How to Spot Mold in Your Basement The idea of mold in our houses makes most homeowners squirm. Mold can cause allergic reactions and illness, as well as destroy property. Its pervasive, hard to remove, and difficult to spot. For these reasons, it’s important to find mold as soon as it develops, and before it spreads. Which leaves the question, how can you search for mold in your basement or crawl space?

When should I look for mold?

Look for mold in your basement or crawlspace as a regular part of checking on your house. A few checks in corners, along the floorboards, and under stored boxes or furniture can give you an early indication of a problem. Beyond this regular maintenance, though, one of the top indicators to search for mold is if you start smelling it. If you sense a musty or mildewy smell when you enter a room or turn on the heat or air conditioning, odds are that there is mold somewhere in your house. Go look for the source of the odor immediately.

What does mold look like?

Before you can search for mold, you have to know what you’re looking for. Mold growth can come in a variety of colors, from pale grey to black, tinged with green or brown, or even having white or orange spots. A light stain of a yellowish tint can indicate an early mold growth. Overall, the growth can look like a mottled stain, or like little spots or flecks of color.

The texture can vary as well. Some mold is slimy, while others is slightly fuzzy, or is so flat against a surface that you can’t feel it. (Note: it can be dangerous to touch mold. Try to ascertain the texture by looking at, not touching, any suspected mold).

Where are you likely to find mold?

Mold grows where moisture is (or has been). In a basement or crawl space, mold is often found along the floorboards, around windows, around pipes, on the backside of staircases, or growing on the bottom of stored furniture or boxes. It may also grow near appliances that use water or wet heat, like washers, dryers or hot water heaters. If you’ve had a flood, mold spores may be deposited along the walls or floors, ready to grow when water returns. Mold can also grow in carpet or rug pads, and even inside insulation (especially if you’ve had a roof leak).
Searching for signs of water damage can also help you find mold, since mold grows where water has been. Signs of water damage include: peeling paint, peeling wallpaper, water stains, lingering dampness, squishy carpets or floor boards, or lingering dampness on stored boxes.

What do I do if I find mold in the basement?

If you see mold or anything you suspect may be mold, don’t touch it or breathe in deeply around it. There are some DIY ways to clean up mold, or you can hire professionals to come clean it for you. Note that some kinds of mold are truly toxic and should only be cleaned by professionals.

That said, cleaning mold does not prevent mold from returning. You must fix the problem that caused the mold in the first place – which means having your basement or crawlspace fully waterproofed. Thompson Brothers Waterproofing can install dehumidifier systems, moisture barriers, drain systems and sump pumps to ensure that your basement or crawl space will no longer have the moisture issues that cause mold. We fully waterproof basements and crawl spaces in North Carolina and South Carolina to prevent moisture and mold problems.

Thompson Brothers can also repair or replace wood that has been damaged by water and mold problems – meaning that with our repair and waterproofing systems, we can fully fix your mold problem and ensure it never happens again. Contact us today if you suspect you have a mold or moisture problem in your house.

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Thompson Brothers helps businesses and families with a wide array of services, from basement leaks, to invasive bugs, to termite services for new home sales.

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