Tuesday, September 20, 2022

How To Tell If I Have Mold In My Basement

Top Warning Signs Of Mold In The Home

How do I know if I have mold?

Here are some of the top warning signs that you may have a mold infestation that requires basement waterproofing or foundation repair.

  • A damp or musty smell. If you smell a damp, musty, or earthy odor, you might have a mold problem. Thats because mold secretes a pungent odor, and its one of the biggest giveaways that mold is taking hold in your home. Yet, some homeowners are so used to the smell that they arent even aware of it. If you are unsure, ask a friend or family member to stop by and sniff for themselves.
  • Black spots or stains. Mold often appears as dark spots or stains on walls and insulation. But there are many types of mold which look very different from gray or green furry tufts to white streaks to colorful splotches of orange, pink, or purple.
  • Peeling wallpaper or paint. If you see bubbling, cracking, or peeling in wallpaper, it means moisture has gotten under the paper and weakened the glue. Mold loves to grow in these damp pockets, hiding just out of sight.
  • Damp, humid basement. Basements are a prime breeding ground for mold. Thats because they are usually colder than other rooms in a home, and cool temperatures create condensation. In addition, cracks in the foundation can allow water to enter and provide a place for mold to grow.
  • Condensation on windows and pipes. Mold thrives in areas where condensation creates moisture.
  • How To Tackle Mold

    Now that weve covered how to identify mold, lets talk about what you can do to get a handle on the situation.

    The first thing that you need to do is get specific when it comes to where exactly the mold is coming from. In some cases, it could be sourced all the way back to a leak in your homes foundation.

    In other cases, the source of the leak could be something as unexpected as condensation thats created by a small appliance.

    Why Is Black Mold So Dangerous

    Black mold is commonly referred to as toxic mold, and for good reason. Aside from causing all kinds of respiratory reactions like coughing, sneezing, sore and itchy throats, and watery and itchy eyes, prolonged exposure can have serious health consequences.Black mold is toxic, and prolonged exposure can have serious health consequences.

    One study found that exposure to mold during infancy led to asthma at 7 years of age, while others have linked exposure to brain inflammation, behavioral dysfunction, movement disorders, and neurological deterioration.

    In short, black mold warrants its reputation as a toxin, and should be treated as soon as its discovered. Below are several signs it may be inhabiting your home.

    Read Also: Bleach Water Ratio To Kill Mold

    Mold And Mildew Health Concerns

    The health of both humans and pets may be affected by the presence of mold and mildew in the home. While some people may not be affected at all, others who are especially sensitive may experience symptoms such as itchy eyes, wheezing, or a runny nose. People with asthma or allergies will feel the most severe reactions to mold and mildew.

    In The Walls And On The Floor

    Q: I have black spots on my basement ceiling, how do I ...

    From top to bottom, mold growth is likely in a bathroom. In addition to the places mentioned above, pay attention to any water leaks coming from the walls or floors these leaks can cause mold to grow quickly. Bathroom rugs are also known to harbor mold, and are usually not washed as often as they should be.

    Some tips to keep your bathroom free of mold

    • Use a ventilation fan during your bath or shower, and keep it on for at least 30 minutes after
    • Use a dehumidifier or air conditioner to keep humidity levels down throughout your home
    • Keep all surfaces, including counters and floors, clean and dry
    • Check for leaky faucets and pipes

    Also Check: How To Clean Mold Off Bathroom Ceiling

    What Causes Mold To Grow In Basements

    Mold loves temperatures between 60 and 80 degrees F, a little bit of moisture, some tasty surfaces to feed on, and plenty of room to growall of which the average basement supplies readily.

    You can have issues with mold after a small leak, say, from a water heater or bathroom, rain coming in a basement window after a big storm, a major flood event, an overwatered plant pot, or even just due to an excess of indoor humidity.

    There Has Been A Wet Smell In Our Newly Purchased Home Since We Got Here The Previous Owners Did Not Heat The Home In The Winter Months And There Is Very Poor Ventilation In The Basement We Removed Some Gyproc Todaydoes It Look Like We Will Have To Remove It All

    Yes, the sheet rock should be removed. This is necessary not only to clean up the existing mold, but to implement the prevention measures.

    First, you need to identify the source of the moisture. Three possibilities exist. 1.) Condensation from the warm interior air hitting the cold concrete wall. This typically does not happen behind a well sealed wall , but its possible.

    2.) Vapor emissions through the concrete. This occurs when moisture moves through the concrete in vapor form, creating high humidity and saturation on the surface. In an uncovered wall, the water would simply evaporate into the air without causing an issue. The installation of the sheet rock traps the moisture, leading to mold growth. There are two solutions either keep the concrete exposed or install dimple board with a interior footing drain.

    3.) Liquid water intrusion. Its possible youre having liquid water enter through the cold joint at the bottom of the wall. If this is the case, youll see more damage at the bottom plate/framing than higher up the studs. In most cases, the solution is an interior footing drain.

    Read Also: How To Kill Mold In My Basement

    Common Causes Of Basement Mold

    Every basement is different. It all depends on what they are used for. Some are used for excess food storage 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 .

    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.

    Products And Tools Youll Need To Get Rid Of Mold In Basement Areas

    A FREE DIY Mold test to confirm a Moldy Basement
    • Dusk mask or respirator: You dont need a medical-grade mask or a professional reusable respirator, but some sort of mask will protect you from the damaging effects of mold while working around it.
    • Eye protection: When disturbing mold spores during cleaning or simply using harsh chemicals like bleach, youll want to keep your eyes protected.
    • Disposable gloves: Handling mold and moldy material is reason enough to wear gloves, but it can also protect your skin from irritation when using cleaning products.
    • Stiff-bristled brush: To effectively remove mold stains on porous or rough surfaces, you will need a brush that can scrub away mold without the bristles collapsing.
    • Sponge: On softer or smoother surfaces, a disposable sponge may be all thats needed to stop mold spots from becoming more significant problems.
    • Mold stain remover: Though not essential for actually removing mold, youll likely find a dark stain on the material that the mold was growing on and youll want a product to remove it. Plus, removing the old stains can make sure that you recognize new mold growth later.
    • Bleach: A solution of 1 cup of bleach to 1 gallon of water is enough to kill mold on surfaces, according to the CDC.
    • Cleaning bucket with measuring marks: Ensure the right measurements for your bleach solution with a good cleaning bucket.
    • Spray bottles: Whether for bleach or one of the more natural solutions discussed below, a spray bottle will help you treat mold spots.

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    Where Can Mold Grow

    Mold can spread like crazy if its not attended to. You must always be alert for any signs.

    Once an infestation is getting severe you will start to notice signs. Heres a guide on how to test for mold in basement.

    You may think that mold will only grow on your basement wall, but it can thrive on several surfaces.

    Checkpoints For Finding Problem Mold Contamination In Basements

    • Leak History: Examine the basement for its evidence of recurrent leaks and water entry.
    • Finished Basement Organic surfaces: Look carefully at organic surfaces such as wood, drywall, and carpets in a finished basement:
      • Walls: drywall, especially low on walls, in wet corners, behind furniture, and in areas of leaks from above
      • Ceilings: drywall, especially in areas of leaks from above, such as under baths or kitchens, and at the walls below roof eavesin cold climates where ice dam leaks may have sent water into wall cavities look at hot water heating baseboard locationsfor bleeder vents or other leak points
      • Ceilings: suspended ceilings: look on both sides of ceiling tiles for visible mold or leak stains don’t ignore possible mold in fiberglass-based ceiling tiles.
      • Ceilings: inspect framing – the joists of floors above, and the exposed side of subflooring of the floor above. See our warning about mold growth on pine boards discussed at Attic inspections above.
      • Floors: wall to wall carpeting is a very common mold and allergen reservoir. Don’t ignore possible reservoirs of high levelsof mite fecals and pet dander including pets from prior owners. Look for other signs of pet presence in the building such asscratches on doors and trim.

    Read Also: Mold On Shower Ceiling

    I Live In A Condo With Concrete Ceilings And A Flat Roof I Get Mold Along The Exterior Edge Of My Ceiling Whats The Best Way To Prevent This

    The simplest option is to increase the temperature and outside ventilation of this condo. Typically this is accomplished by running the bathroom exhaust fan 24/7. Our humidity page has an in-depth explanation of the approach. If you dont have a working bathroom fan, youll have to find another way to introduce fresh air into the condo. Keeping a window cracked is an option, but can be uncomfortable during very cold weather.

    Mold Thrives In Moist Damp Basements

    How Do I Know If I Have Mold in My Home

    Another thing that we look for when answering the question of is there mold in my basement? is moisture or water. Whether new or old, homes can have many problems, accidents, and other events that cause moisture to accumulate in the basement. Last weeks heavy rain could be coming through a crack in the foundation, or a washing machine on the fritz could cause a tsunami of water – whatever the reason may be, if that water isnt dealt with promptly, it could easily develop into a mold problem that could really cause havoc in your home.

    The best method for answering Is there mold in my basement? is to have a professional come in and inspect and test surfaces and objects for mold and mold spores. At MoldTech, we have over a decade of experience doing just that in residential and commercial buildings, and can offer you the best solutions for your needs. Keep your family and home safe from mold growth and ensure that any basement mold is removed promptly.

    Also Check: Wet Forming Leather Holster

    Water In The Foundation

    Look out for a build-up of water around your homes base. This can lead to foundational problems for your home if there is a lot of water. At your homes foundation, gathering rainwater can be prevented by sloping your yard outwards from your foundation. In the same line of thought, damp basements are another culprit. Usually, there is no good ventilation in basements. This is an indication that basements could contain higher humidity or moisture amounts compared to other rooms in the home. Also, basements are often colder which means more condensation occurs which leads to humidity and basement.

    Mold Patrol In A Damp Basement

    It only takes 24 to 48 hours for mold spores to transition from airborne microorganisms to an unhealthy growth. Once it takes hold in the basement, youre facing a big DIY cleanup project. Stay ahead of potential problems by regularly checking these areas for signs of mold growth:

    Behind baseboards and in dark corners Spaces around furnace and clothes dryer vents Flooring under the washing machine or laundry sink Finished walls where pipes might leak Ceiling areas directly under the kitchen and bath

    When you discover a suspicious fuzzy patch, test it with several drops of bleach applied with a cotton swab. If the area lightens after a few minutes, its harmless mildew. If it remains dark, youre dealing with mold.

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    Basement Mold Removal In Mississauga

    Your basement can be a great extension of your homes livable space, but its also not one that many people effectively use, often because its damp or has a funny smell. But it doesnt have to be this way – many homeowners think the musty basement smell is a natural part of their basement, but its actually a warning sign that you likely have mold growing.

    If you think there may be mold in my basement, the good news is that mold is both preventable and can be thoroughly eradicated. Mold is common in basements for many reasons, many of them self-perpetuating. Basements are dark and often have poor airflow, making them ideal spaces for air to stagnate and for things to settle. Theyre used for storing things that make excellent dinner for mold spores, and they often have moisture to kickstart and supply mold growth. If any of this sounds familiar, the mold specialists at MoldTech can help you assess any potential mold issues and offer suggestions to help remediate the problem.

    Warning Signs You Have A Mold Problem

    Warning signs of mold in your home
    • Date: 05-2017

    Molds are types of fungi that may grow indoors or outdoors, usually in damp, warm, and humid environments. The most common types of household molds might be found around bathrooms, basements, drywall, ceiling tiles, carpet, wallpaper, under sinks, and around plumbing pipes.

    Mold in the home can pose serious health risks, but unfortunately many dont realize they have a mold problem because they dont know what to look for. Here you will read a little about mold warning signs, first as it relates to your health, and secondly as it relates to the structure and history of your home.

    Mold Warning Signs: Allergies and Other Health Issues

    When someone has mold in their home, they usually show allergy-related symptoms. If youre not sure whether your allergy-like symptoms are caused by mold in your home, then consider this question: do your symptoms get better once you go outdoors or leave your home? If so, then there is good chance that mold is the culprit.

    Symptoms of mold allergies include:

    • Coughing
    • Itchy, watery eyes
    • Irritated, itchy skin

    Some forms of household mold are toxic, causing serious, life-threatening illness. These highly-dangerous molds might cause symptoms such as bleeding, internal organ damage, mental impairment, cancer, and even death.

    Mold Warning Signs in Your Home

    Read Also: How To Clean Mold From Boat Seats

    Common Types Of House Mold

    Wondering what types of mold are the most common in houses and which ones you should be concerned about? Lets discuss a few of the most common types of household mold now.

    • Cladosporium Cladosporium is one of the most common household molds. It usually grows in a greenish-brown colony, but can also be nearly black in color. It is rarely harmful unless you have a mold allergy, but may cause minor issues like toenail or fingernail infections.
    • Penicillium Penicillium is sometimes called green mold, as it is usually dark green in color. It tends to grow in large, consistent patches on the walls. As the name suggests, penicillin is derived from some kinds of this mold. However, some kinds of penicillium mold may be toxic to humans and animals.
    • Aspergillus This type of mold is usually greenish-white in color, and may be more raised with a more cloudy appearance than other types of mold. It is not harmful, unless you have a weakened immune system, in which case it could infect the lungs or sinuses.
    • Alternaria Alternaria mold is usually greenish-white, but can also appear in black patches, so its sometimes confused with black mold. Alternaria can be a factor in exacerbating asthma, particularly for those who may have mold allergies.

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