Whether it’s the restrictive nature of face masks or the general worry of catching the virus, the COVID-19 outbreak has certainly made us all think a bit more about how we breathe. That’s especially true at home, where many people were confined for the bulk of their day – or even more for those who were shielding.
As we begin to return to normality, there are still plenty of people spending more time at home – not least because working from home has become far more popular. That makes it more important than ever to make sure your home’s air quality is safe and clean.
In this post, we’ll explore the issues of air quality at home and how you can make sure your home is free from pollutants and allergens.
Breathing easy at home
Everyone wants their home to be a place they can relax and ‘breathe easy’, so to speak. Unfortunately, that’s not always the case. Dirt, dust and mould can all have an impact on your home’s air quality – not to mention other gases and chemicals which can linger indoors.
Here are three points to consider when it comes to your home’s air quality.
Cooking and heating are two of the most common causes of indoor air pollution. As well as the gases released, cooking can emit other pollutants from heating fat, oil and other ingredients at high temperatures.
While you can’t avoid these two essentials, you can make sure the pollutants have somewhere to go by ventilating your home. Make sure a window or door is open in your kitchen while cooking and allow fresh air into your home whenever possible to avoid any pollutants building up from heating.
Another cause of indoor air pollution are the products you use to clean or even decorate. Household cleaning products and some paints and varnishes contain volatile organic compounds (VOCs). You’ll probably be familiar with most because of the smell when you’re using them.
Wherever possible, opt for products free from VOCs. If you must use them, as above, make sure rooms are well ventilated during and after application.
A study by the Fuel Poverty Research Network suggests that damp and mould are the most common cause of respiratory problems – leading to an increase of 30-50%. One of the contributing factors to these issues is a cold home, which was found to double the chance of children suffering from bronchitis or asthma.
With warm air holding more moisture than cold air, cold homes allow that moisture to be drawn to the walls, where it can develop into damp and mould. As well as ventilating to let moisture out, keeping your home warm enough – ideally above 18 degrees Celsius – can minimise the chance of damp and mould developing.
How cork can help
When it comes to improving your home’s air quality, cork is one of the best materials available. First and foremost, it’s completely natural, so there’s no nasty chemicals or emissions in your home.
It’s also hypoallergenic, with no opportunity for dust and moisture to gather. That eliminates the chance of mould developing, which will avoid the shocking increase in respiratory problems.
On top of all that, Thermocork coatings can improve your home’s insulation. This makes it easier to maintain a comfortable and safe temperature without seeing your energy bills shoot up.
What about mould?
Perhaps most important is how cork tackles mould. Black mould is almost exclusively caused by condensation and is usually found at the skirting level in rooms, in the corners of walls and ceilings or on cold surfaces. Mould can also appear on cold surfaces such as tiles and windowsills or behind furniture where the air flow is restricted.
Moulds produce allergens (substances that can cause an allergic reaction), irritants and, sometimes, toxic substances. Inhaling or touching mould spores may cause an allergic reaction, such as sneezing, a runny nose, red eyes and skin rash. Moulds can also cause asthma attacks. Breathing in these spores can aggravate a person’s respiratory system, especially if they have asthma, and can result in an increase in cold and flu-like symptoms and, in extreme cases, can lead to unnecessary hospital admissions.
That’s why it’s important to get rid of mould as soon it’s spotted. Fortunately, cork is permeable to water vapour which eliminates surface condensation and in turn eradicates black spot mould. By adding a 4mm cork coating over your wall and finishing it with an additional 2mm of plaster over the top you will get 6mm of coverage to protect your property from condensation. You can have a fresh-looking wall with cork, plaster and paint and solve your mould problems.
Cork exterior wall coatings
At Corksol, we specialise in natural cork-based exterior wall coatings for homes across the UK. Our innovative Thermocork coating provides impressive insulation for interior walls, eliminating damp and condensation by reducing thermal shock and providing a moisture-resistant surface.
Ready to improve your home’s air quality? Find an approved applicator near you today.