How to Control Moisture, Mold, and Humidity on the Job Site

How to Control Moisture, Mold, and Humidity on the Job Site

One thing you can always be sure of is that your job site is prone to weather changes. In fact, the weather can change from one moment to the next. Now your most important job is ensuring the safety of all of your materials and equipment. The last thing you need is your materials becoming food for mold.

Having a plan, and using the right equipment and materials can drastically lower the chances of your project becoming contaminated. Here’s how you can effectively control moisture, mold, and humidity on the job.

How Mold Grows

Mold needs three things to thrive:

  • Oxygen: Mold needs oxygen to grow. Which is why it doesn’t grow in airtight places
  • Temperature: For mold to reproduce, temperatures must be between 40°F to 120°F
  • Food: Mold only feeds on organic materials, but can live on any surface. This means that even concrete can be prone to mold and can even spread

Because mold spores are constantly present in the atmosphere, all they need is oxygen, the right temperature, and food to bloom and spread. This means that your lumber, drywall, and ceiling tiles are perfect bait.

On materials like drywall, untreated wood,  or ceiling tiles, mold growth can begin within 48-72 hours of first getting wet.

How to Prevent Mold and Control Moisture and Humidity

Preventing mold growth during construction is simply a matter of keeping materials dry. You can accomplish this by:

  1. Use the Right Equipment
  2. Having access to the right equipment and storing them properly can be a great start. Types of equipment that can help control moisture and humidity from becoming a problem include:

    • storage containers — Tightly sealed, humidity controlled storage containers can help minimize the risk of mold
    • dehumidifiers — If you are working in an enclosed location having a dehumidifier handy can help take out the humidity and moisture
    • equipment covers — Use these to cover your smaller equipment, like air compressors, generators, etc.
    • treated wood — wood that has been treated is more stable against the elements

  3. Dry in the building
  4. If your job site is a building, then you may want to “dry in” every opening you can. Drying-in is the process of sealing the building. This prevents water from entering the interior. You can accomplish this by:

    • installing a water-tight roof
    • sealing windows and other openings
    • wrapping or sealing off exterior siding

  5. Dry Out All Other Materials
  6. Be sure to give the materials plenty of time to dry before bringing them back indoors. Materials that may need to dry out include:

    • ceiling tiles
    • subflooring
    • drywall
    • other lumber
    • materials like tarps, covers, brushes, rollers, etc.

  7. Eliminate All Sources of Humidity
  8. Eliminating humidity before they’re exposed is important. Materials can be exposed to moisture during a renovation, removal of asbestos, or removing drywall. This is when installing dehumidifiers will help keep moisture, humidity, and mold at bay. If possible, use outdoor storage containers to keep the materials when it rains. Also, consider minimizing the use of water during the project.

  9. Keep Machinery In Good Shape
  10. Even if you’ve followed all the steps above, keeping your machinery in good shape is also important to controlling mold. Covering or storing your machinery before bringing them indoors will help keep the mold at bay. Remember mold can still live on any hard surface even if it isn’t organic materials. Dry off any visible wetness you see. Store them in a dry place so that they can dry before you use them again. Some things to consider are:

    • storage for your machinery — properly storing your machines and equipment will prevent them from getting wet
    • covering your equipment — covering will also prevent them from getting too wet, but may still provide humidity
    • dry off all equipment — this can be done by driving the machines, running them, or drying with a heavy duty towel

  11. Quick Tips
  12. You may not be able to control the weather, but you can control the environment you work in. Some quick tips you may consider before your next project.

    Check the Weather

    Check your weather app or local weather station. This will help you prepare before your project starts.

    Buy the Right Lumber

    Buying the right weather-treated wood for your project can help reduce the growth of mold.

    Get Extra Storage or Covers

    Adding covers or extra storage containers to your equipment rental can go a long way. It’s better to spend more now than lose a lot later.

Thinking ahead can save you time, money, and some major headaches down the road. Taking care of your materials and equipment from the ever-changing weather is essential to your project’s success.

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