Preventing Mold When Insulating the Basement
Renovating or retrofitting your basement can mean a great expansion in livable space for you and your family, and making sure you add insulation to ensure your comfort is key. But it’s important to do it right so that you are preventing mold when insulating the basement, and not causing bigger problems that can lead to structural damage and poor health for your family.
New homes need basement insulation
The National Building Code of Canada now insists that new homes have basement insulation for good reasons - not only can it help prevent moisture and condensation build up, but a properly insulated basement wall is the first step in preventing mold from growing. That musty smell that we’ve all become accustomed to isn’t a natural part of our basements, but more so related to building practices that don’t aid in preventing mold when insulating the basement. Awareness of the health hazards surrounding mold in our homes is growing, and ensuring the safety and health of our families is paramount. The good news is that there are products and retrofits out there that can help you improve your basement.
Mold grows with moisture – make sure your insulation has an air tight seal
The biggest road block to preventing mold when insulating the basement is that new homes must be insulated before you can move in - but with brand new foundations, this means that all that fresh concrete hasn’t completely dried, and still contains lots of water, mold’s first requirement to grow. In older homes, cracks in the concrete or settlement around pipes and windows could be letting moisture in too.
The second problem is that contractors often make decisions on materials that are related to costs now, not costs later. Energy efficiency or the long-term safety of you and your family aren’t top of mind, meaning that the wrong materials or improperly installed vapour barriers could be providing plenty of mold’s second requirement - food.
Having opened up plenty of basement walls, the team at EcoStar Insulation has often discovered the worst possible insulation technique - fibreglass or mineral wool insulation sealed in with a vapour barrier. These air permeable materials do nothing to help you from preventing mold when insulating the basement - they actually encourage it by trapping moisture and giving mold plenty to eat.
Using spray foam insulation to prevent mold growth in your basement
So how can you ensure that you are preventing mold when insulating the basement? Our top recommendation at EcoStar Insulation is to choose the right material - our specialty is spray foam insulation, because it provides the best long term value and brings greater energy savings as well as superior insulating capabilities. Spray foam creates a continuous barrier around the walls of your home, reaching nooks and crannies that other types struggle to fill. Inorganic, it doesn’t give mold anything to eat, and since it doubles as a vapour barrier, there is no need to install a separate system to help keep moisture out. By creating an air tight seal around your basement, mold can’t find anything to eat or grow on, and this is a huge aid when preventing mold when insulating the basement.
If you’re curious about preventing mold growth in your basement with spray foam insulation, contact us at EcoStar Insulation at 647-799-3106 and we’d be happy to tell you more about our products and services.