Getting rid of mold and mildew

Eliminating and preventing mold and mildew in a property is a constant challenge. The presence of moisture in the bathrooms, kitchen, roof spaces and basement makes these areas of the house the ideal breeding ground for fungal growth.

Untreated, mildew can destroy walls, furniture and fabric, and cause allergies and various ailments for the occupants of a property. Here are some important tips on how to eliminate and prevent mold and mildew:

• Do routine inspections, particularly during the rainy winter months, checking for leaks, moisture build-up or signs of mold and mildew, especially in corners and crevices, as well as folds in drapes and curtains.

• Establish the cause of the leak or moisture build-up. Typically, leaks will derive from the outside of the property, and moisture build-up will develop due to insufficient insulation or ventilation.

• Repair cracks to external render with a good quality filler, repair leaky roofs, windows, and other sources of water ingress.

• A common problem here in Portugal, particularly with older properties, is the absence of insulation in external walls. Fortunately there are some good, cost-effective solutions these days that will not only eliminate the mold and mildew, but they will also dramatically reduce your energy bill too.

• Requiring absolutely no disruption to the interior of the property, insulation is applied to cover all external walls, followed by exterior quality render, one coat of primer and two coats of good quality exterior paint. Or for a little extra, self-coloured exterior render can be applied, thus saving money in the long term by not having to repaint every 4-5 years.

• If poor ventilation contributes to the problem, consider using air conditioners, dehumidifiers and exhaust fans.

• Once the cause has been identified and remedied, it’s merely a case of cleaning the interior. Scrub the affected area with a stiff brush to remove as much of the mold/mildew as possible.

• Mop, sponge or spray the affected surface with a chlorine bleach solution, then rinse with fresh water and allow to thoroughly dry before repainting, using mold-resistant paint.

• Remember, the best way to prevent mold and mildew is to always keep the property clean, water tight, well insulated and ventilated.

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Brett Hawkins is the Managing Director of GMT 24:7, a local expert in all areas of general building and property maintenance. Lagos – 282 098 600 Almancil – 289 392 745 | www.gmt247.eu