Moisture-resistant building products are the first line of defense against rotting and mold, problems that can devalue our homes and cause serious health issues.
As we have sealed up our homes to make them more energy-efficient, keeping heated and cooled air inside where it belongs, we’ve often forgotten about moisture regulation.
Too much moisture in a building can affect long-term indoor air quality. According to the EPA, mold that grows on wet surfaces indoors can cause health problems including allergic reactions in sensitive individuals. Mold can grow undetected for years inside walls where moisture-resistant building products have not been used.
Preventing moisture buildup inside the home with products like paperless drywall, moisture-resistant gypsum board and basement waterproofing systems can increase the lifespan of a home and make it a healthier, more environmentally friendly place to live.
When building or renovating, products that are specifically designed to resist moisture and mold should be incorporated whenever possible. For framing and sheathing, lumber and plywood that has been treated with water-resistant coating is made for long-term durability and can withstand the elements during the building process until the roof is complete.
Moisture-resistant gypsum board such as ProRoc, which has no reportable volatile organic compounds (VOCs), is ideal for walls in bathrooms and other spaces where a high moisture level is expected. Made with 100 percent recycled moisture-resistant paper, this type of gypsum board does not absorb moisture as readily as standard gypsum board and is available with additional built-in mold protection.
Paperless drywall is also an option, with brands like DensArmor Plus offering increased mold resistance compared to standard paper-faced alternatives. Paperless drywall features fiberglass mats on both the front and the back of the drywall panel. Other than a slightly different texture, paperless drywall is said to look and feel very similar to traditional drywall.
Basement waterproofing systems are extremely important, since basements tend to be one of the wettest areas of a home. Water seeping in through basement walls can damage the foundation and cause wood to swell. While water-resistant paints and silicone sealants are helpful, the best way to protect your basement from moisture is to combine a barrier installed on the exterior of the basement wall with a spray-on waterproof membrane applied to the interior walls.
And finally, even the best energy-efficient windows can eventually let water get inside the home if they aren’t installed correctly with water-resistance in mind. The rough opening of a window should be prepared with housewrap and pan flashing, and a sill pan should be used.