nicely finished basement

Basement Mold Removal & What You Need to Know!

Basement Mold Removal & What You Need to Know!

In this comprehensive post, we'll go over;

Everything you need to know about mold growing in your basement.

You'll learn;

  • Common causes of Basement Mold
  • If mold in your basement can get upstairs
  • How to tell if it is mold, mildew or efflorescence
  • How to get rid of basement mold
  • How to prevent basement mold

So if you've ever wondered about any of these points, you'll love this post!

nicely finished basement

Basement Mold Removal

basement mold removal

Mold. It’s everywhere. We bring it into our homes from our clothes, open windows or doors, and even from our pets. Did you know that a basement can be a breeding ground for mold?

The damp conditions are almost perfect. With so many different species of mold, it is hard to control every type of environment they might be able to grow in.

We have learned that mold grows in high moisture areas, both high and low temperatures, and can spread rapidly if left untreated.

Depending on the type of home you have, the basement may be a simple storage area or used for laundry. Many people also have a finished basement which can be used for living spaces.

Whether the basement is finished with drywall and carpet, or plain cinder blocks, both can be prone to basement mold. In severe cases, a basement mold removal expert should be called in to assess the situation.

Common Causes of Basement Mold

basement cinder blocks

Every basement is different. It all depends on what they are used for. Some are used for excess food storage (like grandma’s root cellar) and might have an extra refrigerator or large freezer.

Others are partially finished meaning there may be space that is used as a living space, and other parts that are like an old basement (maybe used as a laundry area).

Other basements are finished with carpet, drywall, and paint. Any of these types of basements are subject to mold.

Since most basements are constructed using cinder blocks, moisture can seep into the blocks if not treated properly. When a basement is built, there should be a weather-proofing material added to the outside before the dirt is put back in place.

The material can include a tar-like substance that is painted onto the outside of the bricks. Some companies might add in an extra layer of plastic or tarping.

The materials aid in reducing moisture from getting into the blocks or bricks. If moisture does seep in, it can lead to a buildup and require basement mold removal.

In a finished basement, the moisture can build up behind the walls or under the flooring and take a long time to be noticed. When this happens, and the mold is not visible, it is usually noticed due to odor.

Most basements have a musty odor anyways, but a finished basement should remain dry and moisture-free, meaning no musty odors. If you have a finished basement and notice a musty odor, it is recommended to contact a basement mold removal technician to assess the situation.

Basements that are not finished are mostly damp dark places, usually much cooler than the rest of the home. The dampness is natural but should be kept in check.

If the basement is not properly ventilated, the moisture can build up all around. Whether it be from the sump pump, laundry, or extra rainfall, make sure the basement remains dry.

Minor flooding caused by excess rain or snowmelt, overflowed sump-pump, or washer malfunction can lead to items stored getting wet.

If this occurs, the items must be removed and properly dried out. Same with the space with the water damage. Wet items are a common cause for basement mold.

Can Basement Mold Affect the Upstairs?

Basement Mold Spreading Upstairs

Since basements differ from home to home, so do the effects of the mold. Different types of mold may grow in the basement.

Black mold in basements can be hazardous to the health of you, your family, and your home. Additionally, white mold in basements may also be a cause for concern.

So, you ask yourself, can basement mold affect upstairs? The answer is yes. Many people will keep the basement door closed. With this, it traps the air in the basement and lessens the airflow.

Reduced airflow in the basement can cause the mold to rapidly grow and spread. Each time the door gets opened, the air that has been trapped downstairs gets wafted into the other living spaces.

Each time someone goes down then comes back up carries mold spores with them. This can cause allergy-like conditions and allow for the mold spores to start growing elsewhere in the home.

Mold on walls in the basement can eventually seep in and start damaging the structure of the home. If this happens, the whole integrity of the home is in danger.

White Mold, Mildew, or Efflorescence?

Efflorescence on bricks

With basements being cool, damp, and dark spaces, mold can thrive. There does come the confusion though. Is it white mold? Maybe mildew? Have you ever heard of efflorescence?

All three are commonly found in basements. Mold and mildew are commonly mistaken for each other due to their appearance and odor being similar.

Both can be a problem causing allergy symptoms to those who may be sensitive to mold and mildew. But then there is efflorescence. While it can look like mold and mildew, it is neither.

Efflorescence is salt and mineral deposits left behind when water evaporates. This can be found in bricks and concrete when water has seeped in and evaporated.

Causing no damage to the materials, and leaving no risk to home integrity, it does warrant an investigation into possible water issues.

In an unfinished basement, the cinder block walls may have wavy white lines going through the blocks. This is the efflorescence, and it means there is moisture in the bricks.

Efflorescence can only be found in the cinder blocks or bricks, so if you see something like this on wood or drywall, it is likely mold or mildew.

Mold and mildew are commonly found on organic materials like drywall, wood, and flooring, but can technically grow anywhere.

To know if you are dealing with white mold, mildew, or efflorescence, there are a few steps you can take to find out.

Efflorescence will dissolve in water (since it is salt deposits). If you were to take a spray bottle of water and spray the affected area, you can quickly find out if it’s efflorescence or not.

If it dissolves it is not mold or mildew, but you may have another issue that could lead to mold. Mildew and mold, on the other hand, are slightly different.

Both should be taken care of with a certified basement mold removal professional.

How to Get Rid of Basement Mold

basement mold removal

The first step to getting rid of basement mold is to determine the initial cause. If the mold is due to a recent flood for any reason, the water must be removed, and the area dried out.

Once water is removed and the space is dry, any remaining materials or items must also be removed and dried. With a cleared out, empty area, the extent of the mold damage can be viewed.

Depending on the severity of the mold, it may be best to just not touch it and have a professional basement mold removal technician remove it instead.

The mold may have lingered long enough to get into the structure of your home causing worse damage.

Additionally, without a proper air quality test or mold assessment, there is no way to know what type of mold you are dealing with.

Mold removal experts like Rock Environmental have the expertise and knowledge to safely remove a mold infestation in your basement.

Protecting other areas of the home is critical in preventing the spread of potentially toxic mold spores.

How to Prevent Basement Mold

Checking for basement mold removal
Preventing the need for basement mold removal is rather simple. Follow these steps and guidelines not only in your basement, but in your whole home!
  • Clean often. Make sure any spills of liquid or crumbs of food are taken care of. Mold likes these organic materials.
  • If something is damp or wet, make sure it is completely dried before putting it away. This can promote mold growth on the damp or wet item, plus everything it is near.
  • Keep clutter to a minimum. Basements are good storage spaces, but maintain organization using shelving units. This will allow airflow and the ability to keep items moisture free.
  • If something is leaking or broken, fix it right away. Leaking items can turn into damaged rooms quickly. Mold growth can start in as little as 24-hours if not taken care of right away.
  • Keep plumbing systems in proper working order. Make sure these don’t get clogged and cause an overflow.
  • Use adequate ventilation in rooms with higher humidity. Basements could use a dehumidifier, and kitchens and bathrooms should have ventilation or exhaust fans.
  • Keep the dryer vent clean and clear of debris. Laundry rooms can get humid when using the dryer.
  • Keep the humidity within your home at a stable level of 40-60 percent.
  • Make sure pipes and windows are properly insulated. Condensation from changes in water temp and the weather can leak down and create wet areas for mold to grow.
  • If you can help it, don’t use carpets in basements. They hold moisture, and we all know that moisture promotes mold.

Basement mold removal can be nerve-wracking just thinking about it. Not knowing what type of mold you are working with can be frustrating.

Even more, now you must worry about it all the time because let’s face it, mold loves basements. Well no need to worry, Rock Environmental is here for you in your time of need for mold removal!

We’re In This Together!

If you think there is a problem related to basement mold or water damage, call our Rock Environmental professionals at 585-340-6799. Or click the button below to send us a message!

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