Tips for protecting clothes, furniture, bathrooms and more
On the outside of your house, the two areas you're most likely to see mildew is on the siding and on the roof shingles, and here again it's the early warning sign of a moisture problem.
If the problem is localized to one or two patches of siding or roofing, then the moisture source is typically easy to track down. Some possibilities for localized mildew on siding include sprinkler heads that are misaligned, leaking or improperly adjusted; an underground leak in a water or sewer line; moisture accumulation from a dryer vent or exhaust fan vent; trees, shrubbery or other landscaping that's overgrown; and other similar "spot" sources.
Do a little detective work in the areas of the mildew, and the problem is often easy to find and correct.
On the roof, mildew often forms in areas where trees overhang the roof, or where leaves or pine needles accumulate. Clearing debris off the roof and trimming overhanging branches will often be enough to solve the problem.
You may also need to open up the areas around your house by removing or trimming closely packed trees which will allow sunlight and prevailing winds to reach mildewed areas and dry them out.
Widespread areas of mildew on walls and roof indicate a larger moisture problem, one that can usually be traced back to a lack of ventilation.
If you have a high level of humidity inside the house that is not being adequately dealt with, normal pressure and convection will move the moisture into wall cavities and attic spaces. Once it's there, a lack of ventilation will contribute to the moisture, forming mildew.
To combat this, first you need to deal with moisture inside the house through the use of ventilation fans in the kitchen, bathroom and laundry; mitigation of high-moisture sources such as indoor spas and hot tubs; reducing the number of house plants; or perhaps installing a dehumidifier.
In the attic, be sure you have an adequate number of roof vents to allow moisture to dissipate naturally to the outside.
Remodeling and repair questions? Email Paul at email@example.com. All product reviews are based on the author's actual testing of free review samples provided by the manufacturers.
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Daily market update: Oct. 9, 2015
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