Multifamily Florida - Spring 2013 - (Page 17)

FEATURE Mold Hey UP! DRY … Moisture, and the mold born from it, can cause havoc and make life miserable for facility managers. Here are some tips for getting and staying dry. by Scott McCurdy When it comes to structural integrity, mold is like a wet blanket. It is generally useless and always unwanted. “Over time, mold will break down whatever medium it grows on,” says Matt Brewer, director of field operations for Coastal Reconstruction Group. “Very quickly, it will begin to rot through wood, drywall, and any number of standard building materials. Once this starts, it eventually leads to catastrophic structural failure.” Not to mention that mold can adversely affect your health, Brewer adds. It can exacerbate many respiratory problems and other health issues such as allergies, asthma, sinus congestion, coughing and skin rashes, especially among the young and elderly. So how do you deal with this insidious building and lung invader? In order to fight it, you must first understand how and where it grows. Living organisms that thrive in damp places, molds stain or discolor surfaces and smell musty. There are hundreds of thousands of different types of mold, and they can grow almost anywhere: on walls, ceilings, carpets, or furniture. Humidity or wetness — caused by water leaks, spills from bathtubs or showers, or condensation — can cause molds to grow. PREVENTION By ensuring that a structure is as moisture-proof as possible, you can avoid many of the headaches associated with the damage caused by microbial growth. Follow these tips to prevent the infestation: • Regularly inspect building interiors and exteriors for leaks and wetness. • Fix serious water problems immediately. Wet basements, roof leaks, and leaking pipes or faucets represent perfect breeding grounds. • Always use ventilation fans in bathrooms and kitchens. • Keep humidity below 40 percent by using an air conditioner or dehumidifier. • Make sure water from sprinklers and hoses is not in direct contact with the foundation. • Pressure-wash building exteriors at least twice annually. • Avoid using carpeting in kitchens, bathrooms and basements. • Dry floor mats and other absorbent objects regularly. EXAMINATION The most diligent of facility managers cannot prevent the growth of all molds, but successfully recognizing that you might have a moisture problem can go a long way in eliminating these culprits before they cause serious damage. One of the telltale ways of detecting mold growth is by its smell, which is typically a musty, stagnant odor that is both strong and unpleasant. Another obvious sign is the appearance of black specks around plumbing fixtures, water-stained and swollen walls, and flooring. “It’s safe to say that if you have any type of leak in your MultifamilyFLORIDA l SPRING 2013 l 17

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Multifamily Florida - Spring 2013

Legislative Update: And So It Begins
Renovations and Maintenance: Managing the Many Moving Parts
Hey Mold ... Dry Up!
Five Crucial Conversations for Flawless Execution
Open for Business!
President's Message
Plan Ahead ... Weather, or Not
APAC Update
To Tow ... or Not to Tow?
Apartment Trends
Index to Advertisers/

Multifamily Florida - Spring 2013