Even if you know you have a damp basement, the discovery of mold growth can be quite alarming. Mold smells bad and it looks bad, but worse yet, it is a potential hazard to your health. If you find mold in your basement, you must act quickly and methodically. Searching for the right damp basement solutions may become crucial.
You may find yourself feeling overwhelmed by the task at hand, but there is no need to worry. Let’s review the most effective methods for eliminating mold and preventing its return, even in the event of basement flooding.
HOW TO TREAT MOLD
Mold loves damp areas. A wet basement without good airflow is perfect for mold to grow quickly. Breathing in mold spores can harm your breathing, so it’s important not to disturb them. Identifying the type of mold you have helps pick the right damp basement solutions.
Common Types of Molds
- Cladosporium: Typically brown, this mold grows relatively slowly and is commonly present in soil and organic material.
- Penicillium: This white or green-colored mold is the source of penicillin, a familiar name in medicine.
- Aspergillus: Found both indoors and outdoors, Aspergillus is generally harmless to humans but can lead to infection (Aspergillosis) in individuals with compromised immune systems, such as those with asthma.
- Alternaria: Rapidly reproducing, this mold is usually brown, black, or olive green. Individuals with underlying conditions face a higher risk of serious infections from this type of mold. Proper protective equipment should be worn when dealing with Alternaria.
- Stachybotrys chartarum: Commonly known as black mold, this household mold is typically black but can range from black to dark greenish. It thrives on surfaces rich in cellulose content, such as gypsum walls and wood surfaces. Extreme caution should be exercised if black mold is discovered in your basement.
If you suspect mold growth, you can easily conduct a test to confirm its presence. Apply a solution of bleach and water (1 part bleach, 10 parts water) to the area. If it’s mold, the area will noticeably lighten.
Prep Work Area & Clean
To tackle mold growth, prioritize moisture removal. Use a dehumidifier to reduce air moisture and employ fans to aid drying. Safely dry wet surfaces and consider shutting off your HVAC system to stop mold spores from spreading throughout the house.
Tools, Products, & PPE
Cleaning up mold requires careful attention due to the severe damage mold spores can cause to your respiratory system. Here are some essential items needed for mold decontamination:
- N95 Mask or Respirator: These masks specifically block small particles like mold spores, unlike cloth masks, which are insufficient.
- Gloves: Wearing good-quality rubber or nitrile gloves is recommended to prevent cross-contamination and protect your skin. It’s best if they extend to at least the middle of your forearm.
- Goggles: Use goggles to safeguard your eyes from chemical fumes and potential splash-back.
- Cleaning agents: There are various cleaning solvents available. You might opt for a pre-mixed mold remover spray or use household items like bleach, vinegar, or hydrogen peroxide. To create a bleach mixture, use 1 cup of bleach for every gallon of water. Vinegar and hydrogen peroxide (3-10% solution) can be used directly from the bottle.
- Plastic sheeting: Use it to shield nearby surfaces from damage caused by cleaning agent backsplash.
- Disposable sponge: This is used to scrub the contaminated area after soaking it with the cleaning solution. Dispose of the sponge immediately after use to prevent cross-contamination.
For severe mold situations, consider enlisting professional services. If your HVAC system or the contaminated area exceeds 10 ft2, it’s advisable to consult a mold remediation specialist. They possess the necessary tools and resources to safely encapsulate contaminated areas and conduct appropriate cleansing.
PREVENT MOLD FROM GROWING BACK
The best permanent damp basement solutions start with mold contamination prevention. By taking steps to eliminate the excess moisture you can effectively control the growth of mold.
Improve Air Circulation and Reduce Humidity
High humidity in your basement creates the ideal conditions for mold growth. With the help of a hygrometer, you can easily monitor the humidity levels within your home.
Ensuring adequate airflow is another way to keep humidity levels in check. If you have a bathroom in your basement, make sure to use the exhaust fan during and after every single shower. You can also open windows to let fresh air circulate through your basement.
It is also a good idea to insulate exposed water pipes in your basement. By insulating cold water pipes, you reduce the likelihood of condensation forming, which directly impacts the humidity levels.
Direct Water Away from the Basement
Ensuring a dry basement starts with water prevention. Maintain clean gutters and redirect downspouts away from your home’s foundation to avoid pooling water and potential damage, part of effective damp basement solutions.
Invest in Professional Basement Waterproofing
While you can’t control the rain, you can safeguard your Toronto home’s foundation from water damage. Quality basement waterproofing in Toronto is crucial for maintaining your foundation’s structural integrity and eliminating a wet, leaky basement.
Two primary waterproofing types:
- If accessing the exterior of your basement isn’t feasible, we recommend interior waterproofing. This method shields your basement from inside water infiltration.
- Exterior waterproofing protects from the outside by excavating the soil around the foundation and installing a waterproof vapor barrier. It offers a permanent and solid solution for wet basements. Making it a worthwhile investment to safeguard your family from mold exposure.