Black mold on your basement walls?

Posted by Matt Buchanan

Pretty much everyday we get phone calls from people that have suffered water damage that are very concerning. Obviously any time you have a water intrusion it is cause for concern (if you read our blog you know that’s one of our themes we beat to death, LOL!). But this particular caller revealed some scary details about what she has experienced in her home. The call went something like this:

Caller: Every time it rains we get water in our finished basement and we don’t know where it is coming from. Is that something you can help us figure out and fix?

Technician: When your basement floods, do you remove drywall and dry it out, etc.?

Caller: Well we turn on some fans and open some windows.

Technician: Yikes. Is it wet now? 

Caller: I’m not sure, I don’t think so.

Technician: Do you see any mold on the walls.

Caller: Yes, but only a couple of little spots so we don’t think it’s that bad.

Let’s take a minute and talk through all of the red flags that popped up in that short conversation.


Water-Damage-Finished-BasementShe has a finished basement

Finished basements have a lot more surfaces that can become damaged as well as become a safe harbor for mold growth. Drywall, wall studs, insulation, carpet, padding, etc. There’s almost no end to the number of places water can travel and cause problems. While any water damage to a basement should be properly mitigated, that’s especially true if you’re talking about a finished basement.


The flooding problem is constant

A basement that is functioning properly shouldn’t flood every time it rains. If it does, there’s a serious problem (or two or three) that must be addressed. Whether it’s a structural damage to the foundation walls, a broken or non-existent sump pump, poor drainage outside, or any number of other reasons, the issue must be identified and rectified. The job of diagnosing the problems and fixing them is usually done by a basement waterproofing company.


The flooded basement was never properly dried

‘Yikes’ was as subtle as our technician could be, but gosh that is such a bad response to hear. If you think you can safely and quickly remove all of the water that has soaked into your finished basement by turning on fans and opening windows, let us make this clear:

drying-out-flooded-basementThere is a 0% chance that response is going to result in a dry basement. None. Zilch. Nada!

There are entire courses and certifications geared towards structural drying. Many experienced technicians fail their required cert tests. It’s not something that you can just do effectively. It takes years of experience, proper training, the right tools, and the ability to think on your feet and adapt your drying strategies based on the results you’re getting.


Black mold is visible

mold-behind-wallpaperIf you listened to the actual call, you would have heard that the caller wasn’t really concerned with the black mold because, as she put, it’s just in a small area. Hmmm…the mold she can see is just in a small area. The dangerous assumption she has made in her head is that the only toxic mold present is that which she can see. While that could be the case, it’s usually not a safe assumption to make. Peel back that dry wall and you may discover a massive mold problem. Usually when people find a mold spot like this, they do a quick google search, find an article that tells them to scrub the area with a bleach solution and then assume they fixed the problem. Wrong! Let’s ignore the fact bleach doesn’t kill mold for a second. The bigger issue is that if you don’t fix the moisture problem that has created the environment the mold needed to grow in the first place, you’re simply putting a terrible band aid on a bad wound!


Have you experienced basement flood damage?


free-basement-water-damage-estimateIf you have had a flooding problem in your basement before, and have started to notice some black mold on your walls, it’s probably the case you have a much more significant problem on your hands than you realize. If that describes your situation, we would highly encourage you to give us a call and allow one of our trained technicians to properly assess your basement and help you get a better understanding of the situation you’re in!

About Matt Buchanan

I grew up in Irving, TX and left for Nashville, TN for college. After college I lived in Washington, DC and then in Cairo, Egypt. After coming back to the states, I spent a couple of years back in Dallas before moving with my wife to Denver!
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