Beware Of Mold When Selling Your Home

Posted in General Blog | 07/10/2012

Windsor Home

Windsor Home

Mold is a big enemy to those home owners who must tackle this problem before a prospective buyer or home inspector discovers that it is spreading in your basement faster than you can imagine.

When touring a home and walking down to the basement, you can tell immediately when mold is in the air.  It’s that musty, damp smell that reminds one of rotting leaves.  But make no mistake; once mold settles in your basement, it is only a matter of time before it spreads.  Get rid of it before you even put your home on the market, and make sure it stays away.

The Issue With Mold

Your home is not immune to mold.  In fact, according to studies, mold is virtually everywhere.  What’s interesting is that mold grows outside and only comes in the home when it is able.  Believe it or not, there are times when the cold count outdoors is higher than inside homes.

Once the outside mold gets inside your home, and it is usually unavoidable, they thrive in dark, damp areas.  The air must remain still and temperatures above freezing for mold to occur.  Did I just describe your basement?

While most mold is harmless, there are some molds considered “toxic,” even to the healthiest of people.  These chemicals, called mycotoxins, can cause serious infections, illness and at times, fatal conditions.  “Black Mold,” grows on such common building materials as sheet rock, paper and wood.  But don’t panic, because even if the mold you have in your basement appears black, but take immediate steps to rid your home of this mold and make sure you follow safety procedures during the clean up.

While most mold cleanups are something you can do yourself, the job may be overwhelming, particularly if the mold is located in areas where you may need professional help.  Not sure what to do?  Ask your real estate agent for their suggestions and recommendations.

However, if the area is small and is caught well before it has dramatically spread, it may be a job you can do on your own.  The good news?  It’s really not necessary to buy expensive mold removal solutions.  For example, if the mold is growing on drywall or on storage boxes resting on the floor, you can simply remove the objects and replace.  Don’t forget to scrub the surroundings with water and detergent. Again, this is a cheaper method that using commercial fungicides and bleach.

However, if your beach is flooded, bleach may be needed to sanitize.  While beach does not completely kill mold, it does neutralize the harmful bacteria.  Simply mix chlorine bleach with warm water (one cup of bleach per gallon of water).  Many suggest using straight vinegar for smaller areas or for larger areas, use borax and water.  Use the same ratios for the borax mixture as you would the bleach.

Saying Goodbye To Mold

So once you have determined the source of moisture, had the problem repairing and dried out the basement, it’s time to tackle the mold.  Don’t limit your search for mold to only exposed surfaces, but look in crevices and cracks on the floor and wall by the original source.  Once your basement has been cleared, and all boxes, furniture and other materials have been inspected for mold, grab your cleaning material, whether it is the straight vinegar or borax solution, and spray the mold thoroughly.  Make sure it is coated and allowed to set for an hour or two.  The good thing is, once mold is damp, it’s not likely to spread.

While you are waiting for the cleaning agent to do its work, make sure that you trash any contaminated belongings or building materials.  Clothes can be washed in hot water and bleach, and most plastic and metal materials can be washed down and air-dried in the sun, however, if you have a questions regarding anything, use your judgment to determine what is worth keeping or not.

Once you return to the basement, spray the surfaces again.  Again, make sure the areas surrounding the mold are sprayed as well.  Use a good brush on walls while rinsing the brushes frequently.  For hard to reach spots, use a broom if necessary.

Once the mold is effectively dead, brushed off the surfaces, it must be removed.  Scrub and wipe down with fresh water.  Keep going over the area while changing your water frequently.  Make sure every bit of mold is gone or all of your hard work will be fruitless.  Once the area is cleaned and spotless, it’s always a good idea to lightly spray with borax one final time.  Now it’s time for the basement to dry.  Whatever you do, do not allow moisture back in.  If you have a dehumidifier, use it.  If not, perhaps you can rent one or borrow from a neighbour or friend.

Make Sure Mold Doesn’t Come Back

Now that the mold is gone, once your Windsor home is on the market, check the basement frequently.  Mold doesn’t wait for an invitation to come back into your basement, it just appears.  Make sure the air in the basement is circulated.  If you have a finished basement, you may want to keep the temperature at 60 degrees during the winter months.  Remember, basements stay musty and damp and will continue to be a breeding ground for mold if the area is not frequently checked.

Once the mold has been removed, you won’t have to worry about buyers discovering it as they venture down to your basement.  It’s one less thing you have to worry about.  Other than a little elbow grease, most mold issues can be handled without hiring a professional.  Just make sure you wear protective gear and keep the basement windows open.  Again, if you have any questions or concerns, ask your real estate agent.  They can help you determine what steps need to be taken so your home can go on the market.




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