What is that White Deposit on My Basement Walls?
LESLIE: John in New York is on the line with a fungus issue. What’s going on at your money pit?
JOHN: Well, the thing is I heard about your substance – whatever treatment it was. It was called Spray & Forget. And I wondered if there was such a preparation for internal use in a house, like basement walls.
TOM: OK. So what are you seeing in your basement walls?
JOHN: Well, I think I do have some dampness in the basement and possible fungus and I thought…
TOM: And so you would like to make that go away. And when you look at these walls, does it look kind of like white and gray and crusty?
JOHN: Yeah, in some areas. And it’s just a few places.
TOM: OK. So the white, gray, crusty stuff is not a fungus. It’s not mold. It’s not mildew. It’s mineral-salt deposits. What happens when a basement gets damp, the water evaporates from the – or goes from the groundwater and gets drawn into the basement walls and then evaporates out. And it leaves its mineral-salt deposits behind. And I’ll tell you an easy way to prove that that’s exactly what’s going on here is grab some white vinegar, put a bit in a spray bottle and spray it on that gray substance. You’re going to see the salt melt away when it strikes the vinegar. And you’ll know for sure that’s exactly what it is.
The only time you’re going to want to use a mildicide, like a bleach-and-water solution in a scenario like that, is when you truly do have mold or a fungus. And that’s almost never – it almost never grows on a block wall. It always grows on something that’s more organic, like a drywall or wood, paper. The block wall, I mean it’s possible you can get mold on it because sometimes you get dust that sticks to it and the dust feeds the mold. But usually, it’s mineral-salt deposits that’s indicative of just a damp basement.
What I would also tell you to do is, after you get that cleaned up, is to look outside your house and make sure that your gutters are clean and free-flowing and those downspouts are well away from the house. I’m talking like 4 to 6 feet because that will stop a lot of that water from collecting at that foundation perimeter and pulling up into those walls. Does that make sense?
JOHN: Yes, yes. I appreciate your time, man.
TOM: You’re very welcome, John. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.