How to deal with mold and mildew in the bathroom

We may have moved a little too quickly on this last point. The mistakes we made in our quick renovation haunted us just a few years later when moisture buildup from poorly made decisions caused paint to bubble, rust lights, and mold to grow on windows and medicine cabinets.

A few weeks ago, we fixed the moisture problem with a DIY renovation that returned our bathroom to its former glory – and relative dryness. The good news is that there are workarounds for homeowners installing bathrooms, remodeling bathrooms, or dealing with moisture in their current bathrooms.

Prioritize prevention

The best way to tackle bathroom moisture issues is to prevent them from occurring in the first place. Most problems (e.g. mold, mildew, and wet walls) are caused by condensation, said Kate Reggev, a New York-based architect. To reduce humidity, homeowners should consider three things before building or renovating: “Try to reduce the amount of cold surfaces in a bathroom, plan for adequate ventilation, and choose the right construction products for a wet room.”

According to Reggev, homeowners can install or upgrade to double-glazed, properly fitted windows to cope with cold surfaces. Opening a window after a shower to allow the humidity to escape from the room is also an option. If the bathroom has exterior walls or is in contact with an uninsulated attic, Reggev said by insulating the walls or installing underfloor heating, “make sure you keep the surfaces of the bathroom warm.”

If you’re building or renovating a bathroom, you can also install mold- or moisture-resistant wall panels, Reggev said. “These types of wall boards are specially treated with a special paperless backing and coating to prevent mold and / or moisture,” she said. Showers, she added, should be surrounded by cement backing panels.

Using large porcelain tiles and stain-resistant grouts – like epoxy grout – can also prevent water from seeping into walls behind tiles, said James Upton, a Washington-based bathroom renovator and blogger at “Porcelain tiles are impermeable,” he said, and epoxy and one-part grout “are not as porous as cement mortar.”

Update the details of the bathroom

If you already have problems with the water, there are steps you can take to lessen the damage. A powerful ceiling fan or one that also provides heat can help remove moisture, said Kymberly Glazer, marketing and sales director for the Decorative Plumbing and Hardware Association. “This is really going to be your greatest line of defense against moisture,” said Glazer. Upton also suggests buying a fan with a humidity sensor or timer that will turn itself off and save energy.

Glazer recommends consulting a professional or visiting a hardware showroom before installing a fan. “They will make sure you are the right size,” she said for your room. Leave the installation of the fan to the professionals for the best results.

The right kind of paint can also help combat moisture issues, Reggev said. Some paint manufacturers, including Benjamin Moore, make paints with antimicrobial additives that resist mold growth. “You should also make sure you use a moisture-resistant primer to prevent moisture from seeping between the paint and the surface it is being applied to,” Reggev said. Otherwise, the paint will tend to peel off.

Consider new products

There are other elements you can add to an existing bathroom for extra moisture protection. Towel warmers, according to Glazer, are easy to install and can help heat small rooms while drying excess moisture. Electric towel warmers can be hard-wired or plugged in, and there are even free-standing versions. Medicine cabinet defoggers, she said, are another option that uses the same principle of heat to reduce moisture.

Another high quality solution that can be added or even retrofitted in a room during a construction or renovation is the AirJet shower drying system. It is installed throughout the shower room, with compressed air coming out of the nozzles in the ceiling and, in new installations, out of the walls. The system costs approximately $ 1,300 plus installation.

And companies like Kerdi and Wedi make moisture-resistant showers that prevent water from seeping behind the carrier board, according to Upton. The Wedi system offers a waterproof and prolapsed shower that is supplied as a kit made of mold and mold resistant materials. The Schluter shower system from Kerdi is a product collection that goes together for glued and waterproof tiled showers. (Items include drains, waterproof pipe seals, and shower benches.)

Maintain it

Getting rid of moisture from the bathroom can also be a matter of care, Reggev said. “A low-tech solution can be as simple as wiping the damp surfaces after you shower,” which, she said, can prevent mold and mildew from taking root in the first place. Major maintenance, like repairing cracked mortar, loose sealant, and missing sealant on the edge of a tub, is just as important, Reggev said.

Another easy way to let wet air out is to leave the shower door open. “Combine this with using a squeegee after every shower,” he added. “This helps in reducing the humidity and keeps your shower clean.”

Basic maintenance can be one of the most important elements of bathroom preservation. “What looks like little crevices that aren’t a big deal,” Reggev said, “can ultimately have a huge impact on humidity control.” Water is amazingly agile. “

Tackle it

If you have mold and mildew in your bathroom like my husband and I did, all is not lost. When your bathroom is completely dry, wipe the walls and surfaces with a solution of bleach or distilled white vinegar mixed with water to kill any existing growth. For tiles and grout, use a brush and cleaner that will protect against mold and mildew, such as a carpet cleaner. B. Soft scrub with bleach, Black Diamond Stoneworks grout cleaner or Home Armor Mold & Mildew Stain Remover. If you do decide to repaint, make sure your newly cleaned walls and surfaces are mold free and bone dry before you begin.

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