Mold, or fungal growth, is a prevalent and contentious issue in Forensic Building Inspections so we will dedicate some time to clarifying the issue. Fungi are essentially microscopic plants that reproduce by airborne spores, just like tree pollen. These spores are near ever-present in the air. If you leave a banana peel on the counter for a week or two, you will probably see primary colonizing mold colonies sprout up. This occurs as a result of airborne spores landing and germinating on the banana peel, which provides a nutrient-rich environment for fungal growth.
Fungal growth requires the presence of spores, water, Oxygen, and nutrients within a narrow pH range to initiate and proliferate. Nutrients are commonly absorbed by breaking down plant fibers called cellulose, which constitute "food" for the fungal growth. Cellulose is found all manufactured wood products; lumber, particle board, paper, even drywall. During construction or remodeling, we may reduce the available "food" for potential fungal colonization by choosing cellulose-free building products. Metal framing can be substituted for wood. Dens Armor Plus by Georgia Pacific is a paperless drywall. We have incorporated it extensively in bathrooms, kitchens, plumbing chases, and exterior walls where high moisture levels are common.
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