For many home and property owners, basement mold can be a frustrating and recurring issue. This is because basements can offer the ideal conditions for mold to thrive; they tend to be damp, often have poor air flow and ventilation, and are rarely exposed to warmth and sunlight.
If you have basement mold, there are a few steps you can take to remove this mold and ensure that it doesn’t grow back. Whether you have a small patch of mold that you want to remove yourself, or larger mold growths that require the attention of a professional mold remediator, basement mold is a household problem that can be fairly straightforward to solve.
As well as understanding the methods and means of mold removal, the effective, long term eradication of mold from your basement also requires knowledge about the way in which mold grows. If you can prevent your basement from providing a rich, fruitful environment for mold growth, then you will have won half the battle against those pesky, persistent mold spores.
As with any situation in which you need to have mold removed from your home, the cost of basement mold removal will depend on the extent and location of the mold growths, as well as the seriousness of any underlying moisture issue that is causing the mold to grow in the first place.
On average, you can expect to pay between $500 and $3,000 to have basement mold removed. This cost can be expected to increase, however, dependent on a few key factors.
If the mold growing in your basement has spread to your carpets, or has started to grow behind drywall, you will need to pay for the removal, disposal, and replacement of these materials as well. It is extremely difficult to remediate drywall and mold carpet, as tiny mold spores seep into these porous and fibrous materials.
Additionally, if your basement mold has begun to grow because your foundations were improperly sealed, you can expect to pay between $2,100 and $6,000 to have this vital task done correctly.
Many basements can experience water ingress from outside the home due to foundations that have not been properly sealed. If this is the case with your home and basement, you will experience constant, recurring mold growths until the issues with your foundations are fixed.
If your basement mold problem is only small, however, the cost of removing this mold decreases dramatically. If you have a small mold growth in your basement that is suitable for DIY removal, the average cost of remediation falls between $50 and $300.
Companies that remove basement mold
Professional mold remediation companies in your area will be able to assist with removing basement mold from your home.
When researching professional mold remediators in your area, ensure that you read any online reviews or testimonials, particularly those that might relate to the removal of basement mold. There may also be mold remediators in your area that specialize in removing and remediating basement mold.
Although there are no nationwide regulations regarding the licenses and certifications that mold remediation specialists need to hold, the National Organization for Remediators and Mold Inspectors offers examinations and certifications for both local mold inspectors and mold remediators.
Many mold professionals will hold these certifications, even if your state does not necessarily mandate that they should. It is wise to familiarize yourself with the licensing and certification requirements for mold professionals in your state, but you should always ask to see any certifications that your mold remediator might hold, even if your state does not have any official regulations.
Can I DIY remove basement mold?
According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), it is safe to remove mold yourself if the mold growth you are attempting to remediate measures less than 10 square feet in total, or approximately three feet by three feet.
If your basement mold fits within these guidelines, and you are certain that the mold growth doesn’t relate to a wider, serious moisture issue in your home, then you can safely DIY remove your basement mold.
The products and process that you use to remove mold from your basement will depend on the material or surface that the mold is growing on. For basements, mold will most often grow on concrete or drywall surfaces. Luckily, the same DIY mold removal process applies for both these surface types, and is simple and easy to follow.
Before beginning any DIY mold removal, ensure you are wearing the proper personal protective equipment. This includes a mask, rubber gloves, protective eyewear, and sturdy enclosed shoes.
To remove basement mold from concrete or drywall, mix a solution of one part dishwashing detergent, 10 parts bleach, and 20 parts water. Then, apply the detergent/bleach solution to the moldy area with a sponge or mop. Do not over saturate the surface. Leave the solution on the moldy area, and allow it to air dry.
DIY vs. professional mold removal
Besides the size consideration mentioned above, what is the main difference between DIY mold removal and professional mold removal? Is it worth the extra cost to have a professional remove your basement mold?
There are several key benefits to having a mold professional assess and remediate a mold problem inside your home, even if that mold problem is relatively small.
As well as reaping the benefit of years of mold assessment and removal, using a mold removal professional also makes it much more likely that your mold problem will be fixed in the long term.
Mold removal professionals will be able to pinpoint the underlying cause of your mold problem and take immediate, effective steps to remedy it. Failure to fix a moisture or dampness issue that is causing your mold problem in the first place is one of the key factors that sees many mold growths recur and regrow time after time.
Additionally, employing a professional mold inspector as part of the remediation process can help set your mind at ease regarding the spread of mold from one part of your house to another. Most mold professionals are trained and certified in the identification of early warning signs of mold growth, and can pick up on these early indicators that would have otherwise gone unnoticed.
Can basement mold affect upstairs?
Mold requires three key environmental factors in order to grow and flourish: a damp or moist environment, adequate nutrients, and a material or surface to grow on. Most domestic basements provide these three factors in spades, making basement mold a common occurrence in many homes nationwide.
For those homeowners whose basements play host to these mold growths, a common question often arises: can the mold in my basement spread upstairs to the rest of my home?
In most circumstances the answer to this question is: probably not. The presence of basement mold will only affect other areas in your home if the upstairs area also offers a damp, moist environment for the mold to spread to and grow in.
However, there will be some circumstances in which the mold growth in your basement represents a wider moisture or dampness problem in your home. If this is the case, then it is much more likely that any mold spores which spread from your basement will take root and grow in other areas of your home.
As mold spores are very small and extremely lightweight, they can easily be borne from the basement on your clothing, your pets fur, or even the air that circulates within your home. If you have an issue with excess moisture in your home, these tiny mold spores have the potential to multiply rapidly.
Whether it is the result of a flood, a leaky pipe, or even cracked foundations, it is important to establish the cause of any moisture problem in your home to prevent the relentless spread of mold growths. A professional mold inspector or mold remediator will be invaluable here – they will be able to identify the source of your moisture problem and take effective, efficient steps to fix it.
Is mold in the basement dangerous?
The health risks of mold in your basement are much the same as the health risks presented by mold growing in other areas of your home. For the most part, the greatest health risks are posed to vulnerable or susceptible people. This could include children, the elderly, people with mold allergies, or asthmatics.
The most serious health risks occur from direct exposure to mold spores. As the basement is not an area of the home that is often frequented, it may take time for the symptoms of mold exposure to occur. As with any irritant or allergen, the longer you leave mold growing in your home unchecked, the worse these symptoms can be.
Some of the common health impacts and symptoms that can occur as a result of exposure to basement mold include:
- Respiratory symptoms and difficulties: A blocked or stuffy nose, sneezing, coughing, and even shortness of breath.
- Eye and skin complaints: Red, itchy eyes and rash-like symptoms.
- Asthma: Asthmatic complaints and asthma attacks.
If you suspect you have a mold allergy, it is best you make an appointment with your doctor who can run a series of tests to determine whether or not you may be at increased risk from exposure to mold spores in your home.
Is basement mold normal?
While basement mold might be common, that doesn’t mean it should be considered normal.
It is difficult to determine the exact number of homes that play host to mold, but studies show that, on a national level, the number of homes with mold ranges anywhere between more than 50%, up to as many as 70%.
Given those numbers, it is clear that the majority of homes in the U.S. contain some level of mold growth. With that in mind, and knowing that basements are typically more prone to mold growth than many other areas in the home, it is safe to assume that basement mold is fairly common.
Despite its relative prevalence, however, no level of mold growth can be considered normal. The EPA instructs homeowners who notice mold growing in their property to proceed with removing this mold immediately. There are no thresholds or standards for an ‘acceptable’ or ‘normal’ level of mold growth in the home.
Can I stop mold returning after remediation?
One of the best ways to stop mold returning after remediation is to ensure that you have identified and addressed the underlying moisture or dampness issue that was causing the mold to grow in the first place, but there are also several other means to prevent any recurring mold growths in your home.
Keeping all areas of your home dry and well ventilated is key to preventing mold from growing back after remediation. A dry, well-ventilated home presents an inhospitable environment to mold spores that thrive in damp and dark places.
If you live in a climate prone to humidity, the use of a dehumidifier can also help in preventing mold growth in your home.
Can mold dry out and die?
Unfortunately, simply cutting off a mold growth’s access to water and moisture is not enough to stop it from spreading. You will need to remove all physical traces of the mold itself to guarantee that it will not continue to grow and spread.
Mold does not die once it dries out – it simply becomes inactive. As such, an inactive mold growth will very quickly become an active mold growth once it regains access to water.
Effective mold removal is a two-pronged process. It involves both the removal of the mold itself, and the resolution of moisture and dampness issues that give rise to mold. The two go hand in hand, and will both need to be performed to guarantee the long term removal of mold in your home.
Does insurance cover mold in the basement?
If you have basement mold that has grown as a result of an unforeseen or non-preventable accident, then it will likely be covered by your homeowners insurance.
However, if you have mold growing in your basement that has simply sprung up through neglect or poor maintenance, then it will very likely not be covered by your homeowners insurance.
If you live in an area or environment that is prone to mold growths, then always make sure to check your insurance disclosure statement to determine what is and what isn’t covered, and take the necessary steps to ensure you are not out of pocket as a result of basement mold in your home.