Mold and Mildew on Your Home’s Exterior

Whether the style of your siding is formal, minimalist, complex or simple, a clean house exterior enhances curb appeal and increases property value. Unfortunately, the flipside is also true – unsightly stains on siding or water-damaged siding panels can make a home appear uncared for. It’s not just about looking good: mold on a home’s exterior can pose a serious health risk.

Differences between Mold and Mildew

If you discover mold on your home’s exterior, it should be dealt with as soon as possible to prevent it from spreading or from getting inside the house and taking hold on interior walls or insulation. Especially at this time of year where there might not be a budget for siding cleaning products or the funds to hire an exterior cleaning service, knowing the difference between mold and mildew will help you decide if the problem should be addressed now (mold) or later (mildew).

Both mold and mildew are types of fungi that reproduce from spores floating in the air. However, the main difference between the two is mold grows on organic matter such as leaves, seed and pod debris, and pinecones, while mildew growth is typically found on damp surfaces. Mold is generally green or black in colour and mildew is grey or white.

Conditions for Mold and Mildew Growth

The conditions for mold and mildew growth are the same. In order for the spores to reproduce, they need warmth, air, moisture, and a food source. You might be thinking, “But it’s cold outside!” That is true. However, moisture can get in behind siding or into the cracks and crevices of window sills where mold spores are protected and warmed by heat escaping from interior walls.

Mold, Mildew, and Gutters

When gutters stop functioning properly, they can overflow, causing water to seep into exposed or compromised parts of the home such as siding, soffit, and fascia. Because most of these elements are made of wood, a food source for mold, they are susceptible to water damage. Once the conditions are right, mold will start to grow, spreading quickly.

How to Get Rid of Mold and Mildew

Often the popular homemade solution of bleach, powdered detergent, all-purpose liquid cleaner, and water will work just as well as over-the-counter cleaning products. Removing mold as opposed to mildew might require more than one application. For really tough areas, use a more concentrated version of your homemade cleaning solution.

Preventing Mold and Mildew

Regular home exterior cleanings: Clean your home exterior regularly with a garden hose. Removing the accumulation of surface grime eliminates much of the food source fungi love to snack on.

Regular gutter cleanings: Cleaning the gutters regularly keeps them in good shape and prevents them from overflowing and breaking down.

Let the sun shine: Trim back trees growing near the house. Letting as much sun shine on the roof, the gutters, and the siding eliminates the damp and dark places mold and mildew like to grow.

Wrong types of vegetation: Climbing vines on siding or moss on the roof can create the ideal environment for mold or mildew to thrive. Removing the wrong types of vegetation from your home’s exterior will help reduce places where mold and mildew can take hold.