Mold is always connected with moisture problems. Moisture problems can occur in areas where rainfall is heavy and drainage is insufficient. Mold can grow on many kinds of surfaces including drywall, tile, fabrics and even concrete. On concrete basement floors, a problem with moisture rising up from the wet ground can cause a fuzzy, white mould to grow on the surface. Molds can cause health problems including allergies, asthma, infections and other respiratory reactions. Mold should be removed as soon as you see it, and preventive measures should be put into place to avoid it.
- Skill level:
Things you need
- Stiff brush
- Wet/dry vacuum
- Washing powder
- Waterproof cement sealer
- Cement paint
- Perforated plastic pipe for French drain
- Chlorine bleach
- N-95 respirator mask
- Trisodium phosphate
- Space heater
Scrub the surface with a stiff-bristled brush and a solution of 1/2 cup of washing powder to 1 gallon of water. For areas with more stubborn mould, the University of Missouri Extension recommends scrubbing the mouldy surface with a solution of 1/2 to 1 cup of chlorine bleach in 1 gallon of water. Keep the area well ventilated until the solution dries. Remove all excess water with a wet/dry vacuum.
Scrub area with a trisodium phosphate (TSP) solution if any mould remains. To make the solution, dissolve 1 cup of TSP in 2 gallons of warm water.
Dry the moisture out by heating the area thoroughly with a space heater until all surface moisture dissipates.
Build up soil around the foundation so that rainfall runs away from the house. Add French drains around the foundation if heavy rainfall is a continuous problem. According to the website Ask the Builder, a French drain can help divert rainwater away from the house, which helps keep basement concrete surfaces drier. These are simple underground plastic pipes that are perforated and surrounded with gravel to help move water away from the house.
Seal cracks on the walls of the basement and around the foundation with a waterproof cement sealer available at your local home improvement store.
Paint cement walls and floor with a cement paint, using two coats.
Keep the concrete area where the fuzzy, white mould occurred well ventilated to prevent regrowth, and run a dehumidifier weekly to keep moisture from building up in the area.
Tips and warnings
- A white coating on concrete does not always indicate a mould problem. A lacey, white coating can be an efflorescence of salts within the concrete that is released by moisture within the material. This can be washed away with a strong household cleaning detergent.
- Cleaning the mould with an unscented detergent will allow you to detect whether all mouldy odour has been removed.
- If ordinary measures do not stop the growth of white mould on your concrete, you may need to have new concrete installed. Consult a professional concrete contractor.
- You should always wear protective equipment when removing mould from your home. This should include goggles, rubber gloves, outer clothing that can be laundered and an N-95 respirator, according to the University of Minnesota Extension.
- The Canadian Mortgage and Housing Corporation warns those using TSP (trisodium phosphate) to keep this chemical from contact with skin or eyes.
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