Mold in Basements / Crawl Spaces
Mold growth in basements and crawl spaces are a common problem with homeowners. The dampness and coolness of basement walls translates into perfect harvesting grounds for mold. To prevent mold and mildew buildup on walls or the underside of subflooring and floor joists, determine the cause of its growth to ensure it is kept at bay.
Mold in basements and crawl spaces often appear first as mildew. Mildew’s appearance can range from white and powdery growths to black spotted growths. Mold can also appear as white, black or even green fuzzy growths.
For mold to properly form, there must be a considerable amount of moisture to work with. The humidity as well as presence of water, plays a part in mold formation.
Gutters & Downspouts
It is important for gutters and downspouts to direct rain water coming from the roof away from the basement foundation walls. Downspouts should extend away from the home. Without gutters, rain water will continue to add moisture to a basement which can lead to mold growth.
Standing water in basements is a concern for mold growth, especially if it is next to a wall. Leaking water pipes also cause mold growth if the water drips onto the walls. Basement floods can provide necessary moisture and water needed for severe mold outbreaks.
Sloping Ground – Reverse Grades
Ground that slopes toward a home or building rather than away, aids in the production of mold. The slope of the ground determines where rainwater will collect, so buildings and homes with ground sloping inward will have more problems with mold than those with ground that slopes away from it. It may be necessary to change the slope near the base of a home to prevent significant mold buildup inside basement walls.
Some basements and crawl spaces have dirt floors which allow ground moisture to continuously enter the home and affect the structure. Unless you stop this moisture infiltration, this will become a feeding ground for mold growth. Installing a vapor barrier proves to be a smart solution in situations like this.
Air circulation is needed to prevent the buildup of mold, because it helps keep moisture at bay. Stagnant air flow usually results in greater moisture accumulation. In basements and other rooms, keep large furniture or other objects a few inches away from the wall. This ensures air circulation.
Unclean areas are breeding grounds for mold spores which, when combined with water, creates mold. Basements tend to be neglected cleaning areas, and thus mold spores abound. Any water or moisture in contact with the mold spores will result in an outbreak. Regular vacuuming and cleaning helps to eliminate the buildup of mold spores.
Correct any exterior grading issues. Install a vapor barrier if necessary. Repair faulty gutters and downspouts. Use a dehumidifier to prevent mold growth and to maintain proper humidity levels. Move stagnant air and have the mold impacted areas treated by trained professionals.