How do you prevent mold in a finished basement?
We had a water leak in our basement earlier this year and when the contractors started pulling off damaged drywall we were disgusted to find that our basement wall framing was rotten in multiple areas and the insulation was full of mold behind the vapor barrier. The scariest part is that our house was only built in 2007!
Now we've managed to strip all this smelly mess out, we tried to get quotes off contractors to refinish the basement but they all want to replace what we had with the same thing - wood framing inside the concrete basement stuffed full of fiberglass insulation, covered with plastic then all covered up with drywall so we can't see another disaster coming! Every one so far has replied "But that's code" which seems to be true. What do we do? What's the best way to finish a basement and prevent it all going moldy and rotten again but comply with code?
Unfortunately, your situation is pretty common. Basements are built wrong all the time, and many contractors want to fix moldy basements by repeating the process that caused the problem in the first place. And the biggest problem, is that building code not only allows these methods that are doomed to fail, many building inspectors insist on it.
So fear not, there are ways to build basements properly, and even ways that the old school building inspectors will still sign off on like using Certainteed membrain or Intello smart vapor barriers. But you need to know how smart membranes work and where to put them.
And that’s just one way to do it and there are lots of ways to build basement properly, so I would say start with a look at this page here to learn the basics and you may find all the answers you need:
Preventing mold when insulating a basement
Then, send that link to prospective contractors and if they don’t get it, call another one. For your specific case though, we need more info. Is there an exterior foundation membrane and proper drainage? Have you had flooding?