Basement Mold Removal – How to Remove Mold from Basement
Have you recently experienced flooding in your basement due to plumbing issues, damaged foundation, leaky appliances or bad weather? Are you now faced with a basement mold problem too big to tackle yourself? If so, don’t worry.
While the cost of mold removal in basements can seem scary, you can greatly reduce expenses, save time and minimize frustration by hiring a certified mold removal company like Mold Busters.
We have 15 years of experience getting rid of mold in basements across Ottawa, Gatineau and Montreal. We know how to clean mold effectively while saving as many of your belongings as possible and keeping basement mold removal costs low. Contact us today for more information about our comprehensive basement mold remediation services.
About mold in basement
Basements are one of the most common areas for mold in a home. The reason for this is that basements contain a number of potential sources of moisture, and moisture is the underlying cause of all mold problems.
Typical moisture issues in basements include:
- high humidity due to poor ventilation
- leaky foundation
- leaky appliances
- leaky pipes and other plumbing issues
If you do find mold in your basement, it is important to uncover where the water is coming from. Once you repair the moisture issue, you can then move on to removing mold from your basement.
Whether or not you hire a professional mold removal company is your decision; however, you should be cautious about tackling large problems yourself or about removing black mold, as this could put you and your loved ones at risk of exposure to a toxic substance. Call Mold Busters to learn more about what’s included in our mold removal services for basements.
Signs of mold in basement
The following are a few of the most common signs of a basement mold problem that deserves attention:
- A musty or earthy smell
- Water stains on concrete walls or drywall
- Condensation on walls or windows
- Efflorescence on walls
- Bubbling paint or wallpaper
- Damp, humid air (relative humidity above 50%)
- Discoloration of walls, carpets or furniture
If you’ve discovered any of these signs in your basement, it’s worth getting your basement inspected for mold. Call Mold Busters today for same-day service in Ottawa, Gatineau and Montreal.
What causes basement mold?
Why are basements so prone to mold problems? While there are several factors that contribute to mold growth in basements, the primary cause is moisture. So how does moisture get into your basement? Take a look:
- Most basements lack moisture barriers and proper insulation, allowing dampness from the soil to travel upwards and into your home. This makes them more humid than other areas of your house.
- In summer, basements are cooler than other rooms in a home. When warm outdoor air comes into contact with the cold surfaces, it condenses, causing moisture to collect on basement walls.
- Structural problems or physical damage such as a cracked foundation can allow groundwater to penetrate into your basement and initiate mold growth.
- Leaky plumbing and burst pipes can result in major flooding, water damage and, ultimately, mold growth.
As a responsible homeowner, you should never let mold grow in your basement because it can negatively affect the air quality in your entire home, leading to health problems and decreased quality of life. It can also threaten the structural soundness of your home.
What does basement mold look like?
Many different species of mold can grow in your basement, so it’s impossible to provide an exact description of what basement mold looks like.
In general, basement mold can appear white, green, pink and even yellow; but the most common species of basement mold is black. Black mold is a highly toxic substance that thrives in wet or water-damaged materials like carpets and drywall. If you find black mold growing in your basement, you need to remove it—the sooner the better.
In terms of appearance, molds can also have different textures and profiles. Some are fluffy or powdery while others are slimy and wet. They can be flat or raised, and some even have hair-like growths sticking out of them.
Photos of mold in basement
Because there are so many different kinds of mold—many of which look a lot alike—you should not rely on appearance alone when identifying molds. A mold test or an air quality test is required to identify the exact species of mold growing in your home.
For professional, timely and affordable mold testing in Ottawa and Montreal, choose Mold Busters.
Types of mold that grow in basements
Typical conditions in basements (dark, damp, stuffy) can accommodate the growth of various species of mold. You may notice white mold on basement floors, black mold on basement walls, white mold on wood furniture, or even yellow and orange mold throughout in your basement bathroom.
Stachybotrys chartarum, more commonly referred to as black mold, is one of the most toxic species of mold. It loves wet, highly saturated materials, so you can frequently find it growing on basement carpets, baseboards or walls that have been soaked after a flood or leak.
What does black mold look like? Despite its name, black mold can also appear dark green or even grey. It can also look slimy and wet. In addition to having a recognizable appearance, black mold also has a strong, distinct odour—that musty or earthy smell we so often associate with basements.
White mold does not refer to a specific species of mold. In fact, the term is used to describe any type of mold that appears white in colour. Many different species of mold can be classified as white mold, including the most common types of mold found in homes—Aspergillus, Penicillium and Cladosporium.
As opposed to its black counterpart, white mold does not need much moisture to survive. It can often be found on damp wooden framework or furniture as a powdery or fluffy growth. Because of its appearance, it is frequently mistaken for efflorescence.
Many types of mold can be green in colour, but some of the most common are Aspergillus, Penicillium and Cladosporium. However, these types of mold can also appear white, blue or even black, so colour is not an accurate way of identifying molds.
If you find green mold in your home, you need a mold test to identify the species and determine whether or not it is dangerous to your health. You also need to find the moisture problem that’s causing the green mold to grow.
While thousands of mold species may appear yellow in colour, one of the most common types of yellow mold is Aspergillus. Aspergillus molds often appear bright yellow but can also be any other colour. Since these molds love water, they are very common in households that have moisture issues, high humidity, or water damage.
Yellow mold is a concern because of the threats it poses to human health. Various Aspergillus species such as A. flavus, A. fumigatus and A. versicolor produce mycotoxins that can cause serious health problems and even cancer upon exposure. Learn more about toxic species of Aspergillus in our mold library.
Where does basement mold grow?
Basement mold grows wherever it can find moisture. If you’re concerned about basement mold, check under leaky sinks, around leaky window frames, on baseboards, underneath flooring, and behind damp drywall.
A professional mold inspection is the best way to check your entire basement for mold. A Mold Busters inspection includes a thorough visual assessment as well as an infrared scan, particle count, moisture measurements, and humidity readings. We’re the best in the business and have 15 years of happy customers. Call us today to speak to a mold expert!
Mold on basement walls
It is not uncommon to find mold growing on basement walls—mold can grow on basement drywall, wood panelling, or even concrete walls (see section below).
Because basements are so close to the ground, they are extremely susceptible to groundwater penetration. Usually the culprit is a cracked foundation, a leaky pipe or some other form of moisture intrusion.
Before you start cleaning the mold from your basement walls, you need to identify and repair the moisture problem. Depending on the complexity of this problem, you may be able to remove the mold yourself, or you may have to hire a professional mold remediation company.
Beware though, because mold on drywall isn’t always easy to clean. Contamination can often extend behind basement walls, requiring demolition in order to achieve a thorough clean. As such, we advise homeowners to leave more extensive mold contaminations to trained mold professionals while small, surface mold problems can be handled themselves.
Either way, the mold removal process is the same:
- Identify and fix the moisture issue;
- Contain the affected area;
- Remove the contaminated and/or damaged materials;
- Clean the mold; and
- Dry everything thoroughly;
If you’re removing the mold yourself, being prepared and systematic when cleaning mold from basement walls makes the process much easier. And if you ever feel overwhelmed, you can always contact a professional mold removal company like Mold Busters.
It is essential for anyone performing the mold remediation to protect themselves against exposure to toxic mold. Personal protection equipment must therefore be worn from start to finish of the mold removal process.
Mold on basement floor
Basements are, unfortunately, more likely to experience moisture issues than most other rooms in your house. This moisture—whether in the form of humidity, condensation or water—can literally ruin your basement floors by causing warping, rot and mold—not to mention unpleasant musty odours.
Whether your basement floors are made of wood, carpet, laminate or even concrete, they need to be thoroughly dried after getting wet. If you have carpets in your basement, you must check underneath the carpet to see if the mold has spread to the subfloor or concrete floor. If so, this will require even more cleaning, as you cannot simply cover up a mold problem.
Finally, as with any other mold problem, you’ll have to determine what caused it so that you can prevent the mold from growing back. Usually, mold on basement floors is the result of flooding—whether from groundwater penetrating through the foundation, a plumbing failure or a leaky appliance.
Can mold grow on basement concrete?
Yes and no. Let us clarify: Concrete is NOT an organic material, and therefore, cannot host mold growth UNLESS dirt, dust or other organic particles are present.
So, if you’ve notice discoloration on your basement concrete floor or wall, it may very well be mold, but it is not the concrete that’s fuelling its growth—it is the organic materials that have settled on the concrete surface.
Testing for mold in basement
Detecting mold in basements can be a difficult task because mold can grow behind basement walls and underneath basement floors, hidden from plain sight. These problems aren’t always obvious and often don’t show any of the typical signs of a mold infestation.
This is why it is important to get your basement tested for mold regularly, especially if there has been a recent water intrusion or flood.
You have two options when it comes to testing for mold:
- A simple swab test for mold is a quick and effective way of confirming the presence of mold. The swab is taken during the mold inspection, and the results are ready within minutes.
- An air quality test for mold will identify the species of mold growing in your basement as well as the concentration of mold spores in the air. The air sample is collected during the mold inspection and is then sent to a third-party laboratory for analysis.
Mold Busters provides professional mold testing and removal services in Ottawa, Montreal and surrounding areas. We know what to look for, where to look for it, and what to do about it. Schedule your basement mold test today.
How to get rid of basement mold?
The key to effectively removing mold from your basement is to first understand what’s feeding its growth. If you eliminate the cause, you eliminate the problem… and that’s exactly what we’ll help you do.
In almost all cases, the source of black mold growth in basements is some type of moisture problem. Due to their location beneath ground level, basements are more prone to moisture intrusion than any other room in the house.
So, once we’ve identified and repaired the moisture problem, we can clean the mold from your basement and any other areas affected by the contamination. This step is crucial as the health risks associated with mold in basements are huge. Removing mold from any basement requires workers to wear industry-grade personal protection equipment and to set up effective containment, preventing mold spores from spreading to other areas of your home.
Finally, proper disposal of contaminated materials is a must in any mold remediation job. We take the appropriate steps to dispose of any hazardous materials safely and effectively, according to established IICRC procedures.
Mold Busters remediation technicians are fully certified and do their best to keep mold removal costs low while providing complete basement remediation, flood restoration and water damage repairs. Call us today to learn more.
Basement mold removal cost
The cost to remove basement mold can range quite a bit so it’s never possible to give a quote over the phone or by email.
Most mold remediation companies will tell you that the cost of basement mold removal depends on a number of factors including:
- The size of your basement;
- The level of mold contamination;
- The ease of access into your basement; and
- The type of moisture problem fuelling the mold growth.
A professional mold removal company should provide you a quote before beginning any type of mold removal work. It should also provide a scope of work or outline of what’s included in this price and an estimated completion date.
At Mold Busters, our basement mold removal cost includes a free post-remediation air quality test to verify a job well done. We also offer our customers a warranty for our basement mold removal services (conditions apply).
Symptoms and health effects of basement mold
Every person is different and experiences a different reaction when exposed to mold.
If you want to reduce negative health effects and symptoms associated with basement mold, then you need to avoid long-term exposure. Prompt basement mold remediation will ensure that the mold you have growing in your basement will not spread to other areas of your home. It will also go a long way in maintaining healthy air quality inside your basement and your entire home.
The dangers of black mold in basements
Black mold is one of today’s most common causes of poor indoor air quality. It’s also one of the most common pollutants found in modern-day basements and can cause a wide array of symptoms, from mild to severe. Unfortunately, this puts all of the home’s occupants at risk.
Basement mold symptoms can range in severity depending on the species of mold you’re exposed to, the concentration of those spores in the air, and the duration of exposure. However, if you have mold in your basement health risks include:
- allergy-like reactions such as itchy eyes, throat irritation, nasal congestion, coughing and sneezing;
- rashes and skin infections;
- nausea and dizziness;
- memory loss;
- poor concentration;
- difficulty breathing; and
- liver and kidney disease.
Learn more about the effects of mold exposure on human health.
How to prevent mold in basement?
While there’s little you can do about mold problems such as mold in your shower or mildew in your toilet, there are steps you can take to protect your basement from larger, more hazardous black mold contaminations.
The secret to preventing mold in the basement is controlling moisture. As we’ve seen, excess moisture in your basement can cause not just black mold contamination, but also decreased indoor air quality and the associated health risks of mold exposure; decreased structural soundness and durability of your home; pests; and cosmetic damage.
If you identify which areas of your basement are vulnerable to water intrusion, you’ll be able to act preventatively to control moisture and stop mold from growing in the first place. This may require:
- Using dehumidifiers;
- Installing a basement ventilation unit;
- Repairing damaged foundation;
- Sealing gaps around windows; or
- Replacing leaky pipes or appliances.
REMEMBER: Basement mold prevention is less about keeping your basement clean and more about keeping your basement dry!
Contact Mold Busters to talk to an expert about your mold troubles.