Preventing Basement Moisture and Mold

basement moldMany homeowners make a substantial investment in basement finishing only to have their new finished basements damaged or destroyed by water damage or mold.  Luckily, this misfortune is largely preventable with good planning and proper construction.  These tips on preventing basement moisture and mold will help you to enjoy your finished basement for years to come without worrying about potential water or mold damage.

Drainage

Your basement is unique from any other room in the sense that it’s underground.  Think of it as a concrete box surrounded by wet soil on all sides, and you’ll get the picture.  When rainwater from even a small storm isn’t diverted properly away from the house, water can easily accumulate.  Ensure that your gutters are clean and in good repair, and that downspouts are diverting water away from your foundation.

One issue with basement finishing Toronto homeowners face is a substantial amount of annual snowfall and subsequent runoff water that saturates the soil.  If groundwater is problematic, a French drain could be a good option.  Talk to your basement finishing contractor about whether this could be a problem in your area, and to discuss potential solutions.

Insulation

Basement insulation has a tendency to accumulate condensation and develop mold growth, so proper insulation is critical to preventing basement mold damage.

Rigid foam board is made of polystyrene, polyisocyanurate (polyiso) and polyurethane.  It is not only highly efficient, but also keeps water vapor in its gaseous state, preventing moisture accumulation.  A vapor barrier may also be helpful.

Minimizing the Potential for Water Damage

Even proper construction cannot prevent the occasional accidental basement flooding.  For this reason, it’s still important to minimize the damage of a potential flood by selecting appropriate flooring.  Stained concrete, tile, laminate flooring and engineered wood are also potential options for finished basement flooring, as they don’t absorb moisture can withstand a certain amount of water damage.

If you’re currently finishing your basement or have had basement moisture issues in the past, we’d love to hear your own ideas and experiences.  Tell us all about it in the comments section.

Basement Insulation

Basement-Wall-InsulationBasement insulation is a necessary component of basement finishing, and can also make your home more energy-efficient even if you have an unfinished or partially finished basement.  In order to effectively insulate your basement, it is necessary to select the appropriate type of insulation and install it properly.  In many cases, it may be advisable to consult a professional for this project.  For basement finishing Toronto homeowners have many available contractors.

Types of Basement Insulation

There are several different types of basement insulation, and each has its advantages and disadvantages:

Blanket insulation is the most common type of basement insulaton, and is made of flexible fibers, usually fiberglass.  It comes in rolls, sheets or batts, and is hand cut and trimmed to fit the wall studs.  Blanket insulation is cheaper than most other forms of basement insulation, so is a popular choice for this reason.

Rigid foam board insulation is made of polystyrene, polyisocyanurate (polyiso) and polyurethane.  It is highly efficient, and also keeps water vapor in its gaseous state, preventing accumulation of moisture.  For these reasons, rigid foam board insulation is one of the best basement insulation options.

Loose-fill insulation is comprised of small particles of fiber or foam that can conform to any shape or size, and is typically installed by pouring or blowing.  Loose-fill insulation is typically made from cellulose, fiberglass, mineral wool or a combination of two or more components.  Loose-fill insulation isn’t quite as efficient as rigid foam board, but its ease of installation makes it a desirable choice for DIY basement finishing.

Installation Basics

The most important aspect of any basement insulation project is preventing accumulation of moisture in order to prevent mold and water damage.  Because an improper install is a costly mistake, it may be best to seek the help of an experienced basement finishing contractor unless you’re an experienced handyman.  For basement finishing contractors Toronto homeowners have many excellent options.