Reduce in-home mold

While rainfall has been bleak so far this year, the amount of snowfall throughout the spring months combined with one day’s deluge of rainfall in the spring or summer months could result in basement seepage, causing home- and health-damaging mold.

Contrary to popular belief, flooding does not need to happen for mold to begin to grow. In fact, mold can start with a modest amount of dampness or seepage, or highly elevated humidity levels. With the presence of moisture, mold can begin to grow in as little as 24 to 48 hours. Mold can grow on all building materials, including drywall, paneling, wood, and carpeting, and will consume any material as it grows.

Mold can severely damage a home, leading to expensive repair costs that are generally not covered by homeowners’ insurance. If the mold problem is neglected, it will greatly reduce the resale value of the property, according to U.S. Waterproofing, a full-service basement waterproofing company offering permanent solutions for almost all causes of basement seepage. Additionally, mold exposure can negatively affect the health of individuals, especially those who already suffer from allergies and/or asthma.

Seepage is the passage of ground water into a basement or crawl space. Water enters through openings in the walls or floor. It is typically driven by environmental factors; owners may notice seepage after a snowmelt or rainfall. Neglecting to clean the gutters and downspouts can contribute to improper drainage of water from the roof, creating a water problem that may not normally occur.

Homeowners can make the following simple inspection steps to check for signs of mold or mildew:

Check crawl spaces for dampness or standing water;

Look for condensation forming around windows and on the foundation on walls;

Check for a musty or moldy smell;

Ensure the sub-pump is working properly;

Check for discolored wood baseboard trim along at the bottom of the finished walls in the basement or effloresce (white powdery deposits) on the foundation walls;

Look for cracks in the foundation walls (stains adjacent to cracks are signs of previous seepage); and

Check for black stains on objects, which confirms household mold.

According to U.S. Waterproofing, remediation is only part of the cure to the mold problem, as remediation alone will not keep it from coming back. To fully kill mold and prevent it from returning, the source of moisture must be taken away. Fixing a seepage problem in the basement can eliminate water from the equation; choosing a method that stops (seals off) the water from the exterior is the best solution when mold is a concern.

U.S. Waterproofing provides free consultation regarding seepage problems. In some cases, the problem is “above grade” such as with the windows, siding, brick, roof or a guttering system. While U.S. Waterproofing cannot correct those particular problems, they can provide guidance in how to solve them. U.S. Waterproofing can provide a written estimate for correcting a “below grade” foundation-related seepage problem.

U.S. Waterproofing is a full-service basement waterproofing company offering permanent solutions for almost all causes of basement seepage. With more than 200,000 dry basements to its credit, the company services residential and business owners in Northern Illinois, Northwest Indiana, and Southern Wisconsin. U.S. Waterproofing is affiliated with the Better Business Bureau (BBB) and National Association of the Remodeling Industry (NARI). For more information on their services, history and management, visit

From the July 6-12, 2005, issue

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