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Photograph: typical mold on basement drywall after a basement flooding event -  © Daniel Friedman and Chase Falke Basement Mold: How to Find and Test for Mold in Basements

  • BASEMENT MOLD - CONTENTS: How to inspect & test for mold in building basements. How to inspect & test for moldy basement insulation or basement contents & stored items
  • POST a QUESTION or READ FAQs about how find, remove, and prevent mold contamination in building basements; where to look for both obvious and more "hidden" mold growth in basements
  • REFERENCES
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How to find & clean up basement mold contamination:

What should we do to test for mold in basements? Is inspecting more important than testing? What do we do to assure that basement mold contamination has been properly found, removed, and cured?

This document gives advice on how to find and deal with mold in building basements and in basement insulation. Our page top photo of very mature basement mold growth on entry stairs was provided by reader Chase Falke.



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BASEMENT MOLD: finding the problem mold, allergens, or other particles in basements

Photograph: typical mold on basement drywall after a basement flooding event -  © Daniel Friedman and Chase FalkeCheckpoints for finding problem mold contamination in basements

How to Find Mold hidden in basement insulation or on basement contents

Photograph moldy fiberglass insulation in a basement - it looked clean but it was not - © Daniel Friedman

Watch out: Even when there is no visible mold, don't ignore exposed fiberglass insulation as a possible mold reservoir.

A basement which was previously moldy or wet, or a basement which stored a collection of moldy boxes [image] or cartons of moldy papers and files [image] may have been may have left behind a large mold reservoir in the basement fiberglass insulation and in settled dust.

In the first photo shown here the basement insulation looked clean to the naked eye, but a history of basement flooding led us to test the insulation.

We found high levels of Aspergillus contamination in this yellow fiberglass insulation which, to the naked eye, looked quite clean.

If there is visible mold on other basement surfaces, don't forget to also check the condition of basement insulation that your insurance company, mold consultant, or mold remediator may want to leave in place because it "looks clean".

Photograph of extensive basement Stachybotrys chartarum contamination - © Daniel Friedman

In the photograph shown above, not only was there extensive Stachybotrys chartarum contamination visible as "black mold" on the basement drywall, a special vacuum test of the fiberglass insulation in this basement ceiling disclosed high levels of Aspergillus versicolor, Aspergillus sp., & Penicillium sp..

Photograph of extensive basement Stachybotrys chartarum contamination - © Daniel Friedman Photograph of extensive basement Stachybotrys chartarum contamination - © Daniel Friedman Photograph of extensive basement Stachybotrys chartarum contamination - © Daniel Friedman

These three photos of fiberglass insulation, drywall, and a wall cavity which was cut open show the value of exploring building cavities where there may have been leaks from above, regardless of whether we're exploring in above-grade level living space or below-grade level basements.

A roof leak had wet these wall cavities, leading us to test the insulation for mold and to inspect further for moldy drywall. The photos also illustrate that luckily not every building leak into every building cavity is going to cause visible mold growth on the hidden surfaces of drywall.

See BASEMENT MOLD WATER IMPACT for a discussion of movement of moisture (and mold) from a wet basement or crawl space up through the occupied building space and into a wet moldy building attic.

This article is part of our series: MOLD in BUILDINGS which describes how to find mold and test for mold in buildings, including how and where to collect mold samples using adhesive tape - an easy, inexpensive, low-tech but very effective mold testing method. This procedure helps identify the presence of or locate the probable sources of mold reservoirs in buildings, and helps decide which of these need more invasive, exhaustive inspection and testing.

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Continue reading at BASEMENT MOLD WATER IMPACT or select a topic from closely-related articles below, or see our complete INDEX to RELATED ARTICLES below.

Or see CRAWLSPACE MOLD ADVICE

Or see HIDDEN MOLD, HOW TO FIND and MOLD APPEARANCE - WHAT MOLD LOOKS LIKE

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BASEMENT MOLD at InspectApedia.com - online encyclopedia of building & environmental inspection, testing, diagnosis, repair, & problem prevention advice.

INDEX to RELATED ARTICLES: ARTICLE INDEX to MOLD CONTAMINATION & REMEDIATION

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