Mould in difficult places

Sorting out mould and damp is a bit of a nightmare in older homes. I have dealt with the causes of damp and hence mould in other posts on this blog, but in many situations it is difficult corners and walls that need attention, but the costs of actually solving the issue with beyond current budgets.

The first thing to know is where the damp and mould are coming from. Having a longer term plan of how to deal with the issue with important so that you don’t double up on work. If the render on the outside of the house is making the wall damp and cold for example the best solution is to deal with this externally. So doing a lot of internal work may not be necessary. So are there some ‘holding measures’ that you can do that are simple and relatively cheap that are also eco-friendly?

One ‘solution’ is to use a mould treatment. Auro do a step by step system that kills the mould, then a spray of paint that stops the mould from returning. It does this using hydrogen peroxide and then a lime based paint. The additional alkalinity of the paint inhibits the mould from returning.

Another possibility is to keep the wall surface a little bit warmer. An insulating paint will do this and may well be able to keep the surface warm enough to stop the mould from finding it attractive. You will though have to kill the mould first as otherwise the vast amount of latent spores will give the mould a fighting chance. Thermakote have an additive that can be added to any paint to achieve this.

Ventilation might also a root cause. Just by creating an airspace around the mouldy area might be enough to reduce its attractiveness, but again you will need to kill the mould first. Moving sofas etc away from walls can facilitate this air flow. People also fear losing heat and higher bills by having extractors on. However by not having them on in key rooms like kitchens and bathrooms can really give mould the conditions it needs to grow. Think about it like this. When having a bath or shower, or when you are cooking, you are introducing a lot of heat into the room, so by having an extractor on you are effectively just removing this excessive heat as well as the excessive moisture. Trying to keep hold of the heat as well as getting clean or a meal is just being a little too greedy!

Not introducing any more moisture into the house is also key. So drying clothes on radiators is another major cause of mould at this time of the year. A difficult one I know as it has been known to rain in Wales during the Autumn and Winter, but it is worth planning washing around the weather if you can.

If you are feeling a little more DIY-ey then there is not a great deal of cost involved in solving some of the fundamental problems associated with damp. Removing render up to a metre outside can just be the case of using / hiring / borrowing a disk cutter (to make a nice straight horizontal line in the render), a hammer and bolster (to knock off the cement render) and then some limewash (really cheap breathable external paint) to cover up the exposed brick and stone. This will allow excess moisture to escape the walls to the outside and hence dry up the internal walls. Mould does not like dry walls!!

If you need a little bit of proper insulation but don’t have the space to put in stud work etc (keep away from dry lining please!) then think about the InsOwall insulating plaster. It can go over existing plaster and so you can add 10, 20, 30 or even 40mm of insulation that will better the thermal performance of the wall by a minimum of 35%. Again having a properly insulated wall will stop the mould from returning.

For individual mould and damp advice please give the centre a call, or book for an Eco Home Report.