Anyone who’s had the misfortune of experiencing a flooded basement in St. Louis, MO, will tell you straight up that the issues they faced go beyond water damage. On the face of it, it may seem their only problem is the water damaged furniture, wet carpets, and dirt. But that’s not all. Mold, which almost always occurs whenever water gets into the basement, is likely to be their biggest worry.
Mold grows in damp and humid environments. After flooding, it’s only a matter of time before mold takes over your basement and your home. In this post, we’ll show you the signs of mold and look at measures you can take to protect your basement from mold infestation now and in the future.
What does basement mold look and smell like?
Mold will always appear as slimy and dark, though sometimes the colors shift from green to black to gray. When mold takes over the basement, it tends to grow in round patterns. A good indicator of basement mold is yellow or pink stains on wood, drywall, or wallpapers.
If you walk into your basement and are welcomed by a musty, earthy scent, you likely have some kind of mold already growing in your basement. Some types are mild while others are toxic. Only a mold expert can tell you whether black mold is growing in your basement or not.
Dealing with basement mold
Mold is dangerous, so don’t tiptoe around it or develop a wait-and-see attitude. If you notice signs of mold in the basement, it’s important to deal with it fast. Call a professional mold removal company to remove the growth and sanitize the affected area. Mold may develop on furniture and carpets after flooding. If the problem is serious, it’s better to remove and replace these items completely instead of trying to clean them. One of the surest ways of eliminating mold is tearing out the infested areas and replacing them with brand new materials. Your mold removal contractor will effectively remove the infection using commercial removers. To stop mold spores from spreading, they will use HEPA vacuums to clean up the air. And if there are lingering smells, they will deodorize your surfaces.
Preventing future mold growth
Mold tends to flourish in damp environments and regrow if the conditions or factors that gave rise to it are not dealt with properly. Your #1 priority should be to keep the basement dry. The first thing you can do is to install a dehumidifier to bring down moisture levels. Aim for 50% or less. Where flooding is a problem, we strongly recommend you to invest in an interior drainage system and sump pump.
Another thing you can do is ensure grading slopes away from your home, not toward it. Some excavation and leveling may be required. This will help prevent surface water from flowing into your home and into the basement.
Inspect your basement walls and fix any cracks or crevices. Left unchecked, these can let in water and encourage mold to grow. Depending on the severity of the cracks, you may need permanent foundation repair solutions installed to shore up your home and prevent any further leakage.
Since the basement is prone to moisture, it’s also prudent to install a tearproof vapor barrier on your basement walls. The plastic sandwich connects to the perimeter drainage and sump pump. It will effectively prevent moisture buildup and mold growth.
Rainwater isn’t the only thing that might cause your basement to flood. Leaking pipes and burst pipes can cause flooding. Check pipes that run through the basement. Sometimes, leaks may not be visible. Signs such as dampness or discoloration along your walls, where pipes run, should prompt you to take action.
Leaky basement windows are another vector that gets water into the basement. It could be the seals are loose or damaged. Whatever it is, fix the issue and you won’t have to deal with a flooded basement.
We strongly recommend that you also create a perimeter drain around your home. This will stop groundwater from entering the basement through cracks on your basement floor.
Are you afraid that the ongoing rains could cause your basement to be inundated with water? Do you have questions about mold or are you looking for a lasting fix to basement water issues? Schedule a free basement waterproofing inspection and estimate to discover what really ails your basement and what solutions work best.