SUPER DRY BASEMENTSTM
(We Wrote The Book On Basement Waterproofing)
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You’ve Got Mold in Your Basement? Now What?
Strategies for Understanding and Correcting Basement Mold
WALLS ARE HOLDING THOUSANDS OF GALLONS OF WATER!
walls can store up to thousands of gallons of water before ever
showing physical signs, such as this display of obvious physical
mold is extremely common
in our Northern climate. Basement mold is generally directly
attributable to a few basic causes:
of the builder to actually waterproof basement when built.
of builder to install drainage pipes and a vapor barrier under the
floor slab coupled with a high water table.
Crawl space with no vapor barrier and or coupled with wet crawl
will briefly discuss each problem and the appropriate remedy as well
as covering the basic strategies offered in our area and why our
systems are SUPERIOR
to all of our so-called “competitors”.
far the most common cause of all water problems is the failure of the
builder to apply a waterproof rated product to the wall when the
house is being built. It is a common misconception that smearing tar
on the wall protects the wall from water and is in fact waterproof.
you ever known anyone that had an asphalt driveway?
often did they Have-To
Re- Seal it?
When I was a kid
growing up two of my neighbors had an ongoing debate about their
driveways. The first swore you needed to seal it every single
year, and he did. The second one swore every two years was
enough. I can still hear them arguing now in my mind’s eye…
The sad truth is that according to the US Bureau of Standards
asphalt sealants begin to break down in only 18 months, YIKES!
You see the sad truth is they were both right! And these so called
water-proofers charge an average of ten
to fifteen grand just to dig up the basement and seal it again
using what FAILED
See Tar Has Never
Rated as Waterproof
Did you know that in
the building codes there are actually two separate definitions for
damp-proofing (tar) and waterproofing. Damp proofing by
definition means “something that helps to slow the penetration
of water into the substrate”. HHMMM “helps to slow”
sounds quite different than the definition of waterproofing
“something that prevents the
penetration of water” and further must pass a bending test
where the membrane must be able to be bent around a cylinder.
proof sealants are almost all exclusively used and installed
they are more expensive. The extra costs are what stop the average
contractor from offering you, the homeowner, a product that is
effective and will last and “stand the test of time”.
THE MOLD GROWS
produce tiny spores to reproduce. Mold spores waft through the indoor
and outdoor air continually. When mold spores land on a damp spot
indoors, they may begin growing and digesting whatever they are
growing on in order to survive. There are molds that can grow on
wood, paper, carpet, fabric, and foods. When excessive moisture
or water accumulates indoors, mold growth will often occur,
particularly if the moisture problem remains undiscovered or
un-addressed. There is no practical way to eliminate all mold and
mold spores in the indoor environment; the way to control indoor mold
growth is to control moisture. This information was provided courtesy
of the EPA in the pamphlet: "A
Brief Guide to Mold, Moisture, and Your Home"
basement the walls may not be leaking or puddling physically, yet the
blocks can still be holding thousands of gallons of water. Both
concrete blocks and terra cotta (red brick) tiles are hollow and can
store potentially hundreds even thousands of gallons of water. This
stored water often generates enough humidity to create spontaneous
generation of mold. If the mold is visibly growing on concrete
blocks, it actually isn’t. Mold’s only job is to
de-compose or break down once living matter. This means: concrete,
metal, glass, plastic, etc… are very poor mediums on which to
grow mold. Mold will however grow on the fine dust that covers just
about everything in a home. This dust, called bio-film, contains all
sorts of things that were once alive (dead skin cells, dust mites,
dust-mite feces, algae, etc...) The mold that grows on non-porous
surfaces, using this dust or bio-film, is the only true surface-only
mold that exists. When a mold grows on things that were once alive
it sends its hyphae (roots) deep into the substrate on average at
least 3/16 of an inch. The “roots” are actually the body
of the organism. What we see gathered on the surface that we think
of as mold, is only the spore or seeds gathered together by the
millions or billions. Ten thousand spores will fit on the head of a
pin, and in just one square inch there may be over a million.
This presents a serious challenge for any clean up, since when the
mold is disturbed the spores go air-born. That’s why most
homeowner and even some contractor attempts to clean up the mold
actually worsen the situation by “planting” the newly
air-born spore all over everything. In other words they actually
plant new mold problems, while attempting to clean up the existing
one! How horrifying!
MOLD USUALLY MEANS HEALTH PROBLEMS
reason that mold in the basement causes health issues, more than in
almost any other area of the home is that most homes have forced air
heat, and the furnace is in the basement. This means that the furnace
draws in air from the basement and if there is a mold problem it
the moldy air and spores ALL
OVER THE HOUSE!
fact many times I get called in after the homeowners have
spent thousands of dollars to “waterproof”
their basements, and
to turn it into finished
space. All that money and hard work, only to find mold growing on
newly installed drywall. This happened to one of my customers named
Bonnie Rembowski. She had hired a big local company and they
installed an inside system. She then hired a contractor to remodel
her basement. They hung new dry wall and framed new walls. She had
new carpeting installed and everything seemed perfect until ….
kept getting sick.
was treated for recurring bronchitis many times over a period of
about six months. Finally one day Bonnie’s doctor suggested to
her that she have her
house checked for mold.
Bonnie called me. I began inspecting the basement and I immediately
began to notice mold growing along the bottom several feet on all the
newly dry-walled walls that had just been “waterproofed”.
I began inspecting the inside system and I discovered that even
though a permit was pulled … Even though the drainage pipes
were inspected and installed properly… even though there was
no puddling or physical seepage, the system
was NOT WORKING . The reason why became apparent after we broke open
the floor and inspected the weep holes- JUST AS I SUSPECTED. The
walls were not draining
do to improper weep hole placement. Poor Bonnie,
THE BRAND NEW BASEMENT …
disinfect everything to stop the mold and help her STOP
GETTING SICK. She contacted
the waterproofing company who did the job WRONG.
They told her there was nothing they could do under the warranty
since technically the basement hadn’t leaked (it was just DONE
WRONG in the first place).
Poor Bonnie then had to hire us to fix the basement problem TOO!
Unfortunately this is not
the first time this has happened to me and sadly I’m afraid it
WON’T be the last.
DO I TREAT THE MOLD?
there are as many “treatments” for mold as there are
remediators out in the real world offering “mold remediation”.
Basement mold problems are especially challenging for a homeowner to
solve as the mold industry has no National Guides so the list of
options is confusing and often indecipherable with the average “mold
guy” promising the latest craze. Mold spores can grow at
alarming rates. One mold spore can develop into 12 million in twelve
the mold is feeding on the boards, and what you can see with the
naked eye are millions and millions of them clumped together. What
you can’t see are the “roots” The organism itself.
The roots of mold grow into the substrate at least 3/16 of an inch.
What we think of as the mold the clumped spores are actually the
fruit or reproductive body like an apple to an apple tree. You
cannot hope to solve a mold problem leaving these roots and treating
only the surface of the wood. Also, the majority of the chemicals
being used on the market today, contain known cancer-causing
chemicals and, worse, do not work on porous surfaces (every surface
in a basement).
there are three basic steps to a mold abatement:
this means performing a minimum of a visual inspection and or a
series of tests to determine the scope of the infested or problem
areas. Testing can be designed to determine the air-born levels of
mold as well as Determining whether or not mold exists and is
growing behind the walls with a wall cavity sample. Testing can
also determine whether or not there are health risks ascribed to a
particular type of mold. The assessment also involves a written
project guide called a protocol
plan which has been
designed by the Mold Inspector specific
to your individual project.
this is the actual establishment of controls to prevent
contaminating the rest of the structure during the clean up as well
as the actual clean up itself.
Also known as clearance testing designed to authenticate the work
and to verify that the mold clean up was successful. A series of air
test are performed to ensure that the mold levels have been brought
to within the same levels or lower levels than the out door control
THE BASIC SYSTEMS:
mold certifying authorities
recommend putting the basement under negative pressure. This means
using expensive equipment to suck more air into the attic than
escapes from it. The next recommendation is to remove the
contaminated porous materials into plastic bags which are taped shut.
Then to HEPA vacuum the joist boards and ceiling. Next, manually wash
all of the same areas with a detergent solution. Finally to correct
the water source (USUALLY,
Problem: This is an
extremely man hour intensive process that costs a ton of money. It
also does nothing to address the spores (mold seeds) or to address
the roots (the organism itself).
other contractors in the area use a variety of techniques that can be
broken into three main groups: the fog and Encapsulators (spray and
spray painters), the bleach and ozonators, and the franchise users.
group the fog and
encapsulators: by far the
most common these contractors will tell you that all that is
necessary is to go into the basement and fog a “magic”
chemical and then to encapsulate the mold using a poisoned mold
inhibiting paint. Many of these charlatans will not even admit that
their encapsulant is paint. Usually the paint has a heavy metal added
to it like copper or tin or zinc. Sometimes they have a toxic
chemical added to them to discourage mold growth.
problem: These contractors
almost exclusively use fungicides that are not sporicidal. This means
that they do not kill spores and most of them will not penetrate a
porous substrate (like wood). This means that when they apply the
encapsulant they are applying it directly over the moldy roots. This
is a huge no –no as the vapor barrier forming nature of latex
paints can cause dew-point to be achieved between the paint and the
wood itself. Have you ever seen what happens when you lay a piece of
plastic sheeting or drop-cloth on the ground overnight in the
summertime? Did you ever notice those beads of water or dew? That’s
because the Earth’s temperature in the summertime is cooler
than the outdoor air. That’s precisely what happens when you
treat a moldy basement with any kind of paint! The paint begins to
delaminate, and I have seen mold growing directly on Mold-proof
paint! We have had to re-treat many of these hack mold jobs in the
last year alone!
bleach and ozonators: these
contractors will go into the basement and spray bleach onto the wood.
The reason is to remove the stains; many of these companies will not
admit they are using bleach! Just ask them what the active ingredient
is in their “stain remover”, if it’s sodium
hypochlorite, it’s bleach.
contractors usually refuse to warranty their work, and they will
claim that the Ozone cannons they use will turn the spores into ash.
problem: Bleach has an ion
structure that prevents it from penetrating into a porous substrate
like wood; this means, it leaves the roots un-harmed. It also
releases a powerful environmental toxin called, Dioxin. While the
ozone cannons will destroy the chemicals off gassed by the bleach,
this technique leaves the complete root structure intact and
guarantees that if you ever have a new water leak the mold will go
right into full production, and the mold problem will immediately
contractors have bought into a “system” most often using
toxic chemicals which can harm you and your family.
problem: Often their
warranties aren’t worth the paper they are printed on as they
only agree to replace the chemicals if they fail. Usually the fine
print in the warranty makes it worthless. Often these are money
seekers who use low dollar labor as the owners bought into the
franchise so they didn’t have to work on the job (just like
discovered to my surprise about 6 years ago that the chemicals that
were being used by my so-called competitors (and indeed by most of
the industry) not only DIDN’T
WORK on porous surfaces…
which is about EVERY
surface that mold would grow on in a house. I also figured out that
most of these chemicals contain
NO ingredients that KILL
the spores (the most
important but hardest
things to kill) and also …that they leave behind RESIDUAL
TOXIC CHEMICAL POISONS that
in some case are WORSE
than the poisons the MOLD makes!
I found this out the hard way because in the beginning, believe it or
not, I used the same old
chemicals that everyone
else in the industry STILL
you know how I found out? I had three “special Ladies”
that got sick
from the chemicals I used
in their homes. I call these ladies “special” because
due to living with extremely TOXIC mold, they developed a RARE
condition called Multiple Chemical Sensitivity Disorder. Ever heard
of it? I hadn’t. I can honestly say that I thought they were
trying to get money back for a job WELL DONE. But…
I had three of them in a row, I decided to try and see if there might
to their claim of sickness. I discovered that their noses worked
actually much BETTER than a “regular” persons nose
(someone without multiple Chemical Sensitivity Disorder).
I began to theorize that maybe I was POISONING ALL OF MY CUSTOMERS,
but our “regular noses” just couldn’t smell it.
quickly began to research. Just what was in those chemicals? After
all, they were EPA approved and biodegradable. What I discovered
truly SHOCKED THEN HORRIFIED
EPA routinely approves products that contain known carcinogens (those
are CANCER CAUSING
chemicals) … I was
quickly realized that I need to do some research and change the
chemicals that I used –FAST! So I got together with some of
the countries top scientists. I met many, very, very smart people who
had already devoted their ENTIRE LIVES to the cause. I read TONS
of material about mold and the different ways to KILL
MOLD. I took ALL
of the good ideas
that I learned from all these sources and EXPERTS and...
them all together into a system
that is absolutely LETHAL
to mold but remains SAFE
for your entire family! In fact it leaves behind NO
known residual poisons that can make people sick. It cost me a
DETAILED CLEANING, IS OFTEN OVERLOOKED BY MOST MOLD-CLEANING
System: The first thing we do
is isolate the basement from the rest of the house. Next we SATURATE
all of the moldy trusses and sheathing with a disinfectant the uses
the amazing power of Hydrogen Peroxide nature’s miracle
disinfectant. The reason we start with this is when mold is senses it
is being attacked it releases its spore into the air, a phenomenon
called bursting or sporulation. Hydrogen Peroxide is unique among the
mold killing chemicals as it is the only liquid I know that will
completely destroy a spore (mold seed).
way we kill the spores before they can spread all over. Next we
apply the stain removing solution. This is absolutely a must, because
while truly only cosmetic in nature, failure to apply the stain
remover will result in untrained eyes (home inspectors) believing
that the mold is still active. Next and most important to the
warranty and long term efficacy of the process we actually impregnate
the wood with an environmentally friendly solution of borate called
ENVIROTECH WP. This is made from extremely finely ground and
specially designed for dissolving borax a cousin to the old fashioned
20 mule team we use in our laundry. This product is absolutely
amazing. It was designed to penetrate the substrate a full inch
(remember mold roots only grow 3/16’s of an inch into the
wood). It not only prevents all hosts of decay and dry rot fungi but
it also prevents wood boring insects carpenter ants and termites.
Imagine you get a complete two for one bonus mold proofing and bug
proofing in one fell swoop! Then we even dry fog the powdered
ENVIROTECH WP all over the insulation. Lastly…
discovered that the scientists at Los Alamos national laboratory have
extensively studied how to decontaminate a civil facility like a
house that has been contaminated by a spore based pathogen like toxic
scientists concluded that if you only follow the guidelines
recommended for mold that you will leave the structure contaminated
with spore. They conclude that in order to fully decontaminate the
structure/ area it is absolutely necessary to fill it full of toxic
levels of a reactive gas like ozone. While other mold guys are still
using poisonous ozone gas we use a specialty gas called ARAN. Which
is a gas made of isotopes of pure oxygen that go all the way up to
which is far more reactive and far less poisonous to people. This
gas penetrate the nooks and crannies and crevices in the attic where
the liquid based chemicals/products can’t penetrate
guaranteeing the destruction of any spores we remediators might have
missed because we can’t
see them (ten thousand
spore can fit on the head of a pin).
we fog out our staging areas and any other areas of the property
we’ve utilized guaranteeing we completely eliminate all threats
Kill the mold with a special Hydrogen Peroxide based disinfectant.
eliminate the stains.
impregnate the wood and insulation with a non-toxic borate solution
that prevents: mold, wood borers, carpenter ants, and termites.
gas out the rest of the basement to eliminate the spore we missed.
process is far more effective, and contains more steps than any other
company in Cleveland. We are so sure of the process, we offer the
very best warrantees in the industry to protect both your home and
what some of our friends have had to say!
are a large Fanny Mae / R.E.O. brokerage. When we have a mold house
we call Mold Solutions. Over the years they have immediately
responded every time we have asked and if the work is ordered, they
can complete even extremely large projects quickly and safely. We
trust them so much Matt had them waterproof his OWN
and Kelli Beckett Realty Executive Decisions, Columbus, Ohio
time I have a mold problem or a wet basement I call Mold Solutions.
Their immediate response and Best Price Guarantee has helped me many
They have even called potential buyers for me long after the clean up
and explained their process to ease fears and help me complete the
Fatobene, Principi Realty, Warren, Ohio
Many Times Have You Heard Of Mold Re-occurring After Expensive
Basements STILL leaking following invasive excavations and COSTLY
water-proofing projects? Learn How
To Protect Yourself from Liability
With The Best
In The Industry.
offer 2 extremely powerful guarantees:
CLAD 7 YEAR “No Hidden Clause” SERVICE WARRANTY:
warrant that NO
on any areas treated with Borate inhibitor for SEVEN
Warranty is subject to the correction of the existing water problem.
so confident in our process that if mold grows back on borate treated
areas we’ll will buy you a $1000 dollar US Saving Bond and
area at NO
additional UN-RELATED water damage occurs.
competitor possesses our techniques or our commitment to customer
satisfaction and quality. If price is the ONLY important factor to
guarantee to BEAT
other contractor’s price by 15% if it is itemized and will be
Contractor reserves the right to refrain if recommendations and scope
of work are inadequate to solve problem.
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