Hawaii is known around the world for its mild temperatures and sunny skies. In addition to making it an ideal vacation destination, the climate of Hawaii makes the island an amazing place to live year round. The tropical climate of Hawaii means that the gorgeous skies are filled with water vapor or high humidity. As a result, this dampness can promote the growth of mildew on interior surfaces. Here are some things to consider when building for a wet environment.
Mold in New Construction
Mold can be a serious problem for builders anywhere, but particularly in a wet environment. Newly built homes are at risk for mold contamination at every step of the construction process. Mold can start growing when mold spores land on wet surfaces. These tiny spores are invisible to the naked eye are are naturally occurring in the air. Mold is able to grow due to moisture in the air. Moisture intrusion and the subsequent mold growth can cause serious health issues.
Effects of Mold on Health
Preventing mold in new construction is a serious concern because of the potential health problems that can be caused by mold contamination in a home. Molds can produce allergens, and in some cases, deadly mycotoxins. Allergic responses due to mold include sneezing, runny nose, red eyes, and skin rash. Mold can also cause serious asthma attacks.
Effects of Mold on Homes
Mold growth can have serious consequences for a home as well. Mold is an unsightly problem that can be costly and challenging to remove. Invasive mold growth can eat away at the materials and potentially affect the structural integrity of the building. When left to grow unchecked, mold even has the potential to significantly reduce property values.
Preventing Mold in New Construction
Mold needs to be prevented throughout the building process. Proper storage of lumber and drywall are necessary in order to protect them from the elements. During the construction phase, the entire home needs to be covered with plastic sheeting in order to protect the lumber and plywood from becoming completely saturated with moisture. By preventing mold from infiltrating the construction materials of the home, builders can reduce potential problems from occurring down the road.
The building process should also include methods of permanent mold protection. Breathable sealants can protect porous construction materials from moisture. The sealant will prevent any future mold growth. Heavy-duty waterproof sealants are also available for exterior surfaces.
Increased ventilation and air movement can help to inhibit the growth of mold and improve indoor air quality. Many homes are custom designed to take advantage of Hawaii’s famous trade winds with features like large open decks. Installation of whole-house fans is another great option that can help to circulate the air without the need for air conditioning. Humidity is also known to increase VOC emissions, which are chemicals known to be harmful to your health. The installation of low-VOC carpet and use of low-VOC paints can also improve indoor air quality.
The wet climate of Hawaii requires some special considerations when building a new home. Fortunately there are many options for pro-active builders who want to build a healthy and safe home environment.