No matter how much you may houseclean, if you don’t have a clean, healthy basement, then all of your work is for naught. Basements need to be cleaned scrupulously and checked routinely for excess moisture. If it is found, then you need to do something about it immediately. Otherwise, it can cause a great deal of damage that can be difficult to repair. If you have organic flooring in your basement, for example, it can be susceptible to moisture decay, mold and mildew.
Basements with moisture issues are more common than you think; this is why it’s very important to understand what causes them and how to detect them quickly before any extensive damage, like rotting floors, can occur. Excess moisture in your basement can be caused by water leaks from ground water, melting snow, and rain, interior humidifiers, plumbing problems, unvented bathrooms, unvented cooking areas, or even moisture left within the concrete foundation after construction. Excess moisture in your basement can provide mould and mildew a favourable habitat to thrive in, and these can be very difficult to get rid of once they start. The dangers of mold in the home are many. Mold and mildew release spores into the air that can be detrimental to the health. To check for excess moisture in your basement, you can try a simple moisture test. Simply cut out a few squares of aluminum foil and tape them to different areas of your basement where you suspect excess moisture – for example, specific floor areas, wall areas, and ceiling areas. Make sure you seal all of the edges using duct tape. Leave the foil there for 4-7 days, and then remove one at a time. If you see that droplets of moisture have collected on the foil’s underside, you’ll know you have a moisture problem. If the foil is dry, however, your basement is dry.
It’s very important to detect whether you have a moisture problem before refinishing your basement, then you can do something about it. Before you call in the professionals, you could try drying out your basement yourself and save some money. First of all, remove damp carpet, upholstery and any other material that is holding moisture. Houseclean your basement from top to bottom, using natural cleaning products like vinegar and water solution, and baking soda. How to remove mold? Research natural cleaning products and natural mould removal products online before you begin, and you will find a great deal of helpful information. The next thing to do is to install a dehumidifier in your basement that will take the moisture out of the air. Turn up the heat as well, to dry the air, and add an extra fan or two to keep the air constantly circulating. After a week or so, do the moisture test again and see what comes up. It may take a while to take care of the issue, but it will be well worth it in the end.
If you are finishing or are refinishing your basement and you don’t have a moisture problem, then be sure to install the correct basement flooring so that you won’t ever have to deal with rotting floors. The best kind of flooring for basements is an inorganic kind that will not rot; you’ll want something that’s warm to the touch, something that won’t tolerate mould, and something water resistant. This instructive article on how to deal with rotting basement floors comes from the Basement Systems website where you can learn lots more about proper basement care.*
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