When you keep moisture out, ventilate properly, and use sound building materials your home can be a very healthy and mold-safe place to live.
Building a custom home is an exciting and, at times, overwhelming adventure. My husband and I collaborated on 2 such adventures when we were first married. Each home was designed and built to our specifications. All materials that were used were chosen by us. My husband was working in the building industry at the time and was able to be onsite for the majority of both builds and served as the general contractor. There was definitely a large amount of security in knowing that our homes were thoughtfully and soundly built. And, even though we were not consciously choosing “healthy” or always the most “mold-safe” building materials (we obviously had not been affected by mold yet at this time), we built beautiful homes where we enjoyed the happy early years of marriage and babies.
Then, the housing/building market crashed, and my husband was forced out of building and to look to other industries for work. We were also forced to move frequently for his work. It was then that we were relocated to homes that were found by his company and were often sight-unseen to us prior to move-in day. It was also during this time that we moved into the home with the toxic mold problem throughout the HVAC unit that made us all so sick. With the mold situation came great upheaval and new building challenges, because we were forced, under tremendous health and financial strain, to take our home almost down to the studs to have it properly remediated. (Note: We were advised that proper remediation required us to gut the interior of the home of anything the mold had touched or penetrated, so that our family could safely return, live there, and continue to recover our health. This may sound extreme; however, when someone has mold sickness and increased sensitivity, all mold, down to microscopic spores and hyphae, must be addressed. This is precisely why there are so many failed remediations.)
Even though we had built our own aesthetically-fit homes in the past, we realized how much we didn’t know about building an intrinsically healthy home. It was crazy how all of the things that seemed to matter to us before when we were building our homes, like the size of the master bedroom closet, or whether to tray or coffer ceilings, just didn’t matter to us anymore. The things that mattered to us with this re-build and that we poured our resources into were all health- and indoor-air quality-centered, like HVAC design for optimum air flow and dehumidification (dehumidification not being a request most homeowners have), using all metal ductwork to prevent dust and mold, re-grading our yard to route water away from our foundation, and on and on.