How To Prevent Mold in Your Basement!
The past three articles have focused on water damage:
Tip 1: Resolve The Flooding Source
Key to preventing future flooding, is to determine what was the cause. Most common causes of basement floods are backed up drains, leaky pipes, human error (i.e. leaving a tap on), sewer back ups, the lack of a sump pump and/or a malfunctioning sump pump.
Tip 2: Begin The Clean Up Immediately
Mold will begin to grow within 24 hours, so it is imperative that the clean up start as soon as possible.
Tip 3: Hire Licensed Professionals
Mold is a safety hazard, meaning that if it is not cleaned properly, the spores will be come airborne. When this occurs even more area will become contaminated, not to mention as the spore count increases, the risk of health problems grows as more spores end up in your lungs.
Tip 4: Completely Gut A Flooded Basement
The standard practice recommended by most insurance companies is to only remove one foot of drywall above the flood line. In the short term, this may work. However, this practice could result in long term mold problems because moisture can creep up behind the surface. With this in mind, it makes sense to remove all the drywall because the short term extra cost far outweighs the potential long term cost if mold develops and needs to be removed.
In addition to removing all the drywall, we recommend removal of the following: all flooring, including the sub-floor; insulation because it absorbs moisture; and finally, if the electrical panel was submerged under water, it should be replaced as well.
Tip 5: Do Not Use Bleach For Clean Up
As stated by Michael Pinto, CEO of Wonder Makers Environmental:
Perhaps the most misunderstood aspect of bleach when proposed as a cleaner or sanitizing agent is that its effectiveness is greatly reduced in the presence of organic material. To be a successful sanitizer, bleach must be used on clean materials and surfaces. This is why bleach products are used in the laundry after the wash cycle or in a commercial kitchen as a component in the third sink after the dishes have been washed and rinsed. The efficacy of bleach as a sanitizer is also compromised by heat and light. Despite the fact that the chlorine odor may linger for some time after use, bleach loses strength so quickly that it is not considered to have a residual effect that would prevent future bacterial or fungal growth.
Tip 6: Ensure The Basement Is Completely Dry Before Any Rebuild Begins
When your basement is flooded, you want to get your life back to normal as soon as possible. We empathize. However, patience is the key because clean up and drying takes time. If you rebuild before the drying process is complete, this could lead to mold and you want to avoid this. Measure the humidity level and ensure that the air is cleaned properly, verifying the efficacy of the clean up with a third party air quality test.
Once the rebuild begins, the most important tip is to…
Tip 7: Ensure That Your Basement Is Insulated Properly
Mike Holmes, Canada’s most trusted and respected contractor, believes that the most important factor in preventing basement mold is to properly insulate it because it provides a thermal barrier:
When air, which is full of moisture, leaks into that insulation, it will inevitably lead to mould. Here’s why: Your basement, like every room in your home, has its own natural air convection. The air nearest the ceiling is warmer, and the air nearer the floor is cooler. The cold air at the bottom pushes the warm air up. As it rises, it comes into contact with the cooler exterior wall and releases the moisture it’s holding. It condensates. That air and moisture — if it’s able to get into the batt insulation through a gap in the seal — will wick into the insulation. Over time, it will soak that batt to the point that water can drip down the walls and pool on to the floor….You need a thermal break to stop hot from meeting cold….So, use closed cell spray foam insulation or rigid foam insulation, which will provide a thermal break and not trap any moisture. If you’re using foam insulation boards, make sure you Tuck Tape every seam, and spray-foam all corners and joints to create a 100% seal and a perfect thermal break. That way, you’ll know that anything you do inside your finished basement won’t have to be torn out in a few years because of mould.
Once your rebuild is complete, the following tips will help you prevent mold…
Tip 8: Ventilate
Cross-ventilate your basement by opening windows at oppostite ends to prevent excessive moisture which causes mold in your basement.
Tip 9: Check The Drainage Around Your Property
The last thing you want after you rebuild your basement is to get mold again. One of the most important steps is to ensure that water is not sloping towards your the foundation of your home because if the basement walls are porous, moisture can get trapped, leading to mold. To avoid this from happening, make sure that the ground slopes away from the foundation walls of the home and your downspouts extend at least 6 feet away from the property.
Tip 10: Keep Humidity in Check
One of your best investments is to use a dehumidifier to remove excess moisture from your basement. In addition, for further peace of mind, waterproof your basement by sealing cracks in the floor and walls with hydraulic cement and a concrete waterproofing sealer where the floor meets the walls.
Questions, call us, 1-403-978-7978, or contact us via e-mail.
— MSZ Restoration (@mszrestoration) July 27, 2015