Prevent Mold in the Basement
LESLIE: Heading over to my neck of the woods, Long Island, New York to chat with Steve about moisture. What can we do for you?STEVE: My wife and I are about to purchase a home that, you know, the previous owners had a flood in the basement from plumbing.
TOM and LESLIE: OK.STEVE: And that was repaired. However, they have carpet in their basement and, apparently, the flood happened about six months ago.
STEVE: And we had a mold inspection done and there was some mold found in the basement. I was wondering if you could offer some advice as the best way to remediate that?
TOM: First, get rid of the carpet.
LESLIE: Yeah. That carpet that was ruined is still there? Get it out.
TOM: Carpet in the basement is a really bad idea, Steve, because it’s essentially mold food. You know, not only can the backing be food for mold but all the dust and the dirt that gets stuck in carpet is great food for mold; so it’s a really unhealthy material to have in a below-grade room.
LESLIE: So get rid of that; think about an alternative flooring for the basement. A great option is laminate, just because it’s made for high-moisture environments. I mean, it’s sitting on a concrete sub-floor, you’re going to get constant moisture wicking through; so get something that’s not going to produce mold when exposed to those moist situations – laminate flooring.
If you’re dead set on having some sort of hardwood, you can go with an engineered hardwood because the base of that is actually made from sort of a plywood material that’s alternating layers of the graining on the wood, so it makes it structurally stable for a moist environment and then there’s a thin veneer on top that actually is that hardwood that you like – or tile. And then you can always sort of warm up the area with area rugs, throw rugs, bring your color in there.
And then you really want to look at the outside-in to control moisture. You want to look at your gutters and your downspouts. You want to make sure that there are enough gutters on the house and that the downspouts are free-flowing and you want to make sure that where those downspouts deposit the water is not right up against your foundation wall. You want those downspouts to go out three feet, however far; bury them, get them away from the foundation and get that water away.