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Question DetailsAsked on 9/22/2011

What's the best way to deal with mold in the basement - do it yourself or professional?

I have quite a bit of mold growing on some sheet rock panels that a friend put up about 5 years ago in order to store some of his belongings here. The friend is long gone but the mold has moved in and only seems to be in that one area of the basement. Most of the mold is white & fuzzy but a small amount is the black mold. The basement does leak when the ground water is at a high level - water seeps through the walls & up through the floor.Type here...

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Voted Best Answer

Call in the professionals.

There is no sense addressing the mold issue until you resolve the basement leaks.

High ground water that is seeping into your basement is going to lead to long term, serious damage to your foundation and basement walls. Any mold you remove will just keep coming back. The first question is the age of the home and whether or not you have working perimeter drain tile installed. If you home is pretty old (30+ years) it is possible you do not have a drainiage system, or the system is clogged / deteriorated beyond function. For a newer home, perimeter drain tile was a requirement, but doesn't mean it was installed properly.

I recommend you hire a licensed architect to review your house's construction, the site and look for indications that a drainage system is in place and functioning. They should be able to find out where the drain comes out, and to check it (after a rain or by doing a water test) to see if it is working. If it is working, it is possible your system is undersized or only failing in a specific area. It is also possible a second, lower water table exists that is below your current drain system. A site change, to change the current flow of ground water or above ground water may resolve your issue as well. Something as simple as a new drainage ditch, retention pond or higher grades around your building may resolve your issue.

Working with a professional will prevent you from worrying about a 'draingage expert' recommending a high cost repair when another option may be available.

Some drainage people will propose installing a new perimiter drain inside your basement walls. This system gets the water that gets through the walls and under the floor, and carries it back out. This is a last ditch idea. The best method, to solve the issue for good, is to dig back down to your footers, repair the waterproofing on the wall, then place drainage board over it (this protects the waterproofing while allowing moisture a travel path to your drain tile). Then place gravel fill with geo-fabric over it, then backfill. Now, no matter how much water you have in your ground, it will be directed away from your basement.

A sump pump in the basement to handle flooding or low water tables below your basement slab will augment this system.

Once you have the moisture issue resolved, then worry about stopping mold. In the interim, any materials that are growing mold need to be removed (use protective measures). Make sure you run a dehumidifier at all times and keep air moving by turning on the basement hvac vents or putting some fans in the area.

Working with a licensed architect will help ensure you pinpoint the exact problem, and have a knowledgable person to discuss the options with before doing any costly work. The architect will also be able to assist with finding contractors and overseeing that the work is installed correctly (It is worthless to redo the drainage if any one area is not done correctly). Good luck.


Answered 9 years ago by Kenny Johnson


My sister who lives in NH had that problem they had a company come in and cut the floor and put a drainage pipe the entire lenth of the house and they used paper heavey black, like they would on a drain field they cemented over it that was 12 years ago she has never had mold again.

She cleaned the mold with good old bleach and after it was gone clear coated all areas the expoxy white the walls and floors painted the walls with a good paint carpeted the entire area and to this day it looks great when I visit I peak to see looks good it was done By a Perkins Construction out of Raymond NH. Good luck


Answered 9 years ago by Bobby

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