Dealing with mold

Updated: Saturday, August 13, 2016 @ 1:35 AM
Published: Wednesday, May 18, 2016 @ 10:37 PM
By: www.prod.cmgdefault.com

A hurricane’s lingering calling card

Its spores begin to bloom 24 to 48 hours after contact with water, warmth and darkness — three of the only items in abundance after a storm has turned South Florida into a giant powerless petri dish.

Mold ruins walls, ceilings, carpets and clothing. It makes our houses smell and can cause health problems in susceptible people. If your roof leaks during a hurricane, expect mold to move in shortly afterward, say experts.

CHECKING FOR MOLD

The sniff test: If you detect a fusty, mildewy odor, you likely have mold. But some mold passes the sniff test.

The next step is to inspect your house with a flashlight. You’re looking for any blotchy growth that starts out white and turns black. Black mold can be an indication that spores have been festering for a while. If you have allergies or a compromised immune system, wear a protective mask with a NIOSH N95 rating, available at hardware stores.

Check your attic first, especially if you’ve had a roof leak.

Check the sides of furniture, the undersides of area rugs, and walls and ceilings.

GETTING RID OF MOLD

Caught early, mold outbreaks can be stopped. Walls, ceilings and floors should be washed with a diluted bleach solution or trisodium phosphate as soon as possible then primed and repainted. Use rubber gloves.

Mold on wooden furniture can be removed with isopropyl alcohol (test the finish first). Furniture polish will also destroy mold microbes.

On leather furniture, wipe with diluted alcohol (1 C. denatured alcohol with 1 C. water.) If stain remains, use saddle soap or mild detergent. Dry in sun, if possible.

Mold that has been growing for weeks requires more extreme measures. Mold-infested drywall must be cut out and discarded. Fiberboard furniture or cabinets infested with mold should also be thrown away.

Be sure to check attics. Soaked insulation may need to be thrown out.

Clean your air conditioner or have a professional do it, since the units frequently harbor mold microbes.

There is no license for mold clean-up firms, so ask for someone with certification from an agency such as the Association of Specialists in Cleaning and Restoration, the National Association of Mold Professionals or the International Air Quality Control Commission.

A DEMON TO DRYWALL

Mold’s favorite food appears to be wallboard, also called drywall. Its paper or cellulose backing contains a smorgasbord of organic treats that mold spores crave. A nasty black mold called Stachybotrys chartarum is particularly fond of drywall. The most insidious aspect of mold-infected drywall is that spores usually begin to grow on the back, where they can reproduce in the warm dark.

The mold isn’t visible until the colonies accumulate in such numbers that they grow through the wallboard. New chemical sealants can make homes more resistant to mold.

— Barbara Marshall

Storm prep checklist for outside the home

Updated: Saturday, August 13, 2016 @ 1:53 AM
Published: Tuesday, May 10, 2016 @ 2:53 PM
By: www.prod.cmgdefault.com


            Storm prep checklist for outside the home
Get Ahead of the Storm - 5 Severe Weather Hacks

WHEN THE STORM THREATENS:

Refill special medications.

Get cash (ATMs may not work for days after). Don’t charge credit cards to the limit; you might need extra cash after the storm.

Get supplies. Follow instructions in this guide for food and water.

Don’t fill gasoline cans until right before the storm; they are a fire hazard.

Fill vehicle fuel tank. Gas stations could run out and some will not have power to run pumps. Check your car’s battery, water, oil. Make sure you have a spare tire and buy aerosol kits that fix and inflate flats.

Check fire extinguishers.

If you own a boat, make necessary preparations.

Prepare your pool. Don’t drain it.

If you own a plane, have it flown out or secured.

WHEN THE STORM IS APPROACHING:

Get shutters, storm panels or plywood in place on windows. If you haven’t installed sockets, attach with wood screws; they’re better than nails and do less damage.

Don’t tape windows; tape can create daggers of glass and in the heat can later bake onto panes.

Remove swings and tarps from swing sets. Tie down anything you can’t bring in. Check for loose rain gutters, moldings.

Move grills, patio furniture and potted plants into your house or garage.

If you do any last-minute pruning, take clippings inside so they don’t become hazards in the wind.

Disconnect and remove satellite dish or antenna from your roof.

Check your mailbox. If it’s loose, secure or remove it.

Remove roof turbines and cap holes with screw-on caps. Unsecured turbines can fly off and create a large hole for rain to pour through.

Prepare patio screening. It usually is built to sustain tropical-force winds, but with higher winds, it can separate from the frame. Officials recommend you remove a 6-foot panel on each side to let wind pass through. Pull out the tubing that holds screening in frame to remove screen.

Secure and brace external doors, especially the garage door and double doors.

Move vehicles out of flood-prone areas and into garages if possible. If not, park cars away from trees and close to homes or buildings.

Don’t turn off your natural gas at the main meter. Only emergency or utility people should do that.

Shutters and window coverings

Updated: Saturday, August 13, 2016 @ 1:53 AM
Published: Tuesday, May 10, 2016 @ 4:12 PM
By: www.prod.cmgdefault.com

Shutters and window coverings

Shutters require regular maintenance

Do a trial run now to make sure your shutter system is functioning properly.

If you have removable panels, get them out to see if any are missing or bent.

Make sure you have enough mounting fasteners. If not, hardware stores often carry extras. Make sure mounting tracks are clean and debris-free.

Apply some light machine oil to lubricate parts and deter rust.

Permanently applied shutter systems, such as roll-up, Bahama or accordion shutters should be serviced yearly (twice yearly, if you live on the beach) by a professional, especially if the system is motorized. If rollers are accessible, they can be sprayed with aerosol “white grease,” according to Bill Feeley, president of the International
Hurricane Protection Association. All motors should be professionally serviced.

Owners of newly built homes with shutter systems should make sure their builder demonstrates how to use the system and that all parts are provided before moving in. Missing or wrong-sized components are common, according to Feeley. “The homeowner assumes they fit and then when the storm is bearing down, they find out they don’t,” he said.

— Barbara Marshall

Contact numbers

International Hurricane Protection Association: (844)516-4472, www.inthpa.com

American Shutter Systems Association: 800-432-2204, www.amshutter.org

 

Least expensive option: Plywood

Shutter orders and backlogs rise near the height of storm season. So the time to choose your coverings, if you haven’t already, is now. The least expensive option is plywood.

Plywood does not meet Florida Building Code specifications unless it’s installed according to code.

To ensure code compliance, you’ll need a permit from your local building department.

However, if a storm is close and survival is the goal, follow instructions in the accompanying graphic for correct installation.

What’s the best roof?

Updated: Saturday, August 13, 2016 @ 1:53 AM
Published: Tuesday, May 10, 2016 @ 4:28 PM
By: www.prod.cmgdefault.com

Age and improper installation caused most roof failures in the 2004 and 2005 hurricanes.

Which kinds survived?
  • Metal roofs had the fewest problems, followed by tiles applied with concrete or foam adhesive.
  • Nailed-on tiles didn’t fare as well.
  • Shingle roofs came off in the thousands.

    When was your roof installed? Roofs installed after the mid-1990s, when building codes began to change statewide after Hurricane Andrew, survived better than those installed earlier.

    Shingle roofs

    How old is your shingle roof? Shingles become brittle and lose adhesion in the Florida sun after about 12 years even if they were properly installed. Has your shingle roof been re-roofed on top of old shingles? If so, beware. Large segments of those newer layers flew off in the high winds.

    Tile roofs

    How was your roof tile applied? Tiles applied with only concrete or foam adhesive fared better than nailed-on or screwed-on tiles, which can begin leaking after seven to 10 years. As with shingles, age affects performance.

    Flat roofs

    How many layers or ‘plys’ make up your flat roof? A three- or four-ply interlining (under the roof coating) is generally better than two. Expect a multi-layered flat roof to last 15 to 18 years.

    Metal roofs

    Is your metal roof properly attached? Metal roofs are the most expensive but also proved to be the most hurricane-resistant.

    If the roofers used the correct attachment method, either screws or clips, the wind will have a difficult time getting underneath metal roof panels.

    Sealants

    Do roof sealants and coatings help protect roofs from high winds? “I don’t recommend them,” says Joe Byrne, a roofing industry consultant and owner of Byrne Roofing in West Palm Beach, who says sealants can make shingles more brittle, affecting adhesion.

    Where to verify a roofer’s valid license:
  • State licenses: www.myflorida.com
  • Palm Beach County: (561) 233-5525, www.pbcgov.com/pzb
  • Martin County: (772) 288-5482
  • St. Lucie County: (772) 462-1672 or (772) 462-1673
  • Okeechobee: (863) 763-5548
  • Price-gouging hot line: (866) 966-7226
  • Report unlicensed contractors at (866) 532-1440
    — Barbara Marshall
  • Interactive: Home inspection tips

    Updated: Saturday, August 13, 2016 @ 1:53 AM
    Published: Sunday, May 10, 2015 @ 4:39 PM
    By: www.prod.cmgdefault.com