Dealing With Damp Basements

Today, we discuss a common source of mold and mildew problems in the household: the basement. It is true. The basement is often the ground zero for a massive mold and mildew infestation.

Mold and mildew, as you know, can be the source of bigger problems down the road. Not to mention, it’s a a risk to the health of the people living in the house. So it’s best to take a cold hard look at your basement.

First of all, determine whether your basement has a moisture problem and solve that first. Some good signs of this would be:

  • walls are moist
  • water on the floor
  • musty smell

The external factors of a basement play a pretty big part as well. Are the gutters and the soil outside properly graded?

The key to preventing mildew/mold is moisture control. Damp basements can be the result of many things, including a high water table, a plumbing leak, water seeping through the foundation walls, and high humidity. All of these factors can foster mold and/or mildew growth, but damp conditions can lead to wood rot and even worse, structural damage, as well as health problems.

It is recommended that homeowners make use of a dehumidifier all year round, rather than just certain times a year. Most professionals have an automatic dehumidifier in their homes and basements. These turn on when it senses moisture in the air. A good place for it would be on a shelf above an old laundry sink so it drains directly into the sink.

Here are some additional tips for dealing with a damp basement:

  • Locate and repair any and all plumbing leaks

The basement is the place where a lot of the pipes are placed. So it’s also one of the most common places where leaks occur. It is important to always keep a sharp eye and do periodical checks on all pipes in your basement. Don’t be afraid to get down on your haunches to find leaks no matter how small they are.

Not only are you making sure that mold and mildew won’t grow, you’ll also be saving yourself money in terms of your water bill.

  • Seal any cracks in foundation walls, windows, and doors.

Temperature fluctuations on a daily basis play a big part to the development of moisture. So when there are cracks in the foundation walls, windows, and doors, you’re pretty much allowing moisture to gain entrance into your home. So don’t be surprised if mold starts taking over your basement. To avoid this, be proactive in keeping external moisture out.

  • Dirt floors should be covered with a vapor barrier. Concrete floors are better.

This is one of the basics of having a dirt floor in the basement. Soil has its own temperature fluctuations that can bring in moisture into your home. A good way to fighting this is to make sure that your dirt floor is sealed or treated properly. Ultimately, it’s best to cover up any dirt floors with concrete and treat it appropriately.

  • Scrub mold off hard surfaces with detergent and water and dry completely. Absorbent or porous materials, such as ceiling tiles and carpet, may have to be thrown away if they become moldy. Mold can grow on or fill in the empty spaces and crevices of porous materials, so it can be difficult or impossible to remove completely. Spray a bleach solution on these areas. Ventilate the area before you do this.

This pretty much speaks for itself. If any moisture has entered the basement, it’s important to amp up the cleaning you do in order to wipe out any traces of mold or mildew buildup.