Basements can be great, and the presence of one was likely on your must have list when you were searching for your home. They provide us with ample storage space, as well as the possibility of turning it into additional living space some day, or a specialty area like a home bar, man cave, or income property. Unfortunately, because basements are below ground level, any plans that you may have for that space could be dashed as the natural conditions of an unfinished basement make it the ideal environment for mold and mildew.
If you have noticed a musty smell in or coming up from your basement, or have seen the presence of mold or mildew stains on any of your basement’s surfaces, follow these tips for stopping the growth and getting rid of it for good:
1. Find the Source of Moisture
Before you attempt to clean and disinfect the area, you first need to pinpoint the problem — unless you want to make cleaning and disinfecting the area a regular part of your routine. Mold needs three things to grow: a dark space with little airflow, organic material, and moisture. A standard unfinished basement or crawl space have all three of these things, making it prime real estate for a spore sanctuary. Ick. In order to get rid of the mold in your basement and make sure it doesn’t come back, you need to eradicate one of these factors — moisture.
The most common culprit for basement moisture is a leaky foundation, improper drainage, and condensation from large appliances. Most moisture issues that occur on concrete basement floors stem from possible moisture coming from the foundation walls. If your foundation is in need of repair, we recommend you call in the professionals right away. Your home’s outside drainage system might also be the source of moisture, as gutters are meant to bring rain water and melted snow away from your home. If they are not doing that, all of that water could be seeping into your foundation and into your basement. Otherwise, check any and all appliances you may have housed in your basement for leaky pipes and hoses: hot water heater, washer, dryer, sink, toilet, etc. When you find the source of moisture, be it a leaky pipe or hose, replace it immediately.
2. Implement Quick and Long-Term Fixes
Are we seriously recommending a quick fix? Yes, at least at first. Until you can completely moisture-proof your entire basement (which we will cover below), there are some fairly quick and easy fixes for at least stopping the growth and spread of mold in your basement or crawl space.
The humidity level in your basement or crawl space should stay below 60%. To ensure that it is, invest in a dehumidifier with a separate gauge to keep track of the humidity level. Make sure that any windows are closed completely and that the dehumidifier is installed properly. When your space’s humidity is at 50% or less, the musty smell that comes from active spore growth will dissipate.
Additionally, a Concrobium mold fogger can be purchased or rented at your local home improvement store. Concrobium kills all active mold spores as well as the airborne particles, and the use of the fogger will ensure that the solution coats all of the space’s surfaces in order to kill and eliminate the mold.
3. Moisture-Proof the Area
If your mold problem is particularly bad and persists past the implementation of the quick fixes we covered above, it may be necessary to take more drastic action.
A masonry waterproofing material can be purchased at your local home improvement store. With a latex base, it can be painted on your walls and stop water from leaking back into your basement. If that doesn’t work, or isn’t a permanent enough solution for your needs, you can also opt to redo your entire basement or crawl space, completely moisture-proofing the area by putting in new concrete or putting a new render onto the walls, like rendering service Sydney. This way, you can ensure that the work done in your basement is up to date and done right.
Moisture and mold in the basement or crawl space area is one of the most common issues any homeowner can face. By following these three steps, you can make sure that you will only go through this experience in your current home once.
Note: Whenever you are around mold, it is very important to wear protective gear, including a respirator mask. Coming into contact with or inhaling mold spores can make you sick. Additionally, if you have a breathing disorder such as asthma or emphysema, you should not attempt to remove mold in your home yourself. Please contact a professional.
Top photo: hhenvironmental/Flickr