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Mold in Basement: A Step-by-Step on How to Remove It

Mold in Basement

Mold in basements is a problem for a number of reasons. Unsightly stains on the walls or the floor and the offensive odor are reason enough to be concerned about mold. But, by far the most concerning thing about mold is the health risks it poses, including irritated the eyes and nasal cavities, and infected lungs.

If you have mold in your basement take the following steps to eradicate it from your home:

Step 1: Assess the Damage

Perhaps your most important job in getting rid mold is to do an honest assessment of the damage. An invasive mold infestation that has manifested while you were away for a week or two will probably need to be handled by a mold remediator. Small problem sections caused by a leaky air conditioner or some other minor problem can be a DIY project.

Step 2: Use Protective Equipment

If you are going to take care of the mold yourself then it’s important to wear protective equipment. This can range from long rubber gloves, goggles, and a face mask up to a complete Tyvek body suit depending on the severity of the problem. Mold is highly irritating and even the slightest exposure can cause eye, nose, and recurring lung problems, so safety is a high priority.

Step 3: Find the Water Source and Fix the Problem

Before you attempt to start removing the mold from your house it's important to determine just how it got there in the first place. Mold needs darkness and moisture to grow, so a water source must be identified as the cause.

The moisture could come from a number of places, including a broken pipe within the walls of the house, a hole in the siding that lets rainwater in, or a drain backup and so on. You might want to bring in a contractor or specialist to find the exact problem so the mold doesn't return after all your costly repairs.

Step 4: Remove Mold Infested Carpets

If your basement is carpeted and has fallen prey to mold your best bet is to remove it. You can try to rent a shampooer, but in many cases the mold has seeped into the underlayment of the carpet and often the unseen problem is much worse than the one on the surface.

Rip the carpet into sections as, well as any underlayment, and double bag it for removal from the home. One thing to remember is to be especially careful when hauling old moldy items through your home, as the spores will escape and spread into your living room, kitchen, and other living areas.

Step 5: Tear Down Mold Infested Drywall

Rain that has poured in through the home's foundation will likely cause mold on the drywall in a finished basement. Many people spray the drywall spots with a home and garden store mold killer and hope that their problems have been taken care of.

In actuality such products often just change the color of the mold, and like the carpet the real problem may lie within the walls. Your best bet is to remove at least a 24” patch of drywall to get a look inside the walls and assess the situation. There may be insulation that needs to be removed, or you may discover a hole to the outside that has let water in.

Another benefit of removing sections of drywall and getting a look inside is that you can assess the damage to any internal structures. If mold has formed on wall studs or plywood sheeting it's only a matter of time before the integrity of these items becomes compromised. Any materials that have mold growing on them will have to be replaced.

Step 6: Cleaning Up

Once you've removed the moldy carpet, drywall, and wood it's time to cleanup what’s left. A mixture of bleach and water is recommended for concrete surfaces, linoleum, and tile. Don’t use the solution on wood, drywall, or other porous objects, as it may actually promote mold growth.

If drywall or studs have significant mold growth on them throw them out and replace them. Once the cleaning is complete, let the area dry and get a heavy air supply flowing throughout.

Step 7: Replace Any Removed Materials

Depending on how advanced your DIY skills are you may choose to replace any studs, plywood and drywall yourself. However, if you’re not comfortable with such a project it’s a good idea to spend some money and hire a contractor to reassemble your basement.

Since you've already gotten rid of the mold-infested components the cost of the job should be reasonable. Plus, a seasoned contractor might have some tips to help prevent a mold attack in the future, such as installing a sump pump while access is easy.

Preventing Future Mold Growth

Once the mold is gone and your basement has been repaired it's important to prevent a recurrence of the ordeal in the future. Run a dehumidifier in your basement frequently if moisture is present. You will also want to make sure your outdoor drainage system is working correctly.

Check for any clogs in your gutters and that water is being deposited well away from your home. Also ensure that the land surrounding your basement slopes away from your foundation. For more waterproofing tips CLICK HERE.