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Basement Mold: Helpful Advice & Tips from The Basement Builders

As you inspect your basement, you may discover three common culprits that compromise your comfort and safety.

Water damage and high humidity cause mold to grow within walls. If you find mold, remove it and locate the source of excess water. Often you can remove mold simply by applying a 50 percent solution of laundry bleach and water to the affected area. As you work, be sure to provide plenty of ventilation and wear protective gear: gloves (made of natural rubber, neoprene, nitrile, polyurethane, or PVC; ordinary household rubber gloves won't stand up to bleach), goggles without ventilation holes, and a good-fitting N-95 respirator available at many hardware stores and home centers.

A 50 percent solution of laundry bleach and water is actually more effective for mold removal than using full-strength bleach, which is hazardous to breathe and could result in regrowth of bleach-resistant mold strains. If mold growth is extensive, you may have to replace carpet, insulation, and other affected materials. Mold is present in some form in nearly all homes, so don't overreact if you discover some in your basement.

Asbestos

You may find asbestos in your basement in insulation that surrounds furnaces and ductwork, wood-burning stoves, steam pipes, or boilers. Asbestos also can be found in resilient flooring materials or in the adhesive used to bond flooring to the concrete slab. Homes built between 1930 and 1950 may have asbestos in the insulation. Homes constructed after 1980 probably don't contain asbestos products.

Asbestos in good condition usually releases no dangerous particles and is best left alone. If the material has tears, abrasions, or water damage, you may be exposed to its fibers, which, when inhaled, can cause lung cancer or other health problems.

If you have damaged material that you suspect contains asbestos, hire a professional to test it. Don't test it yourself; you can inadvertently release more fibers. If the material contains asbestos, it must be professionally sealed, covered, or removed. Removal is not always the best option because of the risk of releasing more fibers.

Radon

Odorless, colorless radon is a natural gas often present in basements. Because it's been linked to lung cancer, radon at high levels is a health threat.

Contact The Basement Builders and we can try to answer any other questions you have - no strings attached. We LOVE your basement and want to help.