mold

White mold growing in Toronto basementDo you have white mold growing somewhere in your home?

As a mold removal company in Toronto, we respond to calls for all types of mold.  The most common type we see is black mold, though mold comes in all types of colors.  From a health perspective, white mold shares similar characteristics as other colors of mold and can cause similar health issues.

White mold is a natural fungus that colonizes our homes, when the humidity levels and temperatures match its preferences. Its semi-translucent lighter coloring makes it harder to spot than its dark-green and black cousins. Despite this, it has similar implications for our health if left untreated and allowed to grow and spread throughout the home.

Efflorescence and White Mold

It’s sometimes difficult to discriminate between early efflorescence and white mold, because the two look quite similar. However the former is a crystal found on concrete and masonry structures only, meaning that if the phenomenon appears elsewhere it’s likely to be white mold.

Mold Implications for Our Health

To most people, white mold is no more dangerous than a cashew nut. In fact, many of us could eat it quite safely, although we’re certainly not recommending tasting mold. However, just as nut-allergies can be unpleasant and even dangerous for those sensitive to them, so too can mold have serious implications for those with delicate upper respiratory tracts.  Inhaling mold spores over an extended period of time can possibly have adverse effects on your health.

Mold spores floating in the air may cause chest problems, and even asthma attacks. It’s not uncommon to find family members living in mold-infested homes constantly wheezing and coughing. That’s why it’s advisable to get rid of white mold the instant it begins to colonize our homes.

Mold growing on basement joists in Toronto home

Removing White Mold From Your Home

Getting rid of mold is a little like sweeping up fine sawdust with a dustpan and a brush. Some of it always seems to end up somewhere else, or gets left behind as a memory on the floor. If sawdust could germinate, our furniture factories would be full of saplings. Unfortunately mold spores sprout as quickly as watercress seeds on wet blotting paper.

The only way to get rid of white mold it to kill it on the spot without disturbing it, which can prove difficult. Keeping your home dry and wiping away mold as soon as you find it will help keep it at bay. If an infestation is advanced, it may become necessary to ask a mold removal company to properly remove the mold.

Depending on how the mold issue started, mold could be covered under your homeowners insurance.

Remaining White-Mold Free

Unfortunately that’s not going to stop the fungus in its tracks. It grows as easily as those annoying weeds on your front lawn, and it will soon be back if you don’t change the conditions under which it thrives. This involves:

  • Eliminating dampness caused by leaking pipes and rainwater penetration
  • Keeping humidity below 60%
  • Ventilating affected rooms by opening doors and windows daily.

Only then, can you begin to bring white mold under control. However once you’ve been under attack, it can prove difficult to keep it away as it may still be lurking in inaccessible places under floors and in attic corners.

Mold Removal Company in Toronto

Nusite Group offers mold remediation services in Toronto and the surrounding GTA.  You can contact us today to learn more and to schedule a free estimate.

Basement Window Well Repairs in Toronto

Do you see a puddle in your basement every time it rains that seems to be coming in near the top of the wall, dripping or pouring down the wall? If you do, your basement windows may be the culprit.

While a leaky window may seem like a minor issue, these types of issues not only become an annoyance, they can actually promote the growth of mold in your basement and damage your belongings.

Most of the older homes here in Toronto weren’t made to have a livable basement.  Moisture and some water leaks are considered normal, and often times the basement window is the culprit.

Since real estate in Toronto is at a premium, most homeowners want to turn their basement into a livable space.  In order to do this, you first have to remove the water and damp in your basement or else you’ll end up with a damp, moldy basement that nobody would want to use.

Schedule a free estimate for your window well project

The basement window well if often a cause of water leaking into the basement.  This is often due to shifting foundation, rotted wood and caulking, and cracks that develop around the frame of the window well.If you find that your basement window is causing that nagging leak in your basement, here are a few things you can do.

If you find that your basement window is causing that nagging leak in your basement, here are a few things you can do.

Caulk Your Basement Window

If water is coming through a basement window, there are a couple different solutions to discover.  If you haven’t caulked the window, that it is your first line of defense.   Something as simple as caulking the window well could solve your problem.  Keep in mind that if your window has already been leaking for some time, the framing around the window could be damaged and rotting resulting in additional repairs being necessary.

Leaking window well in Toronto home

Install a Window Well

Consider window wells for your basement windows.  A window well is a curved piece of steel insert with corrugated pipe that is used to attempt to block moisture from the window area when it is below grade level and drain away water that enters the area.  If you have a window well but there’s no gravel, you may want to consider adding some gravel inside the well.  The corrugated insert is designed to route the water away but sometimes the well can be overwhelmed by the amount of rain that it receives and can also clog over time, making it useless.

Creating a window well as a means of egress
Window Well Cover

Over time, window wells can become clogged with leaves, dirt, and even snow.  They need to be cleaned out from time to time.  Covers can also be purchased to help decrease the amount of water and debris that enter the window well area.  Do your research and consult a waterproofing professional to find the right cover for your situation or repairs to current window well covers.

Window well cover Toronto home

Adjust the Grade Around Your Window

As we mentioned earlier, the grade outside your home can definitely have an effect on leaking windows.  Grade sloping towards your home can certainly contribute to leaking basement windows and result in a wet or even flooded basement.

Repairing the window won’t stop the leaking if the grade is sloped towards the home or the grade is too high above the window area.  A professional waterproofing company or landscaper can assist you in correcting these issues.  Many times water enters your basement in more than one way or location.  It’s always a good idea to speak with a waterproofing, licensed professional with expertise in waterproofing your basement when dealing with these issues.

window wells are a source of basement water leaks
Check your downspouts

If your gutters are overflowing this could contribute to the leaks.  Also, investigate where your downspouts route the water to when it rains.  If they are pouring out right against the foundation of your home, this could also contribute to windows leaking  This is a common problem and luckily an easy fix.

creating a decorative garden in window well
Install New Windows

If your windows are older, they may need to be replaced.  As mentioned previously, if the leak has been continuing for awhile, the frame around the window may be damaged or rotted and need to be replaced as well.  A shifting foundation can also lead to damage to the window frame and a new window with a proper seal may be needed.

Basement Egress Windows Toronto

You can also consider an egress window.  An egress window is larger than a standard window and is designed to provide an escape route or a way for emergency personnel to enter your home during an emergency.  Check your local building codes prior to beginning this type of remodeling as parameters can differ from area to area.  Many areas now require egress windows if you have or are building a basement bedroom, as a means of escape.

Consider hiring a professional if you install an egress window to ensure the egress window in your basement is installed correctly.  Concrete may need to be cut as well as excavation and this is not a small undertaking.  You will want to make sure your contractor knows what they’re doing and has done this sort of work foundation work before.  As an experienced waterproofing company in Toronto called out to help homeowners address their basement leaks, we see improperly installed egress windows from time to time that do cause water to enter the basement.

Solve the Problem at the Source

No matter which solution is appropriate for your leaky windows, it’s important to note that these aren’t the type of problems that take care of themselves.  Basement leaks do get worse over time and wet, damp, humid environments such as your basement encourage mold growth.  Many homeowners have or develop allergies to mold that make using your basement difficult.  Remediating the mold could even become necessary.  Act now to solve your wet basement by calling your local waterproofing professional company and request
Have questions about a leaking window or would are interested in fixing or installing a window well?  If you live in Toronto or the GTA, contact us here for a free in-home inspection and estimate.

 

As a basement waterproofing and mold removal company here in Toronto, we’re often called to basement leaks where we find mold infestation behind the sheet rock walls, embedded in the insulation behind it.

So how do you properly insulate a basement?

That’s a question that begs another question. The second one is “what are you going to use your basement for?” If it’s general storage ( I’m assuming it’s already waterproofed) you may be able to get away with wall-bag insulation (generally not recommended) that reaches at least two feet below ground level.

One thing you need to make sure of is that your basement is waterproofed and water is not going to seep through your foundations and ruin your finished walls once they are installed.  If you currently have water or damp issues in your basement, these need to be addressed before finishing your basement.

In certain cases, like having no access to the exterior of the foundation to repair the water leaks, an interior weeping tile system can be installed to remove water as it enters your basement, keeping your finished walls and basement dry.

However, if you’re planning a basement that’ll be used as living space, then you’re going to need to fully insulate the walls and floor. If it this was previously done inadequately, you might have to throw everything away and start afresh. In the end, it’s your choice how far to go.

In this regard, it’s relevant to mention a general tendency to tighten building regulations. We find it remarkable that some homeowners go to great expense when it comes to finishing the upstairs living spaces, yet skimp on basement basics, especially when a moldy basement can lead to extensive repairs and the loss of quality living space in the home.

Essential Principles

  • You need insulation that works all year round to keep your basement warm in winter, and humidity-free during summer months.

 

  • Ground temperature drops as you go deeper underground. When different wall-temperatures mingle, you get condensation that encourages mold.

 

  • Insulated panels between battens covered by a vapour barrier work great above ground where the outside temperature is consistent.

 

  • However in this instance they don’t have to counter a variety of different temperatures that combine to cause humidity and mold below ground.

The Correct Way to Insulate

We believe in doing things the correct way, and right from the beginning. You should install rigid foam insulation that comes ship-lapped, so there are no butt-joints that admit air that mingles with the inside temperature. The correct thickness is one inch on the floor, and two inches on the walls.

It’s equally important to glue the panels directly to walls and floors with the correct foam-rated adhesive, so they are not damaged during installation. Joints must be taped over, and the slightest gaps at edges filled with spray foam.

Once your basement is comprehensively insulated, you can go ahead and install studs for your decorative paneling  If you believe in belts-and-braces, you could add mold-resistant drywall.

How This Works

Rigid foam creates a thermal break that’s impenetrable. You’ll find the same material in those handy coolers that keep your cans chilled without dripping condensation. Toilet tanks lined with rigid foam follow the same principles.

When you apply this approach to your basement insulation, you create a similar barrier. In winter the room stays warm. In summer there’s no humidity, or mold caused by the different temperature outside.

The extra price you pay up-front for this should provide a healthier environment for many years to come, and allow you to enjoy the extra living space that a dry and mold free basement provides.

Have questions about mold or moisture problems in your home?  Nusite Waterproofing has been waterproofing and renovating basements for over 30 years in Toronto.  We offer free, in-home estimates and inspections.  Feel free to contact us here, we’re happy to answer any questions you have.

Finished basement with musty odourSpring is upon us, and you know what that means: melting snow. Keeping your basement dry is critical in your overall home maintenance to fight against mold, leaky basements, and property damage.

Contractors will often use a wide array of materials to help factor basement from membranes and drain boards, to perforated pipe, sump pumps, and more. One item that does not usually make it onto the list until you have problems, but nonetheless is equally as important to have, is a dehumidification system. If you’ve noticed changes in your home’s air quality or are worried about  it may be time to consider a dehumidifier.

A dehumidifier works to lower humidity levels by drying the air. A dehumidification system is often an asset not only for your basement, but for your overall living conditions. By maintaining good air quality in the lowest level of your home the effects are seen throughout the other levels of the home, based on the laws of physics in what is known as the ‘Stack Effect’. Dehumidifiers also work at drying out the invisible moisture that lies within the nooks and crannies, as well as the cracks of your basement. Studies have shown that even in the driest of basements, dehumidifiers can pick up over 10 gallons of water per day through sucking up moisture. Dehumidification is also essential when waterproofing your basement.

basement leak in Etobicoke homeThere are two approaches you can take when it comes to dehumidifying. The dehumidification process can be done with either condenser systems or venting systems. When selecting the option that is right for your basement there are factors you need to consider like the size of space, efficiency, temperature, and the goal of dehumidifying.

Let’s take a closer look at these two options:

1. Condenser Systems

A condenser system will decrease humidity by breaking it down into water. Condenser systems are a more common choice for homeowners, as some professionals If you are in the market for a condenser system experts recommend that a key factor to look for is a highly efficient system that also includes an air purification component. Although these factors may cost more initially, if your basement needs ongoing attention it has the potential to save you money. Condenser systems vary in sizes, while most small units can handle somewhere around 500 square feet of space whereas larger ones can do about 2500 square feet. For optimal performance condenser systems work best in conditions of 80° F and 60% relative humidity.

2. Venting Systems

A venting system will decrease humidity by venting the moist air back outside before it works its way up into your living space. The idea behind a venting system is that the increased ventilation decrease humid air, plus it will filter the moist air with drier air while exhausting odors. Where condenser systems work to condense moisture to water venting systems skip the process altogether, thereby making them more energy efficient. This premise has been highly criticized amongst pool professionals. Venting systems vary in sizes and can work with larger spaces up to 7000 square feet.

Don’t forget to consider the For best results, it is important to contact Nu-Site Group today for more information on sourcing the system that is right for you. Nu-Site offers 24 hour emergency service throughout the GTA if you experience any flooding issues.

If you are home has a leaky basement, naturally it is a source of concern. Moisture can not only ruin wood, drywall, and carpets in a finished basement, but it will also promote mold. Mold is dangerous to human health as the spores may be inhaled into the lungs causing respiratory problems. If you are wondering whether it is possible to repair a leaky basement yourself, the answer really depends on the cause of the water.

Here are some of the most common reasons why your home’s basement may be leaking:

  •  Roof water – the water that flows from your roof is not being carried away properly by your eavestroughs and downspouts. These devices must be free from debris and leaks to do their job properly.
  • Over-watering – perhaps someone is over zealous with the hose when watering the flowerbeds or shrubs around your home.
  • Groundwater – there is always water underground, but sometimes it is redirected towards your home because of changes in the landscape. Other times it is drawn up under the building by capillary action. This can usually be identified by a white residue on the floor. This is mineral deposits after the water has evaporated.
  • Runoff – Snow and rainwater can collect in depressed areas and then leach into your basement.
  • Bad drains – drains can be improperly installed, damaged or clogged. Sometimes underground drains do not have enough of a slope to move moisture away from the building.
  • Broken lines – water and sewage lines do deteriorate over time and may rupture. Other times tree roots can penetrate the pipes.
  • No ventilation – if air cannot circulate in the basement, humidity will build up inside the structure. To check if you have a humidity problem or a leak, tape a 1’ square of aluminum foil on the wall and leaving it overnight. If you find condensation on the room side of the foil, you know it is humidity that is causing your problems. If moisture is on the wall side, you’ve got water coming in from the outside.

To repair water leaks, there are some DIY fixes any homeowner can try. Let’s take a look at some of these methods: 

  1. Vertical crack Toronto foundation basementThe first thing you must do in all cases is to fill all of the cracks and gaps in the wall that are under 1/8-inch wide with polyurethane caulk made for concrete. If there are larger cracks that need filling, use epoxy filler.
  2. Next, you can choose one of the many commercial products on the market to help seal the cracks, including concrete waterproof coatings, silicate-based sealers, waterproofing paint and interior water-control systems.
  3. Add your waterproof coating to the filled crack. Concrete waterproof coatings go on like cement over top of most finishes. However, silicate-based sealers are intended for untreated surfaces as they need to chemically react with bare concrete. Waterproofing paint is a heavy latex paint meant to seal the wall with an acrylic layer.
  4. Interior water-control systems involve wall vapour barriers and drip moldings to collect water coming from wall cracks and other foundation wall defects. A drain then directs the water to a sump pump and finally the sump pump directs the water out of the basement. While a DIY homeowner may attempt this, it is an extensive project, and requires proper attention to getting the job done right. In some cases, calling a professional to assist is highly recommended.

Sump pump installation in Toronto basementIf your DIY methods do not work, or you cannot access your basement walls to do the repairs, you will need to call in a contractor. They will excavate around the foundation, seal the leaks and wrap the foundation in a waterproof membrane. New weeping tiles are placed near the foundation and the soil is backfilled. If you are still having issues controlling water, it may be necessary to install a sump pump. 

It is always better to call a professional sooner, rather than later. Water damage can be expensive and the long-term effects are cumulative.

Contact Nusite Waterproofing to for a free in-home estimate and inspection of your basement water problems.  We service Toronto and the surrounding GTA.