lining in Bathrooms, Laundries and any other rooms that are prone to high moisture and damp.
The moisture loss from our bodies just by inhabiting a room, increases the moisture in the air, which then gets absorbed into our surroundings ie. furniture, curtains, plasterboard (a bit gross when you think about it!), but a wall system that allows moisture from inside to escape out, and stop moisture from outside getting in helps to reduce humidity and avoid mould. These wall systems are referred to as Ventilated Facades, they are much more common in Commercial Construction but there are new products available that are affordable for residential use and help the walls to breathe, while also insulating your home and making it more comfortable all year round.
We are hoping for a beautiful sunny winter ahead, but in the meantime stay mould-free and healthy! And don't hesitate to get in touch if you'd like more info on how to make your new home or renovation more healthy for your family and more sustainable for our planet.
Fiona and the team at Sanctuary Design Studio