Building for the Environment: Avoid Unwanted Water Damage—and Toxic Mold

| 10/5/2010 9:44:19 AM

Fred KochFred Koch, owner of KOCH Development, is both LEED- and Build it Green-certified and holds a bachelor's degree from Cal State University Dominguez Hills. 

When building healthy homes it’s imperative to maintain (amongst other things) pristine indoor air quality—which can often be accomplished by simply doing the basic things in the best way possible.

Sometimes when I dismantle homes I run across terrible problems that contribute to poor indoor air quality. The picture below is one of them. The blackened area on the 4x4 member is black mold mixed with water rot. This wood, which ran vertically against the supporting of a bathtub, was subjected to years of water damage stemming from a shoddy tile job that allowed water to leak against the wood. Can you imagine the toxicity associated with this? The owner of this house finally realized this problem after his children constantly complained of illness and allergies.

black mold on wood 
Shoddy craftsmanship in the bathroom can lead to water damage and eventually black mold. Protect your family from toxic substances by sealing your bathroom tile. Photo By Fred Koch. 

Considering that water damage accounts for more than 90 percent of all construction lawsuits, please be vigilant about protecting your household from unwanted water damage, which can easily make your family sick. The sustainable fix is simple. To prevent water damage from a situation like this, try one of two solutions. If you’re dealing with new construction (or even an extensive remodel), have the bathtub area hot mopped like you'd do with the shower pan. If you’re just redoing the tub area, use a waterproofing roof underlayment product and place it up and around the framing and bottom plywood area where the tub rests.

I can't tell you how many tubs I've pulled out with rotted wood. Use my practical experience to your advantage—avoid mold and toxicity issues!

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