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What Causes Mold to Get on Basement Walls?

Mold growth in basements is a common problem with homeowners. The dampness and coolness of basement walls translates into perfect harvesting grounds for mold. To prevent mold and mildew buildup on walls, determine the cause of its growth to ensure it is kept at bay.

Mold in Basements

What Causes Mold to Get on Basement Walls?

Mold growth in basements is a common problem with homeowners. The dampness and coolness of basement walls translates into perfect harvesting grounds for mold. To prevent mold and mildew buildup on walls, determine the cause of its growth to ensure it is kept at bay.

Moisture Buildup

For mold to properly form, there must be a considerable amount of moisture to work with. The humidity as well as presence of water, plays a part in mold formation. The Florida Solar Energy Center asserts that the vast amount of serious and large mold outbreaks take place when porous materials have been continuously kept wet by liquid water or condensation. Standing water in basements is a concern for mold growth, especially if it is next to a wall. Leaking water pipes also cause mold growth if the water drips onto the walls. Basement floods can provide necessary moisture and water needed for severe mold outbreaks. Because most basements are naturally damp, using a dehumidifier helps to prevent mold.

Stagnant Air

Air circulation is needed to prevent the buildup of mold, because it helps keep moisture at bay. Stagnant air flow usually results in greater moisture accumulation. In basements and other rooms, the Washington State Department of Health advocates keeping large furniture or other objects a few inches away from the wall. This ensures air circulation.

Mold Spores

Unclean areas are breeding grounds for mold spores, which, when combined with water, creates mold. Basements tend to be neglected cleaning areas, and thus mold spores abound. Any water or moisture in contact with the mold spores will result in an outbreak. Regular vacuuming and cleaning helps to eliminate the buildup of mold spores.

Sloping Ground

Ground that slopes toward a home or building, rather than away, aids in the production of mold. The slope of the ground determines where rainwater will collect, so buildings and houses with ground sloping inward will have more problems with mold than those with ground that slopes away from it. It may be necessary to change the slope near the base of a home to prevent significant mold buildup inside basement walls.

Vinyl Walls

In areas with high humidity, vinyl-covered walls can aid in the growth of mold. Outdoor moisture accumulates beneath the vinyl covering, thus leading to mold growth. Depressurization, according to the Florida Solar Energy Center, causes the outside air to be sucked in. This can be caused by ceiling fans, clothes dryers or supply duct leaks. Keeping inside doors open will allow for sufficient air pathways and keep the home pressurized.

About the Author

Rachel Campbell has been writing professionally for several years. Her work has appeared in print magazines such as "Ft. Thomas Living" and "Bend of the River." Campbell holds a Bachelor of Science degree in biblical studies and psychology from Cincinnati Christian University. As a garden enthusiast, Campbell enjoys discovering new varieties of flowers and plants.

Photo Credits

  • Sparkzy, flickr.com