Tighter houses offer less ventilation, which leads to mold.

People ask me why crawlspaces seem so mold-prone these days, as opposed to the homes we lived in 35 years ago.  There are a lot of little reasons why this is the case, but the simple answer is the tightness of our current construction.  Windows are one reason.

I’ve attached two pictures that depict typical window sealing in modern construction, as evidence of this fact.

You will notice the vapor-taped windows and home-wrap seams, caulk sealants, and double-pane (energy efficiency) windows, as one example.

These are all great things for energy savings.  But these technologies also serve to inhibit effective ventilation of the warm, moist air that rises from the crawlspace.  This creates an environment where the space below the home cannot shed the moisture from below.  It becomes trapped, soaking into the organic substrate beneath the home, which leads to elevating wood moisture content and, eventually, mold.

Doesn’t seem like much, but it really is the little things.

 

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Intellivent is now an Enviroguard Certified Contractor.

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Intellivent is proud to announce that we have received the Enviroguard Certified Contractor’s designation.  This unique partnership affords us new training, as well as access to products and resources to better serve our customers experiencing problems with mold, moisture intrusion issues, structural repair challenges, crawlspace and basement waterproofing, whole-house odor mitigation chemicals, and preventative coatings and sealants for structures.

We look forward to the doors that this certification will open for us!

New home construction and mold?

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This is something we have seen more and more in recent years in the Charlotte area- mold formation in the crawlspaces of brand new homes. We are literally seeing it before the rough plumbing and electrical are completed in some cases. But why?

The main contributor in today’s residential construction relates to our current building techniques. Our homes are built air tight (or close to it). Tongue and groove subfloors, home wraps, foam sealants, dual-pane windows, insulated doors and vapor-taped exterior seals on openings are creating environments that do not allow free-moisture exchange via, what is known as, the “stack effect”.  If the vapor cannot ventilate vertically through the home, it becomes trapped in lower areas like the crawlspace or basement; raising wood moisture and humidity levels.  This can rapidly lead to fungal growth on the organic substrate.

While this “tightening” of the construction of our homes serves to benefit us in energy savings and comfort down the road, these methods do us few favors in terms of providing for fresh air exchange with the outside in the short-term, which can be vital in drying out a crawlspace to prevent mold spore proliferation in the first place.

If you’ve had the unpleasant privilege of dealing with a mold remediation bill on a brand-new home, you will know what a frustrating and profit-consuming thing this can be. We have prevention services that can eliminate mold growth as a possibility, while providing a fully-transferrable warranty against mold growth in the property so that your buyers are getting piece-of-mind with their purchase.

And all of this can cost far less than you might think (certainly less than a mold remediation bill.)

We have seen many construction projects where this has occurred.  But, be assured, there are preventative measures that can be taken. We are in the business of providing these solutions to our customers, which include builders, renovators, investors, and real estate professionals alike.  We have a range of vapor retarding solutions, ventilation systems, dehumidification appliances and even sealants or coatings that can provide a complete mold-proofing barrier over the wood material, insuring that fungal proliferation will not occur.

Reach out to us at Intellivent to learn more about mold removal in Charlotte.  We are happy to help you make sure the first thing living in the new home you’re building is the person buying it and not mold.

 

Crawlspace humidity: Not just a summer problem.

 

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Here in Charlotte, there exists a notion that elevated moisture and humidity problems aren’t prevalent in the winter.  This is a myth.

Even well-maintained homes can have mold moisture issues in the crawlspace area. In the winter wet season, humidity in air still exists and cool air particles hold less moisture content before condensation occurs.  This means that a crawlspace can still have significant moisture problems regardless of the season.

Also, heavy precipitation that flows back into a crawlspace due to grading can add moisture to a crawlspace environment that does not have the ability to evaporate or shed it.  This may lead to standing moisture which can communicate, via evaporation, to the wood structure above, raising moisture content of structural members over time. This will eventually lead to mold, rot, termites, etc..

It is important to know the condition of your home’s crawlspace year-round by either visual inspection or a site visit from a professional.  Regardless, one should not assume that they are safe from the effects of crawlspace mold, moisture, and damage because it’s not hot and humid outside.

The winter season definitely has it’s own set of crawlspace mold and moisture challenges, Charlotte.  It pays to stay on top of what’s down below.