How To Identify Mold In Your Basement
The first step to victory is knowing your enemy. Certain colonies of mold can be more hazardous to your health than others, and might best be left to the professionals.
As there are tens of thousands of fungi species that beget mold spores, weve narrowed it down to the most likely culprits . Compare your mold to these 12 common genera of fungi:
We Have A Problem With A Room In Our Basement It Is Uninsulated And Has A Moldy Smell The Odor Is Worse In The Winter Months My Son Likes To Sleep In The Room
Youll want to focus on two items increasing the temperature and the air flow. Addressing these issues will lower the humidity and the mold growth/musty odor.
Purchase a relative humidity gauge and install it in the basement. Your goal is to keep the RH below 50%. Increase the heat as necessary to lower the RH until youve reached 50%.
The easiest way to increase the ventilation is to run a bathroom exhaust fan. If theres an existing fan in the basement, run it at least 12 hours per day in the winter months.
Its also important to verify whether the basement is suffering from vapor emissions through the concrete slab. This occurs when water vapor moves up through the slab and into the room above. If the basement is carpeted, the moisture can become trapped and lead to mold growth. See our page on basement mold for more info.
Address The Problem That Caused The Mold In The First Place
Obviously, there is always the chance of having a one-off calamity like a flood or a blown pipe. However, these are usually in the minority when it comes to serious mold issues. More often than not, mold cases are caused by long-term issues like a slow leak or a poorly ventilated basement. These tasks below can help reduce the problem from recurring:
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How To Clean Mold Off Concrete
This article was co-authored by Mike Kapur. Mike Kapur is a home inspector and the owner of Sonic Home Inspections, a home inspection company in Westchester, New York. With over 15 years of experience in pre-inspecting properties, Mike specializes in mold, radon, asbestos, lead, water, and air quality testing as well as hazardous materials, pest, infrared, and general home inspections. Prior to founding Sonic Home Inspections, Mike worked pre-inspecting apartments. Mike holds a BS in Accounting from Queens College and is a Certified Mold Assessor in the state of New York.There are 10 references cited in this article, which can be found at the bottom of the page. This article has been viewed 68,454 times.
Choose from several cleaning agents to remove mold from concrete. Spot test a small area with your chosen cleaning agent to make sure no damage occurs. Youll need to wear protective gear and scrub the moldy areas vigorously. Rinse exterior concrete afterwards with a power washer. Interior concrete can be wiped dry. Merely killing mold wont prevent it from returning, so make sure to address the water source that is causing the mold.
What Can You Do To Prevent Mold In A Basement
To prevent mold from reoccurring or growing at all, you can take the following steps:
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Of Hard Deposits On Inside Of Concrete Blocks It’s Only On The Lower 1
This is a tricky one. If its hard to the touch, its not mold. Its either mortar or efflorescence. The latter will dissolve in water. Typically its powdery, but Ive seen it form hard, crystal like deposits in some cases. The fact you found mold on the backside of the sheet rock points to an ongoing moisture intrusion. This would explain the efflorescence, which occur when moisture moves through masonry. I recommend testing the deposits by submersing them in water. Do not reinstall the sheet rock until youve dealt with the underlying moisture issue.
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How To Remove Mold From Wood Framing Plywood Sheathing Tongue And Groove Subfloor Or Roof Decking
The object in cleaning mold from a wood surface is to remove all fungal material from the surface of thewood: fungal spores, hyphae, and conidiophores . It is not necessaryto remove all stains from wood.
Here we provide a guide to cleaning mold from smooth wood surfaces. We describe how to remove mold from irregular or hard-to-reach wood surfaces – media blasting and how to clean mold from wood trusses and cross-bracing.
We discuss when to try sanding wood surfaces to clean or remove mold contamination.
And we answer these questions:
How clean do moldy surfaces need to be? How do I clean mold off of wood flooring, subflooring, joists, cross bracing, or trusses?
Once we have physically removed mold from a building surface by wiping or vacuuming, stains may remain. Don’t panic about those marks. Microscopic examination of stained wood fragments will generally show that what remains inthese wood cells are sterile fungal hyphae.
If the wood surface is cleaned thoroughly and building leaks, high moisture, or other water sources are prevented, keeping the humidity at the proper level, growth of problem mold on the cleaned surfaces is quite unlikely.
Our second photo shows wood framing and subfloor that have been adequately cleaned, without any application of a fungicidal sealant.
How To Remove Mold From Concrete Patio
The three steps you can follow when removing mold from your concrete patio are: clean the patio, scrub and clean with a mold-killing detergent. Rinse with hot water and let the wind dry your patio. Voilà, all mold removed. Follow our detailed 3 steps removal guide below for the best result and lasting effect.
- Step 1: Clean your patioThe first step is to clean your concrete patio. You can use a vacuum cleaner and a feather duster to clean your patio. The cleaning process will help you get rid of the visible mold.
- Step 2: ScrubThe second step is to scrub your patio to get rid of any traces of mold. You can use the ordinary home cleaning detergents with warm water to clean your patio. If there are stubborn stains, consider using a wire brush to clean them.
- Step 3: Use vinegar/bleachOnce you have scrubbed the surface, use a bleach solution or vinegar to spray your concrete patio. The mixing ratio of your bleach with water should be one cup of bleach to a gallon of warm water. When cleaning, make sure to wear personal protective gear to protect yourself from the effects of the vinegar or bleach.
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Guide To Cleaning Mold From Smooth Wood Surfaces
Perfectly adequate moldy-wood-surface cleaning may be accomplished by wiping or power-washing or media blasting.
Where wiping a moldy surface, take care not to spread moldy debris from a moldy surface onto a previously uncontaminated surface by making the mistake of re-using the same moldy rag over and over on all surfaces. Professionals use “steri-wiping” which takes care to avoid spreading moldy debris by always folding and using a clean side of the wipe when moving to a new spot.
Where the framing lumber is indoors or otherwise in a location where water spillage is a concern, wipe theareas of heaviest mold to remove any loose mold from the surface of the lumber.
Unless professional area-containment has been set up , do not use violent cleaning methods such as power-washing or sandblasting indoors, as you will spread moldy debris throughout the building and you’ll increase the ultimate project cleanup cost.
Wherethe framing lumber is outdoors where water spillage and the creation of aerosolized mold spores is not an issue, pressurewash the infected lumber to remove surface mold.
“Cleaning” in this case can be simply wiping with a sponge wet with water or detergent.
The object of cleaning is to remove most of the loose moldy particles.
A professional uses sterile wipes and folds to a clean side of the wipefor each wiping stroke. For a small homeowner non-critical project this may be overkill but think about and avoidspreading moldy debris by your cleaning procedure.
What Causes Black Mold On Concrete
Mold can grow on concrete for a number of reasons. Like other types of mold, black mold grows in areas where the conditions are right for them. Black mold will grow on surfaces with high moisture, which may be due to leaks in windows, roofs, pipes, and water tanks. The spores of black mold are transferred from one place to another through wind, animals, or water sources. If a wet concrete surface is exposed to black mold, the mold will thrive. Black mold reproduces quickly, and a small patch of it can multiply within a short time. This means that your concrete surface could be covered in black mold within a short time.
If the concrete is in a basement, the black mold may be caused by a leak from outside or faulty plumbing. Homes with high humidity also tend to have problems with mould growing on surfaces as well. Outdoor concrete, such as a patio, usually grows mildew when it doesnt dry completely after its been soaked. This is typical of concrete thats well shaded.
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How Much Mold Must Be Removed
Following a properly executed mold cleanup, if there is a future mold problem in a building it is unlikely to be due to having left behind an “inoculation” of problem mold, and more likely to be due to a new building leak that was left unattended.
Good practice for the extent of and means of physical removal of moldy debris varies by material.
For drywall we remove all visibly moldy material and continue removing drywall to no less than the next adjacent stud, rafter, or joist.
For fiberglass or other porous building insulation which has been wet, we remove all suspect insulation and all insulation within 24″ of the suspect material. However if moldy and wet conditions were long-standing in a building, removal of all of the insulation may be necessary.
For building insulation that has been exposed to dusty conditions or high levels of airborne mold it is often more cost effective to simply remove the material, clean the surfaces, and re insulate than to spend that same money on testing the insulation for mold.
Generally it is less costly to remove and discard more material than to “finish” the job and then discover that it needs to be done over again because the initial work was insufficient.
Framing lumber, or roof or wall sheathing that is not rotted does not need to be replaced. Unless framing lumber has been actually damaged, such as by rot, replacing it due to mold contamination is not justified and wouldbe improper.
Cleaning Mold From Wood Trusses And Cross
In an area of high levels of mold growth or moldy dust and debris, the irregular surfaces formed by wood trusses and alsoby older wood cross bracing between floor joists prevents thorough cleaning of surfaces and creates many dust collectionpoints.
A similar construction detail where significant moldy dust reservoirs may be left in place is the upper surface of woodfurring which has been nailed across the under-side of floor joists to support ceiling tiles.
Because the surfaces formed by trusses and cross bracing can form a significant dust and debris reservoir, I always checkthese areas during a mold remediation clearance inspection. If work has been hasty or incomplete, these are among the firstareas to be under-cleaned.
Spray process cleaning, media blasting , and HEPA vacuuming are effective for these areas.
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What Is Mold And Why Do You Have It In Your Basement
Mold is everywhere around you, both indoors and outdoors. It is basically a fungus and can be white, green, orange, purple, and black. The fungus needs moisture to grow and a surface to spread on. Mold forms lightweight spores for reproduction that are continuously present in the air and arent harmful in small amounts.
When it has ideal growing conditions, mold reproduces extremely fast.
Drying a poor-ventilated basement is difficult, and mold can appear. In simple words, mold spores float in the air and need moisture to reproduce.
There are numerous reasons why your basement is wet, even if you dont have water damage or a leaking problem. The foundation walls might be wet because the water might penetrate the porous concrete walls.
Some people keep the dryer in the basement, which releases the humidity, or the air around the basement is humid, and it has access to the basement.
Whatever the reasons for mold are, you can control it and remove it, but it can be a daunting task. Making mold cleaning part of your regular household cleaning routine can help you sustain it.
How To Prevent Mold On Concrete Floors In The Future
Even though you know how to remove mold from concrete, you dont want to have to do it again. Thats why you need to take the proper steps to prevent mold from resurfacing.
If you can, keep the affected area dry with direct sunlight. This might mean you have to prune some trees or move patio furniture.
Add proper ventilation to keep the area from collecting moisture. If you need to, create a drain or drainage pathway to avoid standing water.
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Prepping A Concrete Floor With Muriatic Acid
If you plan on painting your basements concrete floor, you need to prep it first with muriatic acid. The paint will not stick efficiently to the concrete unless you roughen it up a bit first with the acid.
- Stiff bristle brush
Begin by mopping the floor with water and allow it to dry completely. Make sure that the basement has proper ventilation before beginning. Wear rubber gloves, goggles, and a respirator for safety purposes.
Mix the water and acid in a bucket and use the brush to scrub the entire floor surface with the solution. Use a mop and clean water to mop the floor at least two times after cleaning to remove any residue.
While cleaning a basement concrete floor is not the easiest task to perform, the final result is well worth the effort. A concrete floor that is cleaned properly can be painted or have a different style of flooring installed over it to provide you with another room to enjoy in your home every day.
Remove Mold From Drywall/painted Walls
Mold can often grow on drywall and painted interior walls, especially in areas where moisture and humidity are a factor, such as kitchens and bathrooms. Walls can also be affected if your roof or exterior walls are infiltrated by water. If the drywall remains wet, mold can begin to grow and penetrate the drywall throughout. When this happens, the drywall must be removed and replaced, as you will not be able to get rid of all mold under these circumstances.
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How To Clean Mold On Outdoor Concrete
Cleaning and disinfecting mold-covered concrete is a fairly simple process and there are a few ways to do it. Cleaning outdoor concrete is the simplest because you can use a garden hose to finish the job. Create a cleaning solutions and pour it on the surface. Scrub and clean in a circular motion to clean like an expert. Spray down to finish the job. Voilà, all mold removed. Follow our detailed 4 steps removal guide below for the best result and lasting effect.
- Step 1: Create a cleaning solutionTo begin youll need to create a cleaning solution thats effective at black mold removal. Use a bucket to mix one-half cup of bleach diluted with one gallon on water. This amount of solution can treat an area about five square feet. If you need to clean a larger area simply double the solution.
- Step 2: Pour and waitSimply pour the bleach solution onto the entire affected area and allow it to set for about fifteen minutes. This gives the bleach time to kill the black mould completely.
- Step 3: Tedious for the bestNow make a more concentrated solution with one cup of bleach with one gallon of water. Use a wire scrub brush to scrub the concrete in a circular motion. Although a bit tedious, this will make sure the mildew is completely removed from the surface of the concrete.
- Step 4: Spray down to finish the jobFrom here you simply use a hose to spray down the affected area, removing the cleaning solution from the surface.