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What is the best way to clean up mold in the basement, and how can I keep it away?

To answer your second question first will help explain your problem. Mold requires moisture, food and warmth to grow. Our homes are warm, and most building materials supply food. However in order to stop or prevent mold growth you must control the humidity or moisture problem in your basement. Once this is under control most of your problem is solved. Cleaning up mold is a complicated answer, first I need to know the extent of your problem, the finish of your basement, the location of the contamination and the health of your family. Handling mold improperly will spread mold spores throughout your home in large quantities and can be very harmful. Small amounts of mold contamination can be handled with care. DO NOT JUST WIPE IT OFF! I will be glad to assist you with more information if you wish to contact me.

  - Scott

How much do you charge to test for mold spores in the home?

Costs of testing varies, testing is only recommended as a last resort. Usually a visible inspection will tell us what we want to know. I do home inspections for mold, asbestos, indoor air quality, structural and home problems.

  - Scott

How do you get rid of mold and mildew on the bathroom ceiling?

The mold growing on your ceiling is most likely surface mold and can be cleaned up with a 6-1 bleach water mixture. However, this is not the problem but the result of another problem somewhere else. The high moisture in your bath is feeding mold spores that are floating around in your home. If you clean it off and it comes back it means somewhere else in your home is producing mold spores at a higher than normal rate. Removing the drywall is only necessary if the damage is into the drywall itself. But this will not solve your problem. Put a timer on your fan and run it for 1 hour after a bath or shower, this will make sure your moisture level in that room is back to normal. You can call me at 306-861-5204 and with more information I may be able to help.

  - Scott

I have a basement that gets water in it every time it rains or the snow melts. Could I use tar to seal the inside walls to fix this problem?

Tar will not likely help. There are some very cost effective ways to help keep water out of a basement, unfortunately each situation is different and should be assessed by a professional. I do have a concern about mold in your home. High concentrations of surface mold usually means large concentrations of hidden toxic mold. It is true you must address the problem first, but I would be concerned for the health of your family.

Check out this link about mold, it is put out by independents. Please call me if you'd like to set up an appointment.

  - Scott

The inside of our garage has a lot of mold on one wall. Is it enough to take off the drywall where mold is visible, or scrub it with a mildew remover? Also we are storing some things in the garage, is there anything I should be cautious about when I bring things into the house?

Check the bottom plates of the walls for contamination and dampness. Under the plates may be very wet and sometimes hard to dry. The most important part of this clean-up is finding what caused the problem and fixing it, or you will be re-doing it again. It is also important to protect everyone working on this project, I never recommend a homeowner to do a job of this size without professional assistance. Mildew remover will not likely be strong enough to help. As for your stored items if they are stored in cardboard or wood containers remove the contents before entering the home, airing them in fresh air is recommended. If I can help please give me a call.

  - Scott

I'm putting a new basement under my house, how can I make sure everything is done right to prevent mold?

A lot of decisions need to be made when you are doing a project like this. The basement drainage system is #1 and not all contractors know the right way. Check his credentials out and ask for references. If you are trying to eliminate the chimney space in this house a hi E water heater would be a good choice, if you are looking at savings, weigh out the pros and cons. If you live alone you may want to consider a smaller water heater; less water to keep hot may save more money in the future. It is difficult to say with little information what is right for you. If you would like to call me I could help you with a lot of your decision making in the near future, and probably save you some huge headaches and bills.

  - Scott

I own a older home and there is black stuff around the top rim of the tub, as well as black spots on the ceiling corners. Is this mold and how would I be able to get rid of it and stop it from coming back?


By your description it sounds like mold. Around the tub it is probably growing on the caulking, remove this and recaulk your tub. Depending how much is on the ceiling you can probably wash it off. You must have a bathroom fan if you do not want this to return, it should be run at least 1 hour after the bath is used. Make sure that it is not vented into your attic or you will have more problems. If you don't have a bathroom fan, GET ONE INSTALLED. Without fans you cannot get rid of the moisture that is causing your mold in the bathroom. If you have mold here you probably have it elsewhere. Call me if I can help further.

  - Scott

Our basement has a horrible musty smell! There is no indication that there has ever been any water seepage, and the floor is not concrete it's wooden. What I can do to get rid of this smell?


It sounds like you have reason to be concerned. Mold gives off a musty smell while producing spores, these become air borne and you smell them. The stronger the smell the bigger the problem. Mold being air borne means these toxins are not isolated to the basement even though the smell is the strongest there. An inspection and evaluation of the problem may be in order. Don't just rip and tear hoping to solve this. We must find the source, isolate, remove and fix the causing problem.

  - Scott

I have begun a major cleaning project with my old basement. It has a musty odor, and a white substance on the floor. Is this alkali?


The white substance could be alkali, but the musty smell will be mold. I am not aware of any permanent damage from breathing alkali dust, but it can make you have respiratory problems. However the mold may be another issue. The alkali is the result of water being present under the concrete, check your landscaping to make sure drainage is good, check your sump, does it work? You can treat the alkali with household vinegar, but this is a temporary fix; you must get rid of the water or it will destroy your floor.

  - Scott

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© Lawrence Environmental Services Ltd.
772 Rick Smith Crescent
Weyburn SK   S4H 1M3
Phone (306) 861-5204   Fax (306) 842-2192
Regina (306) 546-6653   Estevan (306) 634-6653