Mold & mildew
Mold and mildew need three things to survive, which are moisture, excessive humidity, and organic materials to feed off of. These three things are typically found inside of a basement environment that doesn't have any kind of waterproofing system in place, or any device to control the amount of moisture in the air (humidity).
A home with mold will smell very musty (a lot like dirty gym socks), and it can be seen growing as a dark green or black fungus on walls, floors, ceilings, or on anything kept stored in the basement that is made from some kind of organic material.
Mold is visually un-appealing when it is seen growing in the home, but it can also cause many other problems, including serious health conditions in individuals of all ages. Mold has been known to cause the following problems: headaches, severe fatigue, cold and flu-like symptoms, skin rashes and irritation, breathing problems, asthma attacks, allergies, nasal stuffiness, eye irritation, and more.
What are Some Common Indoor Molds?
Where Does Mold Grow?
Mold will grow in wet and humid areas, such as in a basement with no waterproofing system, or in a basement or kitchen where there is a lot of moisture. As far as businesses go, mold is usually found in: antique stores, greenhouses, saunas, farms, mills, flower shops, and construction areas.
Preventing Mold Growth
Preventing the growth of mold involves removing one of the three things required for it to grow. This means that if you remove moisture and humidity from the basement environment, the fungus will not be able to propagate and cause problems. You may need the help of a professional to pinpoint areas in the basement where moisture is able to get inside.
How Does Water Get Into the Basement?
Water is able to get into a home in a variety of ways. It can get in through: leaking window wells (caused from a clogged well drain), over the top of the foundation (poor yard grading and drainage), through the cove joint (where the wall meets the floor), through wall or floor cracks, through a clogged floor drain, or the moisture could be there because of a plumbing problem, as is the case with a broken pipe or a sewer line that is backed up.
Once the cause of the moisture has been determined, a waterproofing contractor will be able to recommend the perfect system for your home to put a stop to the leaks.
Testing for Mold
A professional will be able to come to your home and test an air sample to see how many mold spores are present, and where exactly they are most concentrated in a home. Once this is determined, remediation for the mold can occur, and waterproofing systems can be installed to prevent leaks into the home.
For interior waterproofing problems, the following systems are typically installed: sump pumps, battery back up sump pumps, drainage systems, and dehumidifiers since they can control the amount of moisture in the air.
For exterior waterproofing problems, such as with a cracked foundation, an exterior waterproofing membrane can be installed, and any yard grading or drainage problems can be taken care of.
When you have the right systems in place, moisture will not be able to seep into the home to cause problems.