Causes and Solutions of Basement Mold



How to identify & resolve basement mold issues

Why basements are problematic

Basements are prone to musty odors and mold growth.  This isn’t surprising.  If you dig a giant hole in rain soaked dirt, the water will quickly fill the cavity.  We really shouldn’t be surprised when water enters our basements – instead, we ought be amazed it doesn’t happen every week.  In the Pacific Northwest, a basement is essentially a concrete boat attempting to float in a muddy pond…  It can work, but we shouldn’t be startled by the challenge and can fix or prevent basement mold.

Moisture wants to move from areas of high concentration to low concentration.  If the soil surround your home is wet and your basement is not, the laws of physics are compelling the water to enter your home. 

Basement mold is often the result of a source of moisture — leaky foundations or condensation from appliances are typical culprits. One of the first steps in the prevention of basement mold is to ensure that your basement is free of any moisture and doesn’t support a damp, humid environment where mold can thrive.

Similarities of Bacteria and Mold

Both bacteria and mold survive in moist places. They can reproduce asexually and proliferate rapidly. Especially if the environment is favorable.

This is the reason antibacterial and anti-fungal soaps were created—to neutralize bacteria living on our skin.

These soaps cleanse the skin by killing the bacteria and they assist in keeping the skin dry. Bacteria such as mold cannot survive in a dry environment. Moisture is a key requirement for mold growth or reproduction, but the good news is that moisture is also the easiest requirement for all of us to control.

Controlling Basement Mold

Typically, in Rochester, NY many basement becomes the storage area for boxes and materials not regularly used.  So, it is hardly surprising you would fail to notice any leaks causing floors and walls to be damp. Excessive moisture is a favorable condition for mold to grow. Apart from this moisture, humid air and organic materials are contributing factors causing mold to grow rapidly.

There are many types of molds that can cause harm and they are likely to be found in any part of your basement.

The one area of your home which is less visited and cleaned is probably your basement. The best way to control or prevent basement mold is by cleaning regularly, making periodic checks for dampness or moisture intrusion, and running a dehumidifier.

Your job is to keep your basement as dry as possible.

Basement Mold Growth

Mold will also grow on any objects or building materials made of organic substances. Basement mold can be found anywhere organic materials are stored. Items such as drywall, wood, carpet, insulation, wallpaper, furniture, clothes, and cardboard boxes are all good examples of materials that grow mold rapidly under favorable conditions, like being stored in a damp basement.

It is also important to regularly check for leaks or damaged pipes. Once there is water in the basement, some molds begin growing within two days. Basements usually are dark, have poor ventilation, and often become humid when no sunlight can reach them.

These underlying factors should be addressed if you don’t want mold to occur in your basement. Because we know, if mold goes unnoticed and starts to grow there, it will rapidly multiply and begin to affect other areas of the house, worsening the situation.

Factors to Consider

You can use the simple approach to preventing mold in your basement by cleaning regularly and checking for dampness or water leaks periodically. You might also be able to detect the presence of basement mold just by the smell. Because the basement is enclosed, and the airflow is slow moving, odors will accumulate and gradually become noticeable. Don’t ignore this sign.


Regularly check the whole basement for dampness or water leaks. Repair any broken pipes or leaking joints. Keep a battery back up on your sump pump.  If you have an ejector pump, in addition to a sump pump, make sure it gets replaced at the end of it’s scheduled life. And most importantly, seek professional help if mold is discovered, Craftsman Home Remodeling will be sure all basement mold is properly removed.

If mold is not visible in your basement but you suspect it is present or you know you’ve had moisture intrusion, give us a call. We are happy to help answer any questions.

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