Need Some Frugal Advice on Mold in my Basement....

Baltimore, MD(Zone 7a)

HI--All you talented and Handy men out there! II need some HELP!!!!!

I live in a 4-level split home that we (now divorced for 20 years--and living alone) moved into end of 1969.
It was our 1st. home--and my Engineer Hubby chose the location--high above any water problems.
He was also the ultimate builder and handyman--so I am not blaming him now for any
of the issues of moisture/mold in my basement. He did all he could to prevent this--time took care of the rest....

He waterproofed all the cinder block walls in the lower level (his Shop) with water-sealing paint
on the walls and also the floor.
This lower level of my house is 80% underground. So--a lot of moisture issues have reared their heads
as the years ticked by. Some caused bu aging outside drains and gutters.

I have a Patio out back that is roofed over, but the grade level of the patio roof ()3') has not been the best.
A lot of the gutters overflow by now as the ground drainage pipes must be all clogged up
after 43 years. Yet--when I run a hose into one of the gutters--it does, eventually, run out by the curb.

Years ago--my Ex dug drainage pipes underground from all the gutter drains to discharge at the curb.
I do not believe that much of the water that runs down the gutter drain- spouts into the ground pipes
work all that well any more, as I have seen Chipmunks running in and out of them
These drainage pipes were the ones with perforations in them (as best I know) and, I am thinking that
they are, by now, clogged with dirt and Chipmunk tunnels and just clogged by time.
These drainage pipes DO run under my Garden beds, so as I dig and plant---much of the soil may get in them.

OK! Back to my mildewed basement walls.......
Seems that the worst mold and mildew locations down there are on the corners where the downspouts are.
SO! Lots of the water is not going down the drainage pipes, but just spilling out in the soil and down to
the foundation. That is my assumption--but I am not an engineer or a handy-person.

OR--there may also be a construction dysfunction as the concrete slab the house was built on
has, slightly, sunk--and thus separating from the walls of the house. There IS a serious 1/2" or more crack now between the floor
and the cinder block walls of the lowest level of the house. That is where so much of the mold and YUK is visible.

I KNOW my basement has mold and mildew issues. How? Every time i walk into my home my nose starts running...
I had a Dehumidifier that just died on me. It helped with the moisture..but I do not think it helped much with the cause of the smell.

Today--I was "tearing apart" my Shop level--trying to re-organize things a bit. Clean. Throw out. Donate.....Whatever!!!
Mostly--I wanted to get to these moldy areas and spray them with Chlorine and water. That is supposed to kill mold???
Now I have to wait until all that dries out. Will it help any???? I am not sure.

It is not easy--as I am a old Senior (75) and i do not have the energy or the $$$ to hire anyone to do what SHOULD be done.
I KNOW what they would tell me needs to be done if i called in a professional....
They would dig up the perimeter of my basement and install a French Drain--at the cost of a few $1000.
I cannot afford that. Looking for a more inexpensive solution.

My question here is--What else could I do to treat all the moisture that is there--or from it coming in????
Would Concrete crack-filler work? Stuff these cracks full of concrete?
I just sprayed all the walls and the floor/wall open cracks with a serious water/Chlorine solution...

Here are some pictures--as if you needed them by now! Can you suggest a less expensive alternative
to this problem? What else could I do?

The walls look dark because I DUD just spray them with the Chlorine/water solution.

Thank you all--Gita

Thumbnail by Gitagal Thumbnail by Gitagal Thumbnail by Gitagal
Cincinnati, OH(Zone 6a)

the cheapest way to stop the mold is to have a company drills holes at the base of your walls and channel the water to a sump basin and pump the water out.. If you cant afford a dehumidifier try a fan. you need air circulation to help with the dampness

Baltimore, MD(Zone 7a)


I have a Sump Pump into which drains any water from the surrounding ground around the foundation.
I had a dehumidifier--that just died. It wasn't even that old! That is at least another $300+.

The air circulation may be lacking. I had all kinds of stuff along the walls for years.
Had elevated boards all on the floor as once-eons ago--my W-Heater exploded and sent water all over the basement.
After 2 days of cleaning all that up--I put 2" high pieces of wood on the floor everywhere and placed
everything on that. I am a "junkie" and have way too much stuff everywhere!

This moisture problem is mostlyat a couple of corners where my downspouts run into the underground
drainage pipes--which by now, I am sure, are semi-disintegrated.
These downspout drains USED to go from the house all the way to the curb.
I do not see much water going that far any more. This may be the main issue. Not much I can do--
as these drainage pipes run under beds and sidewalks and 40 yr. old shrubbery.

What do you think if I filled the cracks with ""Quickcrete" Concrete Crack Sealer"? The stuff in the gray squeeze bottle?

My house is almost 44 yrs. old and it is a 4-level split. The Shop is the lowest level and it is 80% underground.
Just cinder block walls (long ago water sealed) and a painted concrete floor. No heat vents down there either.
It may have settled a bit too. Who knows????

In my thinking--there is too much water around the base of the house---in some places --that is not draining away
as it should. Back to the gutters and downspouts.


Altus, OK(Zone 7a)

How about trying a version of roto rootering the drainage pipes so the water will once again go to the curb?

Definitely put a fan or fans in that area to help dry it out.

Please be careful when cleaning the mold. Use a face mask. You don't need to inhale those mold spores.

Good luck.


Dublin, CA(Zone 9a)

I think unless you address the clogged up pipes/downspouts issue somehow, you're going to continue to have problems. If you can't afford to have someone come out and clear the pipes, you might try disconnecting the downspouts from the drainage pipes that are probably clogged with stuff, and then attach a downspout extender to route water from the downspouts away from the house somewhere. You won't get it all the way to the curb like the old pipes did, but if you can at least route it away from the foundation that ought to work. That way the only thing you have to get cleared is the downspout itself and that should be easier to do yourself vs clearing out all the pipes.

Dublin, CA(Zone 9a)

I should fix assumes that the only source of the moisture around the foundation is from clogged up pipes leading from the downspout...if it's an area where water naturally would collect anyway during a rain and there are French drains or something that used to take the water away from the foundation, then you're back to needing to clear out the underground pipes in order to solve the problem.

Baltimore, MD(Zone 7a)


If I recall (after asking my EX) he remembered putting down the drain pipes with the holes in it.
Not sure if it was a PVC pipe or the black, rolled up pipe. Do they come with holes?

I don't think they would withstand a roto-rooter type of cleaning. If they are PVC--it may be possible.

I already thought that the downspout extenders would work OK. Not 100%--as I would have to first replace my gutters
as they leak all the time it rains heavily. The roof-shingles do not have enough of a "lip" to direct the water into the gutters--
so it just comes down behind the gutters. More $$$$. But--this may have to be the first fix.
This water, of course, comes down a couple of feet away from the house. There is part of the problem! A big part....

The basement wall/floor seem to have dried up quite a bit since I moved everything away from it
and sprayed it down with Chlorine and water.
That's when I thought I could fill the crack along the walls with that Quickcrete Concrete Crack Filler....
Not a solution--but somewhat........


Dublin, CA(Zone 9a)

The trouble with filling the cracks but not removing the source of the water is that water will always find a way in. If not those cracks, then it'll find others you haven't spotted yet. Or it'll create some new ones. So I'd focus the bulk of your efforts and whatever money you can afford to put into this on solving the problems that are causing the water to build up in that area.

Baltimore, MD(Zone 7a)

Thanks, ecrane.

You have given me some very good advice-----
And--I am not even a "beginner gardener"....teeeee...heee......You always jump in there.

Much of what you have suggested I have already thought about--but being a procrastinator--
thinking 'about" is all I do....Will just have to bite the bullet.........Money IS an issue!


Baltimore, MD(Zone 7a)


Several weeks ago--i had all my gutters replaced and a drip edge put on the edge of the roof shingles.
This should stop the water dripping between the roof edge and the gutters. That was one big issue.

Also--I had all new downspouts put in, and one totally moved from left to the right side
in front of the house.
All downspouts are now directed away from the house's foundation with extended drain spouts
across my beds to drain out on the lawn just beyond the beds.

I feel this will really help. Cost me $1200, but 2 men worked all day to accomplish this. I feel satisfied....


Dover AFB, DE(Zone 7a)

Hope that fixes everything! ^_^ Here in Korea; they are telling us to spray our sweating walls with a 4:1 mix of water and rubbing alcohol so that they will not mold. This is an easy and cheap fix/preventative for mildew. I had always sprayed vinegar around in the corners of the basement to keep the mildew/mold away.

Baltimore, MD(Zone 7a)


I have not heard of using alcohol. Water and Chlorox--yes. It kills the mold spores.

I have not done anything to finish up my cleaning project in the basement.
May tackle some of it today. Too hot to do anything much outside.
We have had 2 weeks of temps near 100*. Yesterday set a new record--since 18hundreds.
It was 104*. Downtown--107*. Miserable! Plus all the humidity!

It has been a weirs year--weather-wise. Gita

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