How to avoid mold after winter storm damage

Last Updated: 
January 13, 2011

CORVALLIS, Ore. – Checking for and repairing even minor winter storm damage on the outside of your house and outbuildings can prevent damaging molds and other decomposition.

The Oregon State University Extension Service recommends that you follow the checklist below, to help you assess, repair and prevent future damage.

Roof

  • Do you have any loose or missing shingles?
  • Check around the flashing at your fireplace and the seals around your skylights to ensure you don't have areas that water can get in.
  • Trim back any tree limbs that may be brushing against your roof or are at risk of falling through your roof should they break.
  • Inspect the upstairs attic or upstairs crawl space to verify you have no leaks or moisture damage that can stain ceilings.

 

Downspouts

  • Are gutters and downspouts correctly attached to your roofline? Can water be blown in?
  • Check that your downspouts are clear of leaves and debris and are free-flowing.
  • If your downspouts aren't plumbed into your storm sewer, be sure that they empty away from the foundation of your home.
  • If you have standing water around your foundation or your crawl space, consider getting a sump pump to move the water out of the area. In the spring you may want to consider improving the drainage around your house to prevent future water damage.

 

Siding, Windows and Doors

  • Inspect siding to ensure no areas have come loose.
  • Check your door and window seals and outside caulking to ensure no water leakage.
  • On the inside of your windows, wipe up any window condensation in the sliding track to avoid mold growth, particularly with metal windows.
  • Consider replacing metal windows and exterior door thresholds with vinyl to help prevent leakage of both air and water.

 

Basement and Crawlspace

  • Make sure there is no moisture seepage and that all walls and floors are dry, if you have a basement. Check the crawlspace under the house for standing water.
  • Consider purchasing a dehumidifier to remove moisture from the area. Maintain ideal indoor relative humidity between 40 and 60 percent.

 

As a general rule of thumb, leave your wet clothes, shoes and umbrellas outside to dry. Hanging wet raincoats back up in the closet creates an ideal situation for mold to grow.

Author: Carol Savonen