Damp internal conditions within houses and apartments are a cause for concern, according to Archicentre Australia, and if left untreated can lead to health problems and structural issues.
The national architect’s advisory service says reasonable circulation of air should be maintained to prevent stale air, excessive humidity and build-up of condensation.
“This can occur in all homes but apartments are particularly at risk – particularly in rental situations where occupants may not open windows,” says Archicentre Australia director Peter Georgiev.
“Natural ventilation is more difficult to achieve in higher density living situations, especially when apartments are locked up for hours on end.
“That said, sufficient attention is not often given to ventilation in the design of apartments or higher density residential situations.”
Circulation of air prevents the accumulation of stale air, excessive humidity and condensation, all of which may affect health and cause materials to deteriorate.
Long periods of internal stagnant, moist conditions will encourage the growth of mould.
Moulds are living organisms and reproduce by releasing spores into the atmosphere, similar to mushrooms. The spores from certain types of mould can cause asthma, bronchitis and recurrent colds and influenza in some people.
Peter Georgiev says mould growth should always be considered potentially harmful and should be eradicated.
“Mould growth must be removed first before prevention methods are introduced otherwise the mould problem could get worse. You can eradicate mould by cleaning it with white vinegar or chloride-based cleaners.”
He says as well as ensuring natural ventilation, items such as stoves, clothes dryers and showers should be well vented to the outside of the dwelling.
Bathrooms, laundries and kitchen sinks are naturally wet areas, and current regulations require an impervious finish to all surfaces exposed to water, from shower bases and walls, bath surrounds and basin or sink splashbacks.
Ceramic tiles fulfill this function well, Peter Georgiev says, as long as certain features are maintained. “Ensure adequate waterproof seals around shower screens, fixtures and shower bases. Check for cracked or drummy tiles and loose or missing grout in showers, bath surrounds and splashbacks.
“Water penetrating behind tiles will encourage the development of timber rot to the wall framing or can lead to timber pest infestation.
“Water resistant structural flooring can deteriorate rapidly with serious loss of structural stability under prolonged exposure to water. Repair all leaks quickly to avoid further deterioration.”
He says 70% of mould problems are due to condensation coming from wet areas like bathrooms and laundries, while 30% comes from rising damp, which is more often than not attributable to problems with the damp proof course that is required to be fitted to all houses.
For more information go to www.archicentreaustralia.com.au
This media release has been written and distributed by:
Peter Georgiev, Director
Level 1, 9 Strathalbyn Street,
Kew East, VICTORIA, 3102
Phone: 1300 13 45 13 | 03 9859 9950