image_5  EverdryMichBlogPost

There are many types of organic growth that can occur on a structure. On type deals with foliage on the site including trees, shrubs and ivy. The roots and growth can penetrate open joints in the system causing for displacement of the bricks and stones in walls and cracking in foundations and pavings. The trees can  start to grow and come in contact with the building which starts to put extra loads where in contact with the structure. This can be seen in image one with the tree’s branches starting to push out in between the bricks on the roof.  In some cases the extra load can cause the contact surface to start to shift. Other affects of growth can cause blockage of rainwater drains and shading of surfaces on the building. The excessive shading can cause moisture to be retained on the outer surfaces [a].

To deal with the unwanted growth there are many alternative options. Trimming of the branches and roots before contact is the most successful proactive approach for trees and bushes. Full scale removal of the foliage is an option, but this can have an effect on the soil and under water levels, and in some places is illegal due to environment protections.  If dealing with ivy cutting off a section and letting the main stem die off naturally is acceptable because using  force to removal the ivy stem can lead to displacement and detachment of the building facade [a].

Another type of growth that can occur on the building includes algae, lichens, molds, bacteria, and fungi. This type of growth is common on the exterior of buildings and occurs when there is a prevalent amount of moisture, good lighting, and a suitable temperature [b]. Growth of lichens an mosses on buildings  can actually cause for a pleasant aesthetic look which is present in image two. The moss and lichens shows the age of the marker, and creates a wonderful contrast against the smooth gray of the stone.  But when in contact with metals, Lichens can cause deterioration. Moss if a can cause frost damage on roofs and can restrict moisture evaporation.  Algae, fungi, and bacteria grow on the surfaces and mainly only effect the appearance of the building [a]. Black mold is very toxic for humans with symptoms including respiratory problems, skin inflammation and much more. It grows best in warm conditions with a prolong exposure to moisture. In buildings this is most likely places where there are leaks.The mold can grow on almost any sort of plant, or in areas of high cellulose or low nitrogen level which includes most common building materials. The black mold produces toxins in the air which can take years to break down and can stay inside of homes for a long time [c]. Along with the unpleasant health issues the black mold, as seen in image three, distracts from the beauty of the building leaving awful black marks and stains everywhere.

Regular treatment of the building with surface biocide or algaecide is the best way to remove growth on the surface. Removing the algae and fungi with water will get rid of the problem temporarily but does not have long term effect [b]. There is no cure for black mold symptoms expect for removing from the environment of the black mold altogether.