Algae, Mold, Mildew and Your Home

The Lowcountry is known for its humid climate. With the humidity comes algae, mildew, and mold. This is a very common problem for the Low country and can be visible in many areas of your home.

Blue-green algae will typically present itself as black stains and streaks on the home. It is a very resilient organism and can survive in many different climates but thrives in humidity. Blue-green algae mainly needs water, air and sunlight to grow and reproduce which makes the exterior of your home, specifically your roof, the most suitable environment.

Mildew is the byproduct of mold and presents itself as a grey or white film on the surface of an object. Mildew flourishes in poorly lit, humid environments where air circulation is limited, such as crawl spaces, basements and bathrooms. Typically mildew will have a musty, old odor and will stain and eat away certain fabrics and materials.

Mold is a black or green fungus and often results in a larger infestation. Mold will appear in damp places and have an almost fuzzy or slimy look and feel. Similarly to Mildew, mold can have a musty smell and can cause staining on surfaces.

It is suggested that you visually assess the exterior of your home, roof, fence and garage on a regular basis (especially during the more humid and rainier months) to look for problem areas. If there are areas that need attention, determine whether to perform the removal yourself or through a contractor.

Algae, Mildew and Mold can be eliminated in several ways.

  • The key to treating algae, mildew or mold is to eliminate it IMMEDIATELY upon finding it. The sooner you treat the problem area, the better your chances are for preventing it from spreading.
  • A long lasting algae protection that helps keep your roof clean from the black stains and streaks caused by algae are shingles that feature Scotchgard Protector ™ by 3M.
  • Power washing is a great way to clean the surfaces of your home. When power washing, pay close attention to how it is performed to lessen the possibility of damage to siding if too much pressure is applied. For those who prefer more ecologically friendly or “green” products, there are commercial products available as well.
  • If resurfacing your home or roof, talk to your contractor about algae or mold resistant materials.
  • When repainting siding, mildew resistant paints should be used. These include exterior enamels or paints containing a Mildewcide. Stained or naturally weathered wood siding can be protected by use of a water-repellent finish. Moisture, and therefore mold and mildew, can be controlled to a degree by arranging landscaping so that natural breezes can flow near the house.

By performing routine maintenance, and tackling problems as you see them, you will preserve the look and value of your home for many years.