Mold is the first sign of a moisture or water problem. A basement is already exposed to humidity because it is partially or fully surrounded by soil. The moisture from the soil seeps through tiny crevices in the concrete blocks and mortar joints.
Keeping moister out of basements is a continuous and sometimes inevitable process. Homeowners realize early on what to expect from their basements. Only a few will invest money to waterproof and encapsulate their basements. These are expensive and tedious processes that stop moisture in its tracks.
Damp basements are subject to mold and mildew, two types of fungi also commonly found in human attics, bathrooms, laundry rooms, and crawlspaces. Mold will grow anywhere indoors and outdoors. Since the fungus is very hardy, it will take extreme work to stop it from growing.
What Causes Mold To Grow In Basements?
Scientists have identified more than 100,000 types of mold. The most dangerous type is black mold, which poses severe health risks to humans and animals. Contrary to belief, mold, itself, is not dangerous. Its toxins are dangerous. Mold generates mycotoxins that enter the respiratory tract when inhaled through the nose and mouth. Mycotoxins cause an immune response – runny nose, cough, shortness of breath, wheezing, and watery eyes.
As mentioned above, mold grows anywhere that is damp, dark, warm, wet, and/or cold. Most people do not know that mold is a living, breathing thing. Since it needs food to survive, it will eat just about anything, including human food and organic food made of cellulose. Mold grows on organic materials like drywall, carpet, drapes, paper, cardboard boxes, and wood.
The most common causes of mold include:
- Leaky plumbing pipes
- Excessive humidity
- Poorly sealed doors and windows
- Damaged concrete blocks
- Cracked and missing mortar
- Poor ventilation
- Standing water
- Flood damage
- Poor drainage
- Heavy rainfall
- Damaged gutters
- Leaky HVAC flex duct
How To Prevent Mold From Growing In Basements?
It cannot be stressed enough, how dangerous mold can be to humans and animals. In addition to these dangers, mold erodes organic structural materials. When you combine all these risks together, mold is extremely dangerous to humans and their pets and homes.
The only way to prevent mold from growing in your basement is to keep it dry. Routinely inspect the water pipes, sewage pipes, HVAC flex duct, vents, mortar, doors, and windows. Any damage detected during the inspection should be immediately repaired. Ignoring the damage will only encourage mold to start growing inside your basement.
How To Safely Remove Mold From Basement Walls, Ceilings, And Floors?
The first sign of mold is a major warning sign of things to come. It is crucial to tackling the problem sooner than later. The longer the mold grows, the more severe the erosion of the precious materials that structure your home.
Minor and moderate mold problems can be tackled without bringing a professional mold remediation team onboard. Never approach a mold removal project without the proper equipment. Safety gear – goggles, face masks, rubber gloves, and a PPE suit – is a necessity.
Utilize a stiff brush and mold cleaner to remove mold from drywall, tile, hardwood, paneling, and linoleum. Once the mold is removed, the damage must be repaired and the moisture problem eliminated.
Mold Removal Safety Tips
- Wear safety PPE gear for mold removal
- Work in a well-ventilated area
- Safely dispose of mold-infested drapes, bed linen, clothing, stuffed animals, and other materials
- Utilize a mixture of bleach and water to clean the mold off walls, flooring, and ceilings
- Tear up the mold-infested carpet and replace it with tile or linoleum
- Clean upholstered furniture if possible or dispose of at your local landfill
- Replace moldy insulation, drywall, and other damaged materials
Once the damaged materials are removed from the basement, it is time to start tackling the humidity and water problems. Install additional vents to improve ventilation throughout the area. If necessary, install a dehumidifier to remove drive-down humidity levels.
If you utilize your basement for storage, it is crucial to take the proper measures to protect the items from exposure to moisture. Store paper documents, stuffed toys, artwork, books, and other paper materials in sealed containers. Seal upholstered furniture in plastic.
Our residential mold removal team is on standby to help restore your basement to its original form.