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A Natural Fit: Basement Waterproofing & Mold Remediation


There’s no doubt that basement waterproofing contractors provide an essential service. By correcting water and moisture problems in our basements and crawl spaces, waterproofers also play an important role towards establishing a healthy home environment.However, if we are going to take basement health seriously, then our efforts should also include mold remediation. Today, there are still too many waterproofers leaving ample monetary opportunity on the table.

While often prevalent, mold is still easily classified as an “out of sight, out of mind” problem – even when mold spores are visibly obvious. In a still-sluggish economy, a lingering musty smell or a few mold spores here and there is less likely to stir the same urgency from a homeowner as either a leaking foundation crack or water seeping through the cove (where the foundation meets the floor). In such scenarios, that means first dibs for the basement waterproofer. As a water and moisture management expert, who better to service mold concerns than a waterproofer?

The initial reservation some waterproofers have involving themselves with mold revolves around the necessary certification, as well as reluctance to get involved in high hazardous situations or potentially dealing with contaminated HVAC systems. The severity of mold growth and the amount of remediation necessary will vary from house to house. The extent of a mold problem depends on the source of moisture and the amount of time it has been present; additional variables include room temperature, air pressure and even light. Small patches of mold visible on concrete surface will likely spread. A tiny patch today may be just the beginning of a problem (if lucky) or a glaring indicator that the problem manifested long ago.

The disinfecting of mold itself is fairly simple. There are a variety of EPA certified disinfectants that kill any mold, mildew and bacteria, usually by spraying; these products may also be applied via fogging, when necessary. Such applications are manufactured for use on a variety of surfaces and objects, including porous concrete. After disinfecting mold from concrete surfaces, an additional specialty cleaner may be necessary to remove heavy-duty stains.

Typically, mold contaminated areas greater than 30 square feet are serviced by someone with proper certification. In addition to remediating mold, certified contractors know how to prevent mold spores from spreading to non-contaminated areas via limited containment (for contaminated areas 30 to 100 square feet) and full containment (contaminated areas greater than 100 square feet). Containment includes properly enclosing contaminated areas via a polyethylene vapor barrier from floor to ceiling, while also sealing any supply and air vents, doors and pipe chases.

For contractors interested in becoming certified in mold remediation, there are several non-profit organizations that offer full training and certification. They train contractors on how to properly inspect and test for mold, identify different types of molds and how to properly disinfect and clean contaminated areas. Such organizations, including the IICRC, ACAC and NORMI, are recognized by top mold remediation experts throughout the United States and classes are usually offered either online or locally at an on-site location.

Mold remediation is a viable service that can help grow any new or existing company that services wet and leaking basements or crawl spaces. Where there’s smoke there’s fire -- and when there’s moisture, there’s usually mold.No one understands water and moisture management better than a basement waterproofer.

Your services of water and moisture control is half the battle towards combatting mold. Going full circle makes sense for the sake of maximizing your own opportunity for success while helping to ensure that your customers experience a true healthy home environment.

This piece was originally published in Basement Health News, May 2014. Basement Health News is regular publication by the Basement Health Association. For more information about the organization and membership, please visit BasementHealth.org.