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How To Remove Mold From Basement Walls – A Step-By-Step Guide

How To Remove Mold From Basement Walls – A Step-By-Step Guide

If you’re struggling with how to get rid of mold in your basement, you’re not alone. Mold in the basement is a common issue that many homeowners face. It’s not just an eyesore; it can also pose serious health risks and compromise the structural integrity of your home.

This comprehensive guide will walk you through the steps to effectively remove mold from basement walls and prevent it from returning. Whether you’re dealing with a minor mold issue or a full-blown infestation, we’ve got you covered. Read on to learn how to tackle this problem and create a healthier living environment.

Why is Basement Wall Mold a Problem?

Mold in your basement is not just an eyesore; it’s a significant problem that can negatively affect your living space and well-being. When mold establishes itself in your basement, it brings a host of complications that can’t be ignored:

  1. Firstly, the unsightly stains on your walls and floors can be difficult to remove and degrade your home’s aesthetic value.
  2. Secondly, the musty smell that accompanies mold growth can be overpowering. If not promptly dealt with, this odor can spread throughout your home, making it unpleasant.
  3. Thirdly, health risks are a major concern. Mold exposure can result in various respiratory issues, from nasal and lung infections to eye irritations. The impact can be even more severe for those with pre-existing health conditions.
  4. Lastly, the long-term effects of mold shouldn’t be underestimated. It can weaken the very structure of your home, including the foundation, which could lead to costly repairs down the line.

Ignoring a mold issue in your basement is not an option. It’s crucial to address the problem with expert mold remediation services to protect your home and health as soon as possible.

What Causes Mold in a Basement?

Basement mold can grow when certain conditions are present that allow spores to thrive and spread. The following situations can contribute to mold growth:

Excess Moisture

Excess moisture due to condensation or leaking foundations creates the perfect mix of oxygen and moisture needed for mold growth. Condensation can also occur due to electrical appliances stored in the space or poor ventilation. The built-up condensation eventually creates a highly humid environment that encourages mold growth.

Leaks

Leaks can occur due to burst piping or faulty foundations. Sometimes, this is due to aging and infrequent maintenance. Hydro-static pressure caused by a rise in the soil water table will also create a foundation leak, leading to basement leaks. Water heaters can also leak sometimes.

When a complete water heater fails, significant flooding can lead to excess moisture in your basement.

Flooding

Flooding is one of the significant reasons for mold growth in the basement. Floods cause massive amounts of water to build up, leading to hydrostatic pressure. This, in turn, leads to leaks, moisture, and the resulting mold growth.

Sump Pump Failure

A sump pump pumps water out of the pit and away from your building. This helps to keep the basement dry and free from mold. If the sump pump is improperly maintained, it will not function correctly. This can cause water to accumulate around your foundation, leading to leaks in the basement and water damage. In turn, this creates the perfect environment for mold to grow.

It is recommended to test for mold in your basement, even if it is not visible to the naked eye, especially if you notice any moisture or have had a basement flood.

You can get a do-it-yourself test kit at the local market or call an expert/professional to conduct a test in your home and basement.

Read more: What does mold look like in walls?

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Types of Basement Mold

Different kinds of mold can grow in your basement, and while they all look bad, they don’t all pose the same health risks.

Mold types generally fall into two main categories:

  • Allergenic Molds
  • Mycotoxin-producing Molds (often referred to as “black mold”)

Allergenic molds are usually not harmful unless you have a specific sensitivity to mold or suffer from asthma. In contrast, mycotoxin-producing molds, commonly known as black molds, generate a toxic substance called mycotoxins. These are especially dangerous for both humans and pets.

Here are the common types of molds that can infest your basement:

Aspergillus

Aspergillus is a type of mold that is commonly found in households. It has various species, most growing well in indoor environments. While some types of Aspergillus cause allergies, others produce mycotoxins that can be harmful and require the attention of a specialist, particularly if it is black mold.

This dark green fungus thrives on moist walls, ceilings, and furniture. It grows best in humid environments but can also appear in areas with low humidity, provided there is condensation.

Fusarium

Fusarium is a type of fungus that thrives in extremely wet conditions. It can grow in areas with standing water, damp walls, flooded basements, and air vents of humidifiers. Interestingly, growing and spreading rapidly does not require a warm and humid environment.

This fungus is typically yellowish and produces harmful mycotoxins that can threaten humans and pets. Its quick growth rate makes it imperative to immediately prevent its spread if detected in your living space.

Cladosporium

Cladosporium is a fungus that grows in places with high condensation levels. Unlike other fungi, it can thrive in cold environments and doesn’t require warm or humid conditions to grow. It is commonly found in shower curtains, window sills, window air conditioning units, and bathroom ceilings.

Stachybotrys

Stachybotrys, popularly known as “black mold,” is a type of mycotoxin that can harm humans. It is blackish and has a distinctive musty odor. It is commonly found in frequently wet areas with low light and high moisture levels.
If you are uncertain about the type of mold growing in your home or basement, it is wise to seek the help of a local expert to identify the specific mold spreading through your property.
Read more: How to test for mold in your basement

How To Get Rid of Mold In Basement

There are numerous ways to eliminate mold in the basement of your home. However, before you start clearing out the mold, fix the real problem, as the mold growth is only a symptom of an underlying problem. This could mean fixing a leak, ensuring the basement has proper ventilation, and checking that any standing water has dried.
Here are several methods you can use to remove mold from your home and basement:

1. Vinegar

Vinegar is a great household cleaner that can also remove mold. To be specific, ensure you get white vinegar when using this solution. Simply pour the white vinegar over the mold and allow it to sit for two to five minutes. You can then wipe off the mold with a cloth or sponge. This works on a variety of porous and solid surfaces.

2. Tea Tree Oil

Tea tree oil is a fungicide and a terrific solution for eliminating basement mold from walls and other surfaces. Mix the oil with water before using tea tree oil and shake well to ensure the solution is mixed correctly. You then spray the mixture on the areas infested with mold and scrub until the mold disappears.

3. Grapefruit Seed Extract

Grapefruit seed extract is not only great at mold removal, but it also prevents a re-occurrence of the mold infestation. To use this solution, mix the extract with equal water and apply it to the affected areas. Allow the mixture to sit for a few minutes (five minutes should work wonders). Then, wipe off the mold with a sponge or dry cloth.

4. Hydrogen Peroxide

Hydrogen peroxide is a handy and non-toxic solution for removing mold in your home and basement. Mix with water and then spray on the affected floors and walls. Allow it to sit on the mold for ten minutes, then use a scrub brush to scrub off the mold and mildew.

5. Borax

Apply the Borax solution to the affected areas and then scrub using a sponge or a scrub brush. Borax also fights off the musty odors due to its deodorizing properties. When using Borax, it is essential to mix it properly, as the wrong mixture can be harmful if ingested. You should combine a cup of the Borax solution with one gallon of water. Once mixed properly, you don’t need to bother about rinsing the Borax solution off the surface affected by mold and mildew.

6. Bleach

Bleach is an easy-to-use and affordable solution. Once applied, you can be assured that it will kill mold and all the spores. However, it won’t kill the mold roots, so they might regrow if favorable conditions remain.

The disadvantage of using bleach to treat mold infestations is it can’t be used on fabrics or carpets. It can only be used on hard surfaces such as tiles, bathtubs, etc. It can also be toxic if ingested. If the ventilation of your basement is poor, bleach must be used with caution.

7. Concrobium

Concrobium is an EPA-approved mold removal chemical that is non-toxic. While it is less toxic than bleach, it can be expensive. When applied to mold-infested areas, it kills the mold and prevents the recurrence of mold spores on appropriately treated surfaces. It can also be used on many surfaces, unlike bleach, such as wood, plastic, stone, tile, and other surfaces.

8. High-Efficiency Particle Absolute (HEPA) Vacuum Machines

You can use HEPA vacuums to remove the mold from the walls while ensuring no spores are left after the clean-up. Regularly vacuuming with a HEPA machine in areas with high humidity will also prevent mold growth.

Pro-Tip – Always check the label and instructions when using cleaners, as some may hurt certain materials or porous surfaces.

Read more: How to unclog basement floor drain

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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:

  1. Use a negative air pressure machine to filter and clean your home and basement air. The machine filters all the air out of the room using ducting. During this process, it filters all mold spores that can engender mold growth in the right conditions.
  2. Correct the moisture problem by fixing any leaks and cracks in the foundation. If your sump machine has failed, ensure it is set and running again.
  3. In areas with high humidity, install a dehumidifier and a humidity gauge to monitor the humidity levels. Always ensure that moisture stays below the 60% range at all times.
  4. Seal your foundation using a dry gypsum wall and a primer. That way, any rise in surface water due to flash floods doesn’t find its way into your foundations and, subsequently, your home.
  5. Purchase a mold inhibitor and mix it with the paint, which you will use to paint the walls of your home and basement.
  6. Ensure your gutters aren’t clogged, and all water is deposited far away from your home. Also, get your gardener to ensure that the area surrounding your basement slopes away from the foundations of your home.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is mold in the basement dangerous?

Mold can eat through your walls and threaten the structural integrity of your home. It also poses health risks, such as allergic reactions when inhaled or touched.

Can mold grow on concrete basement walls?

Mold thrives in damp areas with a source of food and oxygen, making dark basements and even small pools on concrete breeding grounds for mold growth.

How expensive is basement mold removal?

The price range varies from a few dollars for self-cleaning to several thousand for severe infestation.

Call in the Pros to Deal with Your Mold Outbreak

It’s crucial to bring in expert help for certain mold situations rather than attempting to tackle the issue yourself. You should consider professional mold remediation services like All Dry USA if:

  • The mold is a result of contaminated water
  • The affected area is larger than 10 square meters
  • The mold is in your HVAC systems
  • The mold has infiltrated areas of your foundation that are hard to reach
  • The mold returns despite your cleaning efforts

Contact All Dry USA to address these challenges. We specialize in mold remediation and will work diligently to restore your property and prevent future mold issues.

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