January 15, 2012

How to Take Care of Mold In Basements

By Roy Forchet

A very common problem facing many buildings is that of mold in basement. The area can be large, as in a basement large enough to live in, or small, like a crawl space. In some countries, the percentage of basements with problems is estimated to be at least sixty percent.

The problem begins with water. When water gets into a basement, materials such as wood, dirt, carpet, and wallboard became damp. The water can come from a number of different sources, such as rising ground water, condensation, of even rain. A small rain storm can produce enough water over a medium sized house that hundreds, if not thousands of gallons or liters can fall on the house.

Water gets into basements through seepage through porous materials, and through fissures and cracks. Once materials are wet, if they do not dry quickly, then mold spores will settle and began to grow. These spores are everywhere, though in minute concentrations. The danger is when they take root, they produce millions of spores, filling the air with them.

Several varieties of these spores are toxic. When a large number of them float around in the air, health problems may ensue. People who are most likely to be afflicted by spores are those with allergies to the spores, young children, and those of the older generation. Some of the problems associated with these spores include a running nose, sore throat, headache, and a cough. Those suffering from asthma may see an increase in the frequency of attacks.

A simple first test is through smell. If a building smells damp and moldy, or like mildew, it has mold problem. This is true even if the problem areas cannot be seen. That is because the spores thrive in dark areas that are both moist and warm. Many times infestations occur in and under flooring materials - carpets and carpet pads, as well as on the inside of walls.

If an infestation is suspected, steps can be taking to verify the problem. Some companies specialize in mold testing, treatment, and removal. People who desire such services can find these companies via the internet, in a telephone directory, or by asking around for referrals. Some people may wish to test for infestations themselves. Testing kits are available. There are also laboratories that will test any materials sent to them.

Once mold is found, a number of steps can be taken to kill and remove it. There is always the option of hiring a professional remediation company. For those who wish to do it themselves, there are a few precautions to keep in mind. Always wear protective equipment, such as a respirator rated to block out spores, gloves, and clothing that can be washed immediately.

After obtaining the necessary protective equipment, then it is time to get to work. When attacking an infestation, it is important to first seal off the area to help prevent spores from floating into uninfected areas. If the growth is on a non-porous surface, or has attacked part of the building structure, then the next step is to moisten the infestation. This helps reduce the amount of spores that are free to float. After that, as much mold as possible needs to be removed through scraping and scrubbing. Last of all, the spot needs to be treated with a fungicide, such as a bleach solution for non-porous surfaces. If the mold is growing in a wooden part of the structure, then sanding away the infected part is important. For surfaces, such as drywall, wall paper, etc., the infected material must be removed and thrown out.

Mold in basement, with its harmful effects, can be expensive to get rid of. It may require a lot of time to fight this problem. But left untreated, this problem can cause health related complications.

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