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Old 02-10-2013, 11:40 AM   #1
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Hello All, little help with basement mold problem? :)


Hello all, this is my first post on the forum glad to be here!

I bought my house in July 2012 in Buffalo NY. Its a small brick ranch with what could be a nice basement if not for the mold problem I'm having. When I first moved in there was mold/mildew on the masonry walls so I looked up what to do and I scraped every inch of mold off the walls with a wire brush and scrubbed them with a bleach and water mix. I wanted to use Drylok to seal the walls but they've been painted numerous times already. I ended up using Kilz 2 which is supposed to prevent mold and mildew growth.

So, next I wanted to know what was causing the mold and found out it was a humidity problem. So I went out and purchased a dehumidifier and kept the humidity below 50. Now, its winter, the relative humidity down there is about 30-40 each day and I was told mold cannot grow in these conditions, however.......its back. on all 4 walls. What is going on here? I'd like to partially finish this basement and make it livable since my house is very small and this is the biggest space. But this mold issue needs to be solved. Any tips on what I can do? Calling in a specialist is probably not an option for me as I'm on a very strict budget.

Thanks for the help/advice, much appreciated!

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Old 02-10-2013, 12:12 PM   #2
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Hello All, little help with basement mold problem? :)


Have you done everything you can outside to move water away from the house? I am of the opinion that a basement that wasn't well sealed during construction is always going to get damp enough to grow mold and there just isn't a silver bullet to address this.

I have such a basement myself. My approach is paint all bare concrete with semi gloss latex. It forms a nice skin to retard vapor intrusion. Also I avoid putting anything up against the walls that can interfere with air circulation. The dehumidifier runs 24/7 and is plumbed to a floor drain. ( I learned the hard way to never open the windows in the spring or fall when the walls are cool but the outside air is warm. Instead of airing it out like I thought I introduced gallons and gallons of water that condensed on the cool walls enough to soak the entire basement.)

Every couple of years I still have to touch up the paint here and there and give it a bleach rub down.

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Old 02-10-2013, 12:20 PM   #3
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Hello All, little help with basement mold problem? :)


Quote:
Originally Posted by markaj311 View Post
When I first moved in there was mold/mildew on the masonry walls...
So, next I wanted to know what was causing the mold and found out it was a humidity problem.

So I went out and purchased a dehumidifier and kept the humidity below 50. Now, its winter, the relative humidity down there is about 30-40 each day and I was told mold cannot grow in these conditions, however.......its back. on all 4 walls.
mildew or mold?
Photos?
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Old 02-10-2013, 12:43 PM   #4
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Hello All, little help with basement mold problem? :)


I was thinking that the grading of the lawn around the house could be an issue as its not on a slope away from the home, so I plan to try and address this in spring or summer when the snow is gone. Unfortunately I can't get pics of the basement I don't have access to a camera currently. I guess I'm just surprised that the mold is growing in 30% humidity over the winter. I figured I may have to scrape a little mold here and there every year or 2 but looks like I won't be able to go 6 months without having to do all the walls and repaint..
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Old 02-10-2013, 01:16 PM   #5
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Hello All, little help with basement mold problem? :)


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I was thinking that the grading of the lawn around the house could be an issue as its not on a slope away from the home, so I plan to try and address this in spring or summer when the snow is gone.
Do that. Deal with the downspouts at the same time.
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Old 02-10-2013, 01:30 PM   #6
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Hello All, little help with basement mold problem? :)


I might as well ask since I'm very new to this, young guy.. first house.. how exactly do I go about fixing the grading? Do I just get a ton of dirt and put it overtop of the grass? I will definitely do it if it fits in my budget and I will surely move the gutter spouts further from the house.
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Old 02-10-2013, 01:51 PM   #7
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Hello All, little help with basement mold problem? :)


Thats what I did.

My basement leaked. Cleared clogged eavestroughs. Added soil to slope away from the house and the problem vanished. Just make sure you don't go higher then the first course of bricks on the house. You can't cover the drainage holes on the bottom row or you may find that with the freeze thaw cycle that Buffalo gets the face of those bricks may pop off.

Also, once you get the mold cleaned up, keep your furnace fan running in the off seaon. It will draw that cool basement air upstairs and keep the basement fresh
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Old 02-10-2013, 01:58 PM   #8
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Hello All, little help with basement mold problem? :)


How much did it cost you to fix the grading if you don't mind? I have 2 vents in the basement that I will leave open year round. I have central air as well so I keep the basement the same as the upstairs at all times.
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Old 02-10-2013, 02:35 PM   #9
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Hello All, little help with basement mold problem? :)


Quote:
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I might as well ask since I'm very new to this, young guy.. first house.. how exactly do I go about fixing...
Apparently no one gives these out as house warming gifts anymore...
so you'll have to buy it yourself. Do so this week.
It'll be the best $23 you've ever spent.
http://www.amazon.com/New-Fix-It-You...ref=pd_sim_b_2

As for the grading... every house is different but
a shovel, a pile of "clean fill" and a few cool mornings are the basics.
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Old 02-10-2013, 02:37 PM   #10
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Hello All, little help with basement mold problem? :)


A couple of yards soil and an afternoon with the wheelbarrow. Can't remember what the soil cost. I went to a haulage place. 50 bucks maybe
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Old 02-10-2013, 03:54 PM   #11
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Hello All, little help with basement mold problem? :)


Thanks Tarheel I actually got a good book thats just like it from Home Depot so I turn to that a lot. I didn't find anything about grading the lawn in it though. $50 is really cheap I was afraid the soil would cost me a few hundred to do. While I do think fixing the grading will help, it won't help me on 2 sides of the house: front and side along driveway. I seem to have less mold on those 2 walls but its still there and I can't do anything about the grading on those 2 sides. I get the feeling its going to be scrub mold, repaint, 6 months, repeat.
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Old 02-10-2013, 04:04 PM   #12
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Hello All, little help with basement mold problem? :)


It might cost you a couple of hundred..I've no idea. You asked how much it cost me.

You don't have to tolerate mold in the basement..nor should you.
It looks like you have a cement driveway so you are euchred there, but along the front can be addressed with drainage pipes to catch the water and move it away. Its better than just letting it soak through.
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Old 02-10-2013, 05:13 PM   #13
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Hello All, little help with basement mold problem? :)


Your right I suppose I could add some soil to the front as well. As soon as the snow melts I will have to get on this. Suggestions on where to get the topsoil from? Thanks for all your input with this.
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Old 02-11-2013, 07:03 AM   #14
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Hello All, little help with basement mold problem? :)


"I guess I'm just surprised that the mold is growing in 30% humidity over the winter."

The R.H. in the air may be 30% which is too low to support mold growth, but the water content in the masonry may be higher, depending on the drainage conditions you have. (Molds that grow on building materials need 60% R.H. or .6 water content or greater) Your cleaning and treating methods are spot on, as is your approach to dehumidify. My first thought is that you have moisture penetrating the basement walls from the outside. I will venture to say that if you weren't running a dehimidifier, your problem would be much worse.
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Old 02-11-2013, 09:07 AM   #15
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Hello All, little help with basement mold problem? :)


Open vents are not a good idea. Too much humidity is introduced as opposed to vented. Also, it is not a good idea to have your blower on continuously while running AC. When the compressor cycles off all of the water on the A coil and pan are evaporated back into the house. My uncle did this for a number of years and his duct work and vents had began to rust away.

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