Removing Mold from the Roof and Basement

No matter how well you clean, if the basement smells musty, the house seems unclean. Molds thrive in damp, dark places and may be the source of the problem. Often times they occur in places that are visited less frequently like roofs and basements, or they stars from the roof and then spread to the rest of the house.

Molds thrive in warm, moist, or humid environments. A basement can be a perfect place for molds to grow. Molds are most likely to appear during warm damp months in spring and fall, although they may be present year-round in damp climates. Most often there is a source of water damage that starts the problem.

The following are sources of basement moisture that may cause mold growth:

  • flooding
  • leaky roof
  • plumbing leaks
  • backed-up floor drains
  • dampness in crawl space

What are Molds?

Molds are tiny living organisms. They live pretty much anywhere, indoors and out. For molds to grow, they need a food source. In a basement this could be the wood, the wall and ceiling surface, or even dirt floors. If the surface stays damp or wet, the molds grow and digest whatever they are growing on. To reproduce, molds let loose tiny spores into the air. Wherever these airborne spores land they begin to grow and feed.

Allergic Reactions to Mold

Some people become very allergic to mold spores. If your allergies seem to last year-round instead of just during “pollen season,” it’s possible you have a mold allergy. Molds may cause a variety of allergy symptoms. They can also trigger asthma episodes and other serious reactions.

The following are symptoms of mold spore allergy:

  • headaches and migraines
  • nasal stuffiness and frequent sneezing
  • watery or itchy eyes
  • wheezing or difficulty breathing
  • fatigue
  • skin irritation or rashes

Reducing and Removing Basement Molds

Once the mold begins to grow, it will continue to thrive unless the moisture problem is resolved and the surface is thoroughly dried out. For basements, a proper drainage system is essential. It might also require improved ventilation of room and crawl spaces. An exhaust fan vented to outdoors can help to remove humidity.

Follow these steps for mold removal and remediation:

  1. Identify the area and range of mold growth.
  2. Clean all visible mold from the surfaces.
  3. Apply a miticide to the area to kill mold spores.
  4. Use an inhibitor to prevent regrowth.
  5. Most important is to reduce the moisture levels that can cause the molds to grow. It may be necessary to remove some of the wall or ceiling surfaces to get rid of the mold growth. In some severe mold situations, it may be necessary to bring in professional mold remediation specialists.

Remove Mold From a Leaking Roof

A roof that is damaged can cause problems both inside and outside of your home. Leaks are a common symptom of a damaged roof. A leaking roof will provide the perfect breeding ground for mold. Mold is a potential dangerous problem that can cause serious health risks to all who are exposed to it and its spores. When mold is found, it should be dealt with as soon as possible to prevent further damage to your home and your health.

Stop the Leak

Before the mold process can begin, you must correct the leaky roof. If the leak is not fixed, the mold will continue to grow even after clean-up. Fixing the problem may be as simple as replacing the damaged shingles.

When working on a roof take all the necessary precautions to protect yourself. Make sure the ladder is secure and you are wearing shoes with good traction on the bottom to prevent slipping. Once you have gotten onto the roof, remove the damaged shingles by lifting the edges of the shingles and removing the nails. Before laying down the new shingles, prepare them by rounding their corners with a utility knife. This will make sliding the shingles back into place. Slide the shingle into place and secure with a 6D galvanized roofing nail at each corner. Use a putty knife to smear a dab of roof cement on each nail head. You can read a longer article about fixing the roof leaks here.

Before the Mold Removal Process Begins

Equip yourself with the proper safety items during the mold removal process. Anyone involved in the mold removal process needs to wear an N-95 respirator, rubber gloves, safety goggles without vent holes, a long-sleeve shirt and pants.

Discard any porous items that have been ruined by mold. Porous items, such as paper and drywall, cannot be cleaned and disinfected. These items will need to be discarded and replaced. Place the items in a garbage bag and secure closed. Place the bag outside.

Removing the Mold

Use a wet vacuum to remove any standing water that is present. Mix 1/4 cup of a mild dishwashing liquid and 1 gallon of warm water in a 5-gallon bucket. Remove as much mold as possible with a sponge saturated in the dishwashing liquid-water mixture. Apply an approved fungicide to the area. Find out why you should not use bleach to remove mold. Follow all directions and warnings printed on the fungicide. Allow the area to dry completely. Point fans towards the area to aid in the drying process.

When Should I Get Professional Help?

If the infected area is smaller than 2-3 square metres, you can clean it yourself. Ultimately this is a personal decision; what one person feels comfortable removing, another may not. Enlist the aid of a professional mold remediator (someone who deals with taking care of mold problems) if the thought of removing the mold yourself makes you uneasy. Correct problems as soon as possible to ensure a healthy home.

You should also have a moldy area professionally cleaned if mold keeps returning despite repeated cleanings.