Protect Your Basement or Crawl Space Floor Joists From Mold
We all know that basements and crawl spaces can be known for their dank, musty environments. This not only affects the atmosphere of the space, but the building materials within the space as well. Poor air circulation along with excessive humidity or moisture turns basements and crawl spaces into a breeding ground for mold development. Mold’s ability to rapidly spread under the right conditions makes it what we call an opportunistic organism. Any chance mold is given to thrive, it will do so. One area of your basement or crawl space that is the most vulnerable is the floor joists, sometimes referred to as the “basement ceiling.”
In many situations, mold on and around basement or crawl space floor joists can be easily avoided. The unfinished wood that floor joists are typically built from has the potential to hold a lot of excess moisture. The best way to mold on floor joists is to diminish moisture in the area as much as possible. There are quite a few different steps you can take in order to do this. Adding a few extra tasks into your regular home maintenance routine can make a huge difference when it comes to avoiding mold on basement or crawl space floor joists.
Causes For Mold On Basement Or Crawl Space Floor Joists
As previously mentioned, the average floor joist is built from unfinished wood. This means that any moisture, whether from excess humidity, leakage, or otherwise, can seep into the wood and cause severe moisture damage. Moisture damage can lead to mold, sometimes even in as little as 24 to 48 hours. While it may seem intimidating trying to protect your basement or crawl space floor joists from mold, this is something that needs to be done for the wellbeing of your home as a whole. In general, basements and crawl spaces tend to harbor more moisture than other areas of your home. On the bright side, mold on basement or crawl space floor joists is usually able to be effectively cleaned without needing to fully remove and replace the joists altogether.
Avoid Mold On Floor Joists
Mold on floor joists in a basement or crawl space can be caused by a number of things. These include excess humidity, condensation, leakage, and even moisture from the ground can cause mold in uncovered crawl spaces. There are plenty of steps you can take to avoid mold on your floor joists. Let’s take a closer look at a few things you can do:
- Ventilation: Many basements and crawl spaces experience poor, improper ventilation and air circulation issues. You can simply install ventilation and fans throughout the space to ensure that the air is continuing to circulate. This keeps moisture from settling into porous building materials like that of your floor joists.
- Dehumidifier: When simply improving the ventilation is not enough, you may need to employ the use of a dehumidifier in order to minimize excess moisture as much as possible. Ideally, humidity levels in a basement, crawl space, or any area of the home should stay between 35% and 50%.
- Frequent Checks For Damage: You should be routinely checking your foundation walls for leakage, cracks, or any other signs of damage every few months. Staying on top of this allows you to nip any potential damage in the bud so that it doesn’t continue to spread and get more severe. Any cracks should be filled in promptly. Slow leakage can be just as damaging as more extreme water damage, if not worse. Keeping your foundation in good condition helps you to avoid any excess moisture from entering the space, potentially causing damage to your floor joists.
- Vapor Barrier: For crawl spaces that are exposed, you can install a simple vapor barrier. This creates a way for moisture that could come from the exposed earth to stay out of your crawl space and away from your floor joists. While it may seem like a small improvement, this can make a huge difference.
In a perfect world, we are able to prevent mold on our basement or crawl space floor joists before it ever happens. However, there are some occasions where this is not the case. Should you notice what looks like mold on your floor joists, a local professional mold remediation company can ensure safe and efficient mold cleanup services, leaving your floor joists better than you found them.