Sam Ott writes for the mold removal professionals Paul Davis Restoration of Kansas City. As such, Sam will be revealing to Finsa just how to get the better of mold.

Finishing your home’s basement is always on the bottom of your to-do list, but, in fairness, it’s hard to know where to start.

Take care of humidity in your houseWe suggest starting with the most basic element of every other room in a home: what’s under your feet. 

Before you start picking out your favourite tile or a plush carpet, however, it is important to make sure that the ground is fit for new flooring. Because they are dark, damp, and cool, basements often provide the perfect environment for mold growth. By taking steps to check for and remove mold, you will ensure a safer, healthier home in the future.

Step One: Does my basement have mold?

If your basement has a musty or earthy smell, this is a common sign that mold is living somewhere in your basement. If the area has ever been flooded, experienced leakage or is just a generally damp environment, it is very likely that mold is growing nearby.

When checking your basement for this pesky fungus, it is important to take safety measures. Make sure to wear gloves, goggles, and a respirator if necessary. Once you have located the source, it’s time to go to work.

Step Two: How do I remove the mold?

The first and most important step in mold removal is getting rid of the source of moisture. If you remove the mold but don’t remove the source of moisture, the mold will return. After this source has been removed, run a heater or dehumidifier to dry out the area. A fan or open windows may also help.  While drying out your basement, determine if this is a job you are capable of completing yourself.

If the mold is located in hard to access places, such as ductwork, or covers an area larger than ten square feet, you may need to call in a professional. If you think the work is something you can handle, start the removal process as soon as your area is dry.

Before you start the removal process, however, it is VERY important that you find out what type of mold you are dealing with. Some molds, such as black mold, are more toxic than others. If you find that your home contains a highly toxic mold, contact a professional before going any further.

If the source of moisture came from flooding, it is necessary to bleach the area to make sure all bacteria is eliminated. If this is not the case, however, then bleach is not needed.

For smaller areas, use straight vinegar. For larger areas, mix borax and water. Scrub the floors, making sure to consistently clean the brush in a new solution.

Once you are sure you have removed all that you can, clean the floor multiple times with fresh water. It is better to wipe down the floor with clean water more times than needed, rather than risking leaving mold residue left over after all your hard work. After you have thoroughly cleaned your basement floor, let the dampness from your cleaning dry. If you don’t properly dry the area, the problem will just come back in a day or two.

Step Three: Find the floor for you

Congratulations! You are now ready to pick out that beautiful flooring you have been dreaming about. Be careful when choosing flooring for your basement, as some choices are better than others. If your basement floor has proven to have natural moisture problems, choosing laminate or wood would not be a good idea. Both tend to absorb water, which would quickly become a problem. Resilient vinyl or engineered wood are both common choices for basement flooring because they are not affected by the moisture and are generally low maintenance. If moisture does not affect your basement, carpet will help warm your space, making it seem more inviting to guests.