Does your home have a cold room? If you’re like most homeowners in Toronto, you’re not using as cold storage, but rather to grow and collect mold. A cold room may sound like a good idea in theory, but they can easily become a breeding ground for mold, which can extent to other areas of your basement and home if left untreated.
So what do you do?
This is not a simple one to crack because there’s no cheap and easy solution. Mold’s needs are simple: these are ambient moisture and an organic, cellulose-based host. Cold rooms are by nature moist. Cellulose is a structural component of all green plants and is most commonly present in wood pulp and cotton fibers. Count yourself fortunate if your cold room is mold free.
Solution 1 – Shut the Cold Room Down
Cold rooms made a lot of sense in Toronto and other cold weather regions before the arrival of modern refrigeration. Folks kept their meat fresh and their greens crisp for longer that way. In that sense keeping mold at bay was worth the trouble. Given the inconvenience of the alternatives outlined below and compared to the solution of another kitchen fridge, this may well be the sensible thing to do.
There could also be better things to do with basement space than wasting it on a cold room which is probably underutilized anyway. You could turn it into a den or an extra bedroom and add real value to your property. If it’s a small cold room, you can create additional storage space, allowing you to do something great with the rest of your basement. A younger generation buyer could even be put off by something they only half-understand the purpose of. Perhaps it’s time to move with the times.
Solution 2 – Try to Win the Battle with Mold
Mold reproduces at an alarming rate because its seeds called spores are light enough to travel through the air. If you take a cavalier attitude by wiping it away, all you’re doing is spreading it around. Mold also likes to lurk in tight corners where the moisture’s always guaranteed. Breathing in spores can exacerbate bronchial conditions. In other words mold is a potential hazard you should try and get rid of.
Should you decide to go this route but have mild to heavy infestation you are well advised to call in mold professionals. Make sure they barricade the cold room away from the house with polyethylene sheeting and work from outside. Failure to do so can create a real risk of mold migrating to the rest of your home.
Following that remove all mold hosts. Take everything out of the room that’s cellulose-based like wooden shelves and cardboard storage boxes. Paint all surfaces – especially wooden doors, window frames and paneling – with mold resistant paint to stop mold coming back.
Finally, cover the walls and ceiling with moisture-resistant extruded foam insulation to reduce the ambient moisture level as far as possible. This is the expensive part. If you don’t but the panels tightly and caulk the tiniest gap you may as well not attempt the job at all.
Given the scope of work involved and the need to get it right first time in view of cost, you may want to consider contracting a mold removal specialist. If you have any questions about your cold room, basement mold, or renovation ideas for that new room in your basement, you can contact us here.