April showers bring May flowers… and lots of excess water. Since excess water encourages mold growth, it’s no surprise that mold prevention and remediation will be on the minds of many homeowners this season. And, of course, your basement — like any dark and damp space — is a prime location for mold to grow.
That said, you don’t have to merely accept that your basement will be a haven for mold. By keeping these 10 tips in mind, you can protect the structural integrity of your home and personal belongings, as well as the health of your family. Here’s how to prevent mold growth in your basement.
Address Structural Issues: First, you have to do what you can to ensure that moisture can’t find its way into your home. That means you’ll want to contact the professionals to fix leaky plumbing, unsealed windows and doors, and cracks in your foundation. Be sure to contact your basement waterproofing company, too.
Don’t Ignore Your Sump Pump: The sump pump’s job is to collect water in your home’s foundation and direct it away from your house. It’s therefore essential in order to prevent basement flooding. You’ll want to check your sump pump on a regular basis to ensure it’s doing its job. If there’s a problem, have it repaired or replaced.
Opt for Moisture-Resistant Flooring: If you’re remodeling or finishing your basement, you’ll want to think carefully before installing the floors. Carpeting and hardwood floors aren’t the best choices for this room of the house. Instead, you’ll want to choose a surface that’s easy to clean — like vinyl or ceramic tile.
Pay Attention to Gutters and Landscaping: While waterproofing your basement from the inside is important, you can also take steps to prevent water seepage from the outside of your home. Strategic landscaping can create an effective barrier that directs water away from your home. You’ll also want to focus on your gutters. Clear out any debris and ensure their downspouts are positioned in the right direction.
Clear Out Clutter: You may not think that a messy basement could attract mold, but keep in mind that clutter can block airflow. If this space becomes congested, moisture may become trapped. Although you can store items in your basement, keep them away from walls and ceilings and elevate them so they aren’t touching the floor.
Be Sure to Insulate: Basement insulation will make this space a lot more comfortable to be in, but it’ll also keep moisture out. Insulating your basement can keep condensation and humidity levels low, so don’t forget to insulate the walls, windows, and pipes within this area of your home.
Keep Plants Out: Houseplants can be a great way to breathe some life into a room, but the basement isn’t a good environment for potted plants. Not only will they not receive the light they need to grow, but they’re also a common food source for mold. Fake plants can be a good alternative if you’re craving something green and vibrant.
Remove Wood Products: Wood and basements simply shouldn’t mix. We already mentioned that hardwood floors are a bad idea, but you’ll also need to remove any other products made of wood to prevent water damage and mold. Wood furniture should be placed elsewhere, while wood piles should be stored properly outdoors in a dry area.
Vent Your Appliances: If you’re like most Americans, you probably keep large appliances (like your washing machine and dryer) in the basement. Without ventilation, the steam (i.e., water vapor) from these appliances will be trapped in the walls and ceiling — and that can result in mold growth. When installing your appliances, be sure everything is up to code.
Get Rid of Humid and Stale Air: Basements are notoriously humid, so you’ll probably need to take measures to remove this excess moisture from the air. One way to do this is by using a dehumidifier. You might also consider hanging up wet clothes in an upstairs room, rather than in the basement laundry room, or using an exhaust fan to promote dryness.
With these 10 tips in mind, you should be able to safeguard your basement from mold growth and save yourself time, money, and frustration.
Author: Austin Werner is the President of Real Seal LLC, a basement waterproofing company based in Schaumburg, IL. Real Seal is committed to personalized and expedited service and, of course, dry basements!