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How to Prevent Mold in Garage

How to Prevent Mold in Garage

There is nothing worse than having mold in your garage. It smells bad, damages your belongings, weakens your home’s foundation, and most importantly, It compromises your family’s health.

But trust me when I tell you that although mold is very annoying to deal with, it’s actually extremely easy to prevent its growth.

And in this article, we will provide with 8 best tips from real experts that will help you prevent mold growth in your garage forever.

So without further ado, let’s jump right into it.

What Causes Mold Growth In My Garage?

To prevent mold from taking over your garage and destroying all your belongings, first, you need to understand what causes mold growth, so you can tackle the problem at its root.

Technically for mold to grow it only needs a damp place and organic material to feed on. However, for mold to thrive, it needs 4 basic things:

1. Water

Where there is water, there is mold.

Without a doubt, the number one reason why your garage has mold is that it contains water and by water, I don’t just mean large pooling water in your garage.

In fact, mold can start growing using frozen ice from your car’s tires, small water splashes on your walls from washing your car, or even the moisture in the very air we breathe.

2. Food

Mold is a living organism, which means that it needs food to grow and reproduce.

And your garage, especially if you are using it as a storage unit is a paradise for mold growth.

Mold is a very picky eater, it only feeds on organic, carbon-based materials such as wood, paper products, clothes, porous building materials, and even can feed on nutrients in the dust!

3. Time

Although mold can start to grow within 48 hours from the spores (mold seeds) landing on a damp place, it does need some time to build a mold colony big enough to do serious damage to your garage’s infrastructure.

This means that time is crucial, and the longer you wait to remove the mold, the more damage it will do, and the more costly the repairs will be.

4. Darkness

The last thing mold needs to thrive is darkness or to be more precise, the absence of light.

Recent studies showed that exposing mold to UltraViolet (UV) light for a couple of hours can kill up to 99.99% of the mold.

Therefore, mold can only thrive in dark, damp places that get little to no sunlight during the day such as deep in your garage and your basement.

Another reason why mold likes darkness is that it reduces its visibility. Think of this, if mold grows in plain sight, then whenever you see this small moldy patch, you will simply scratch it and wipe it clean.

However, if you didn’t see this moldy patch, then you will give it enough time to grow and reproduce and before you know it, you will find yourself against a huge mold colony that grew deep in your walls and did serious damage to your garage and belongings.

And those are the 4 crucial things mold needs to thrive. Why is it important to know this information?

Well, because now we know what mold needs, all we need to do is to eliminate these factors from our garage and we will never suffer from mold again.

And to make your life much easier, we put together a list of the best tips that will keep mold at bay forever.

8 Expert Tips For Mold-Free Garage:

To prevent mold in your garage, you will need to:

  • Fix wall cracks
  • Fix broken seals
  • Insulate pipes
  • Optimize garage drainage
  • Improve air circulation
  • Use plastic containers for storage
  • Extend gutters
  • Remove plants from around garage

To go into more detail:

1. Fix Walls Cracks

Because your garage is exposed to the elements, most of the time you will find plenty of small cracks on your garage walls, floor, and ceiling.

Although these small cracks might look harmless, they, in fact, play a vital role in mold growth, as they let in the cold, humid air into your garage.

And because the garage is relatively warmer than the outside, this air will condense on your garage’s walls, resulting in an increased humidity level and more water for mold to grow.

Additionally, mold can use these cracks to grow deeper in your walls, which allows mildew to grow unnoticed and eat away your infrastructure.

Here is how to fix walls cracks:

  • Open up the cracks on both sides till you reach the sound drywall
  • Clean the crack using a damp piece of clothing
  • Use fiberglass mesh tape to reinforce the crack and prevent further damage
  • Fill the crack with a thin coat of drywall joint
  • Wait for the first coat to dry out, then scrape off any bumps
  • Apply the second coat, wait for it to dry, scrape off any pumps, then apply the third coat
  • Use sanding paper to sand the wall of the last time
  • Apply the wall paint
  • Repeat for all the cracks in your garage

Another amazing tip to prevent mold growth in the garage is to waterproof your walls by installing Aluminum or Vinyl wall sidings.

Both Aluminum and Vinyl (plastic) are nonporous materials, which means that they don’t allow water or air to pass through them, adding an extra layer of protection and making sure your walls will be safe from the brutal mold attacks.

Additionally, if you are remodeling or building a new garage, then you should definitely consider using mold-resistant building materials such as fiberglass or metal studs.

They are a little more expensive, but they are worth every penny, especially if you live in an area with a high humidity level.

2. Fix Your Broken Seals

In addition to walls and floor cracks, broken seals can be the reason for your garage’s high humidity level.

Needless to say, if your sealing is broken, then your garage door or windows will let humid air in, which will increase the risk of mold growth.

But how to know if your window sealing is broken?

Well, there is a very cool trick called the ice cube trick, which will help you determine whether your window dealing is broken or not.

Simply, get a piece of ice and rub it on your window glass.

Because ice is way colder than the air, rubbing it will create a temperature difference between the inside and outside of your window.

And if your weather sealing is broken or simply not good, then it won’t be able to withstand this pressure and will let air slip through it, resulting in a fog on the other side of the glass that you can’t rub off.

Don’t worry, fixing and replacing broken window sealing is really easy even if you aren’t very handy.

  • Here is how to fix your garage’s window weather seal by yourself:
  • Use a putty knife to remove the old caulk around your window
  • Get rid of any caulk or dirt residue using a damp piece of cloth
  • Cut your caulk gun tip at a 45-degree angle, as this angle will help you to spread the caulk better
  • Squeeze the caulk gun while dragging it backward in one long motion, so you don’t leave any empty spaces. Also, make sure the caulk is about 0.2” in depth
  • Smooth the caulk by wetting the tip of your finger and dragging it along the seam
  • Use the damp cloth to wipe all the excess caulk
  • Repeat for all window edges

For changing the garage’s door sealing, here is what you need to do:

  • Remove the screws on the garage door ends
  • Remove the old weather strap
  • Clean the track from debris and dirt
  • Use a little bit of lubrication to help the new strap slide through the door track
  • Make sure that the ridged side of the new sealing strap is on the bottom, then slide it on through

3. Insulate Your Pipes

Another common source for your garage’s excess humidity is exposed pipes.

The problem with these pipes is that they carry cold water, so when the warm, moist water touches them, it will condense on the sides of the pipes, resulting in more water for mold to grow.

For this reason, it’s very important to properly insulate your pipes.

Here is how to insulate your garage’s pipes:

  • Measure your pipes to determine the appropriate pipe wrap size
  • Wipe your pipes clean with a damp piece of cloth
  • Wait for the pipes to dry out
  • Install your tubular pipe sticks

It’s important to mention that there is a difference between pipe sweating (warm air condensing on the sides of the pipe) and pipe leakage. If your pipe is actively leaking then a pipe wrap won’t fix it and you need to get a professional plumber as quickly as possible to protect your garage from flooding.

4. Fix Your Garage Drainage

Having a good garage drainer is crucial to prevent both flood damage and mold growth.

For this reason, if your garage drainage system isn’t working properly, you must call a professional plumber and get it fixed.

Another thing to keep in mind is your garage’s floor slope, as a good floor slope will help to deviate the water and prevent water pooling.

Speaking of pooling water, even if you have the best floor slope, sometimes, there will still be some standing water in your garage.

And in this case, you need to use a mop and dry this area to prevent mildew growth.

It may sound like a lot of work, but it’s nothing compared to the process of cleansing your garage from mold. It’s also much cheaper, so please don’t ignore this small tip.

5. Improve Your Garage Air Circulation

If your garage is poorly ventilated, the humidity level will accumulate, resulting in much higher moisture in the air.

Luckily, a good garage air circulation is extremely easy to achieve by installing any type of ventilation such as air vents, windows, air movers, etc.

It’s also recommended to keep your garage door open for an hour or two during the day, as this won’t only refresh the air in the garage, but also allow sunlight to enter your garage and kill any growing mold (UV light kills mold remember?)

Another thing you could do to decrease your garage’s humidity level is to use a dehumidifier.

Technically, if your garage humidity level is over 55%, mold can use the air moisture to grow.

Thus, to get rid of garage mold, it’s recommended to keep your garage level between 30% and 50% for best results.

Additionally, dehumidifiers are also great for keeping pests and bugs away, as it creates a dryer environment that makes it much harder for pests to live.

6. Use Plastic Containers

Plastic is a nightmare for mold.

As we previously mentioned, mold feeds on Carbon-based materials such as wood and cardboard. And because plastic isn’t made of Carbon, mold can’t use it to grow.

Don’t get me wrong, this doesn’t mean mold can’t grow on plastic. However, it’s just much harder for mold to break down plastic particles, which makes it less likely to thrive or cause any serious damage.

While using plastic containers instead of normal cardboard boxes to store your items might not seem like an environment-friendly solution at the first sight, studies showed that it actually has a lower carbon footprint.

This is because plastic is way more durable than cardboard and can protect your belongings from the very likely event of mold or water damage for many years to come, so none of these items will go to waste and you won’t need to buy new stuff. Thus, less carbon footprint.

7. Extend Your Gutters

If your gutters drain too close to your garage they will wet the soil, causing it to saturate.
And once the soil is saturated, it won’t be able to hold its moisture, resulting in water leakage in both your garage and basement.

Therefore, to prevent mildew growth, it’s important to extend your rain drains to at least 10ft away from your garage’s foundation.

Also, make sure to clean it periodically to prevent clogs and leaks.

8. Remove All The Plants Around Your Garage

Believe it or not but these beautiful green shrubs can help mold growth.

This is due to the fact that plants increase humidity in the air through a process called evapotranspiration in which plants absorb water from the soil then evaporate it into the air through the pores on the leaves.

Further, when plants absorb moisture from the soil, they cause it to shrink, and with enough time, this will put a lot of stress on your walls causing them to crack.

Therefore, it’s very important to keep plants, especially the fast-growing ones at a safe distance from your foundation.

What is considered a safe distance?

Well, as a general rule, you should keep them at least half the distance of their mature spread.

In English, this means if a shrub will grow to be 10ft wide, then you need to keep them at least 5ft away from your home’s foundation.

If you’re still struggling to get rid of mold, give a restoration expert a call. We’d be happy to have some mold pros expect your home and remediate mold for good!