4 Tips for a Mold-Free Basement

Finished basements give your household more room to spread out and relax. Also, did you know basement remodels can contribute significantly to the resale value of your home? (Read more about The ROI of a Basement Remodel here).

But before you go on scheduling a remodel, here are a few ideas to keep basement mold at bay!

Why is Moisture Bad For Basements?

A basement is a hole in the ground.

The ground is made of soil, and almost all soil carries moisture.

Moisture is a basement’s worst enemy.

Where there is moisture, there is mold.

And if you want a desirable, long-lasting basement and a clean, safe living environment – you definitely don’t want mold.

Mold exposure can cause congestion, runny nose, sneezing, coughing, itchy throat, eye and skin irritation, and more. About 10-20% of people worldwide are allergic to mold, as are 25% of people with allergies, and for those who are allergic, mold can cause even more severe reactions and lead to more significant health problems. Prolonged exposure to indoor molds can lead to upper respiratory tract infections and exacerbate asthma. Young children and older people are especially susceptible to the effects of mold. According to the CDC, mold exposure or dampness may even cause people to develop asthma.

Besides the health issues and the nasty smell, mold can lead to extensive home damage requiring lengthy and costly repairs.

Basement mold removal can be expensive. Typically, it consists of:

      • Cleaning and disinfecting walls, carpet, and personal items.
      • Removing drywall.
      • Repairing structural damage.
      • Refinishing.

These costs could end up costing $30,000 or more.

So What Exactly Is Mold, Anyway?   

   Mold-behind-exposed-wall image     Mold farm in basement

      • Mold is a fungus that releases microscopic spores into the air
      • Mold spores love moisture
      • Mold needs four things to grow: moisture, food, air, and room temperature
        Organic materials such as dust, fabric, wallpaper, wood, drywall, carpet, and paint provide the perfect food and lots of nourishment for mold to grow and reproduce
      • One square inch of drywall can contain up to 10 million mold spores
      • Mold can be growing even when you can’t see it
      • Mold grows year-round — in any kind of home with the right conditions
      • As molds grow and reproduce, the spores float out into the air
      • Just as heat rises, so does mold. The spores are drawn upward and throughout your home, finding and landing on any organic materials it finds in your home
      • Whenever the temperature is above 40 degrees Fahrenheit, the spores will start to spread, landing and growing throughout your home

Think you’re currently battling basement mold? Schedule a Minneapolis mold inspection as soon as possible.

How Does Mold Get Into Your Home In The First Place?

It’s everywhere. All basements get wet at some point – if not from outside water, then from a plumbing leak, roof leak, or a central air conditioner problem. And once things get wet, it has a chance to grow.

When water enters your basement, it creates dampness. Dampness creates the opportunity for mold to grow.

To make matters worse, mold in finished basements (or unfinished basements) can grow even without a leak.

Because basements are in the ground, they tend to be cooler. When the external air enters the house through water diffusion, the humidity increases. When humidity goes up, the air gets damp, creating the perfect condition for spores to grow and reproduce.

How to Avoid Mold In Your Basement

At Bluestem Remodeling, we use a few methods to prevent basement mold and mildew from finding food and a place to live in your home.

1. Start with the Right Construction When Finishing or Refinishing Your Basement

      • Avoid organic materials such as fiberglass, wood, wood products, and paint; these materials are a buffet for mold. When exposed to water, they absorb it, swell, warp and distort…and then grow mold. Wood studs, fiberglass installation, and drywall are the most common materials used in basements in America, and they are also the biggest sources of food for mold.
        (One sheet of ½-inch drywall can absorb as much as 8 lbs. — one gallon! — of water weight when exposed to water. Once water damage occurs, you’ll need to replace these materials, causing you to get your basement finished all over again.)
      • Instead of wood framing, plywood and drywall, opt for inorganic materials such as steel studs or luxury vinyl flooring. These inorganic materials do not provide food for mold to grow. If they get wet, they don’t swell or warp, making them more durable in your basement.
      • Even moisture & mold-resistant drywall absorb shocking amounts of water. Mold in basement drywall happens way too often.
      • Using the right materials means your basement will be durable. Even if it gets wet, you won’t be paying to redo it.

2.  Waterproof

One of the smartest ways to defend your home against basement mold is to waterproof the space before finishing it.

One of the more effective techniques involves combining an interior foundation drain with an impermeable membrane along the exterior walls.

These systems prevent groundwater or rainwater from entering your basement through the foundation.

waterproofing system   WaterGuard waterproofing system   SuperSump sump pump - waterproofing

3. Check the Exterior

Check to make sure your gutters and downspouts are clean. Try to keep them that way.

Ideally, you want the land sloped away from your house. Check the slope grading near your home’s foundation. Make yard grading changes if necessary.

Make sure window wells are correctly installed and can drain.

4. Keep Your Basement Dry

Once this space is complete, maintaining a dry atmosphere is the most important thing you can do to protect yourself against mold in your finished basement.

Installing a SaniDry™ dehumidifier from Bluestem Total Basement Finishing helps eliminate moisture while also cleaning the air in your basement.


Finish Your Basement the Right Way

Our Bluestem team uses the proper materials to finish your basement, waterproofs, and checks out exteriors for potential leaks along the way. Enjoy a safe and clean environment and keep your basement feeling fresh and new for years to come.

For more information about how to prevent mold and mildew in your basement or to begin your basement remodel, contact us by phone or email. We’d be happy to learn more about your vision and how we can help!

Multipurpose Living Space after remodel.  Multipurpose Living Space after remodel       Bluestem Basement Bathroom with light blue vanity