If you are one of the many homeowners who go down to their basements only to find horrible mold and mildew on your flooring and walls, don’t worry. There are plenty of things you can do to rectify the problem.
Mold on concrete
The mold that appears on concrete can be in different forms. Because basements are underground they tend to get a lot of moisture and this does not help because concrete is very porous. Normally you’d expect to find your concrete foundations have a moisture barrier fitted. However this barrier can become old and damaged or may simply have not been fitted properly.
So many trades-people simply don’t care about doing a good job and will use materials that are either not good enough or they do spend the time needed to install it. Of course, you only find out there is a problem some months down the line.
If you live somewhere arid such as Nevada or Southern California you probably don’t have a moisture barrier installed because damp is not normally a problem. However if you suffer from a sudden down pour or humid weather, this can easily cause mold to develop in your basement concrete flooring and walls.
You may think you don’t have any concrete flooring installed in your basement, however chances are that you have it either underneath other types of flooring such as carpeting and tiles. It goes without saying that if your concrete has mold, you need to see about removing it.
If the mold on your concrete is only a small amount then simply mixing up four parts water to one part bleach should be enough for the cleaning. However some experts recommend you avoid using bleach because of associated health problems and the fact that it doesn’t penetrate into the concrete as well. It also only kills the visible part of the mold and not the roots. It’s very important that you kill the mold roots (mycelium) to prevent further spreading. You certainly don’t want to have to deal with the problem again in just a few months!
Instead you should use one of the formulated products designed to remove mold such as BioZap Mold and Mildew Cleaner and Remover. Simply use a scrubbing brush to clean the mold off making sure that you wear a pair of rubber gloves to protect your skin from the bleach. You should also be careful that you don’t splash the bleach about your basement because it can remove the color from materials you don’t want it to.
If you find any cracks it’s very important to seal them up with a waterproofing compound to prevent any more water from seeping through.
For more problematic mold
If your mold problem is more widespread you might find that scrubbing with diluted bleach isn’t enough. Mold on your concrete can by symptomatic of a larger more serious problem with the structure of your home. It could be that there are cracks in your walls which are letting moisture into your basement.
If this is the case you need to properly waterproof your basement. There are products available to seal up these cracks and the compound comes with instructions so you should be able to do it yourself if you are that way inclined.
Ask a professional
Sometimes with this sort of thing you should always err on the side of caution and call a professional builder who will be able to assess your basement and determine where water is coming in and causing your mold.
Any flooring you have installed over your concrete will need to be lifted up so that you can see the concrete underneath. You can tackle this job yourself as long as you are well protected. Mold can be pretty nasty stuff so you want to make sure that it doesn’t spread to other rooms in your house. You should also wear gloves, mask, goggles and overalls. Ventilation is extremely important so if you’re in the basement you should see about having a ventilation system fitted.
Once you have removed the flooring from your concrete and cleaned the concrete, you will need to have a new layer of concrete spread over. If you are brave enough you can do this yourself or you can have a contractor in.
The new layer should be a minimum of one inch thick and have an appropriate amount of waterproofing compound mixed in. This will make your concrete completely waterproof and prevent any more problems in the foreseeable future.
Because mold is very bad for your health, it is strongly advisable to have the mold levels checked in the rest of your home. You can either buy a DIY mold testing kit and do it yourself, or you can try to locate a Certified Mold Inspector in your area. The ERMI-DNA mold testing is approved by the EPA.