Question

What are the best siding and installation techniques to prevent mold in a high desert climate (cold and snowy, but low humidity)?

Asked by Cindi
Hailey, ID

I get extremely sick when exposed to mold. I am about to purchase a home with wood siding that needs paint anyway, so I am thinking about re-siding with stucco, stone, or whatever would be the best to ensure no mold. That would also give me the opportunity to inspect thoroughly and re-insulate. I've heard good and bad about almost all siding types, so wondering which is best. (Also wondering if radiant floor heat would be safer for me than forced air.)

Answer

Cindi,

To reduce the chances of mold and mildew, try to stay away from wood siding and porous materials such as stone and brick.

All of these materials allow for moisture to be trapped and allow mold to grow, especially on the northern-facing and shaded sides of the home.

Stucco

Stucco has its own considerations and problems associated if it is not installed properly.

If you choose stucco, it should be installed as a water-managed system. This type of system incorporates underlayment, which acts as a drainage plane beneath the stucco. At the bottom of the walls and over windows and doors weep termination strips are installed to allow any moisture built up beneath the stucco to properly drain out. This reduces the chance for mold and mildew as well as rot associated with constant wetting of the wood framing.

Rainscreen panel siding system

An alternative consideration for you would be to install a Rainscreen panel siding system.

Many of these panels are manufactured from waterproof materials or sustainable recycled materials such as “Eco-Clad” by Kliptech Industries.

I suggest this solution for the following reasons:

  • Will not require routine maintenance such as painting.
  • Will not crack and allow water infiltration like stucco.
  • Allows moisture to evaporate below its surface, eliminating mold growth.
  • Allows moisture to freely drain.
  • Acts as an additional layer of insulation by reducing heat gain.
  • Prefinished at point of manufacturing.
  • Aesthetically pleasing.
  • Cost-competitive with stucco or stone.

Tagged In: siding, mold

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