Mold growth on the rise thanks to high amount of rain and humidity

July 10, 2013 in Basement Waterproofing,Indoor Air Quality | Comments (0)

The abundance of rain has kept much of the country well soaked through the spring and summer months. In addition to rain, much of the country has had to bear higher than normal levels of humidity. On this morning’s CBS 2 newscast in Chicago, meteorologist Megan Glaros emphasized that the dew point was at 70% — the level of discomfort begins at 50% or higher. Excess rain with high levels of humidity and dew point stir another problem – mold growth.

WSOC-TV in Charlotte reports that local pest control companies have seen a 50 percent increase in mold cases since recent area rains began. The story quotes Mike Rogers, a pest control worker, who suggests homeowners check their crawl spaces for standing water. As much as 40 to 50 percent of the home’s air originates from the crawl space and/or basement.

It doesn’t take a seepage problem or a flood to trigger mold growth. When moisture lingers in the basement or crawl space long enough, mold spores will eventually grow. Before addressing any such mold problems, the moisture problem must first be addressed. Of course, any obvious problems (i.e. cracks in the foundation, an old primary sump pump) that increase the likelihood of a future seepage or flood problem should be addressed by a basement waterproofing contractor.

Depending on the amount of mold presence, some basement waterproofing contractors include mold remediation as an added service. For non-extensive mold remediation, utilizing a basement waterproofing contractor for removing mold and mildew after first addressing any moisture problem makes the most sense.

Emecole will soon introduce a new line of products to further complement our existing line of EmeSphere products. One of the new products we are most excited about is our preventative wall coating which protects concrete surfaces from future mold and mildew growth.

Basement Flood – The Aftermath

August 4, 2011 in Basement Waterproofing,Sump Pumps and Flood Protection | Comments (0)

This sure has been an active summer with all the severe thunderstorm activity taking place. In Chicago, we feel like we’re dealing with the brunt of Mother Nature’s fury. With an abundance of severe weather, power outages and flooded basements  on the rise, we felt it was important to discuss the possible scenarios that may occur as a result of a flooded basement.

Our newest article posting to the Emecole website, What to Know if Your Basement Floods, discusses the various drainage and structural repairs that may be necessary as a result of  flood.

By implementing the necessary basement waterproofing practices, you hopefully will never have to worry about the aftermath of a flood.

Home Remodeling at Highest in Years

August 2, 2011 in Basement Waterproofing,Marketing & Business | Comments (0)

With the housing market still in the doldrums, it is nice to hear some positive housing market news:  Home remodeling hit its highest level since May 2004.

Home remodeling was up 22% in May from the same month a year ago, according to With the current market, that shouldn’t be that surprising. Two aspects of the housing market explain this phenomenon.

First, the thousands of foreclosures that sit abandoned are becoming a sea of fixer-uppers. Buyers who snag up these properties are fixing them up to either live in, rent out or re-sell.

Second, while it may be a good time to buy in most markets, it also means it isn’t the greatest time to sell.  Homeowners who decide to stay put choose to take the money they would have used to move and remodel instead. The top remodels are smaller projects and must-do projects that they have been putting off for the past few years.

This is good news for remedial waterproofing contractors.  Homeowners who have decided to stay in their homes may finally address the water and moisture problems and finish their basements.

Any good news for the economy is good news for us. We hope you all get a piece of the increasing market share.

Asthma Awareness Month

May 17, 2011 in Basement Waterproofing,Indoor Air Quality | Comments (0)

In April, we wrote about the rising number of people suffering from allergies in recent years. This month, we observe Asthma Awareness Month. The Environmental Protection Agency has released event planning information for individuals interested in either planning or attending local events to build asthma awareness in their community. In addition, the EPA has outlined five simple ideas that all homeowners should follow to help reduce potential asthma triggers by improving the air quality inside our homes.

Please visit our Asthma Awareness Month section on for additional information about the negative consequences resulting from excess moisture, mold and dust mites. Unfortunately, such problems are not exclusive to asthma sufferers. Moisture, mold and dust mites may affect anyone. It is especially important to minimize such problems. Ensuring that the basement and crawl space is completely dry is a logical first step.

Homeowners may also visit our Basement Sealing Products section for contractor and do-it-yourself solutions for all basement problems concerning water, moisture and indoor air quality control.

Strongest and Weakest Markets for Economic Recovery

May 10, 2011 in News and Notes | Comments (0)

The country’s economy is slowly recovering. Some markets are stronger than other.

In a recent market analysis, MetroMonitor ranked the strongest markets primed for an economic recovery as well as the weakest and everything in between.

Albuquerque, New Mexico was ranked as the strongest city ranked for an economic recovery, followed by Augusta, GA; Austin, Texas and Baltimore, MD.  The three weakest markets are Bakersfield, CA; Boise City, ID; and Cape Coral, FL.

MetroMontior tracks the economic recession and recovery in America’s 100 largest Metropolitan Areas. View their full report and project map here.

Sealing the Rim Joist Area with Either Closed Or Open Cell Foam

May 4, 2011 in Crawl Spaces,Indoor Air Quality | Comments (0)

There is an ongoing debate as to the use of a closed cell foam or an open cell foam to seal the rim joist area of a basement or a crawl space. It is Emecole’s position that an open cell polyurethane spray foam works well in this application.

The major difference in the properties of a closed cell vs. an open cell spray foam is that a closed cell foam is an air barrier as well as a vapor barrier, while an open cell spray foam is an air barrier but is breathable (it is not a vapor barrier). As a consequence, a rim joist area which is being exposed to moisture coming from the concrete foundation can have the moisture escape through the open cell foam while it would be trapped by a closed cell spray foam which can lead to rotting and mold formation. Further below, you will find articles which lead us to the conclusion that an open cell spray foam is the preferred product to seal rim joist areas. Your comments are welcome.

Due to its superior insulating values, many contractors naturally select a closed cell foam. However, in a basement or crawl space you have to deal with the phenomena of moisture being sucked up the walls via the porous concrete foundation by capillary action and onto the rim joist areas.

Most basement water leakage results from either bulk moisture leaks or capillary action. Bulk moisture is the flow of water through holes, cracks, and other discontinuities into the home’s basement walls. Capillary action occurs when water wicks into the cracks and pores of porous building materials, such as masonry blocks, concrete, or wood. These tiny cracks and pores can absorb water in any direction—even upward.

This moisture entry into the basement through the foundation travels to the wood joists which, if sealed with the closed cell foam acting as a vapor barrier, does not let the moisture or water vapor to escape. If instead you use an open cell foam as your sealer, it is breathable or capable of allowing the vapor to pass through and not giving the wood a chance to feed off of the moisture and rot. Not only is the open cell foam able to allow water vapor to escape through it, it does this quite efficiently and without becoming brittle with time and possibly breaking away from the wall as often is found with rigid closed cell foams. As stated, a closed cell foam is both a vapor barrier and barrier to air flow. An open cell foam acts as a barrier to air but allows water vapor to travel through it and away from wood sitting on the basement foundation.

In addition to open cell foam the contractor should consider using Emecole’s concrete sealer, Pene-Seal-Crete, on the walls of a basement to reduce and even eliminate the porosity of the walls so that little if any water vapor passes through the concrete to the rim joint area.

Additional Information:
- Why the Use of Open-Cell Foam in Sealing Rim Joists Saves Contractors from Making Costly Error
- Inside Story: Open-Cell Foam & What Every Contractor Should Know

Number of People Suffering from Allergies on the Rise

April 18, 2011 in Basement Waterproofing,Indoor Air Quality | Comments (1)

Friday’s Chicago Tribune included a story about the increased amount of people suffering from allergies today versus 30 years ago. Citing data from the National Association of Home Builders Research Center, the story concluded that many of our allergy problems have to do with poor indoor air quality within our homes.

An important note from the article relates to the control of moisture levels:

Excessive humidity supports the growth of mold spores and dust mites, while dry air can cause static electricity, dry skin or respiratory ailments.

Humidification systems, as the story highlights, play an important role in regulating moisture levels within the home. Lou Cole, president and owner of Emecole, says that the ideal humidity level is at 50%.

In addition to humidification systems, homeowners can further improve their home’s indoor air quality by addressing any known water problems in their basement or crawl space – a lingering foundation crack which leaks water is a good example. In addition, open voids in the cove (where the foundation wall meets the floor), cracks in the floor or an open, unsealed crawl space may contribute to harmful soil gases from entering the home. The most serious problems involving basements and crawl spaces are not always obvious problems easily seen.

Homeowners are best served to have their basements or crawl spaces inspected by a reputable basement waterproofing contractor – someone who can identify the obvious and not so obvious problems. Emecole can recommend a contractor in your area. Call (800) 844-2713 or by completing the Find an Emecole Contractor form by clicking here.

Emecole Crawl Space Calculator Now Online

March 4, 2011 in Crawl Spaces,News and Notes | Comments (0)

Today, launched a new online crawl space materials estimator for use with the EmeSeal Crawl Space Sealing System. The Crawl Space Estimator provides a fast and simple way for contractors to know how much material is needed for a given crawl space.

Contractors can submit the measurements of a crawl space, and within seconds know the material’s quantity, sizing and total cost for the projected job. This significantly shortens the amount of time contractors spend towards preparing estimates and making purchasing.

After using the estimator, registered Emecole Contractors may purchase materials from our 24/7 online store, or by phone during our normal business hours. For more information about becoming an Emecole Contractor and to purchase Emecole products online, please visit our Contractor Information section.

View the crawl space estimator and give it a try!

Going Green… Think Crawl Space

March 1, 2011 in Crawl Spaces | Comments (0)

Tom Saucier, the CEO of the Crawlspace Doctor has written an article about how a properly sealed and insulated crawl space is a game changer for the entire home. An unconditioned crawl space allows humidity to enter during the hot summer months, while allowing cold air in during the winter. This results in increased use of the home’s heat and air conditioning, resulting in higher energy bills for the homeowner.

A sealed and insulated crawl space helps control humidity, which is mandatory when thinking about whole home health. The trapped humidity within a crawl space is an ideal space for the growth of mold spores, which is likely to have a direct impact on allergy and asthma sufferers.

Tom’s full article, “A Green House Starts in the Crawl Space,” has been added to our collection of Crawl Space Sealing Articles on

New York City’s Safe Housing Act Expansion Includes Focus on Critical Indoor Health Concerns

January 24, 2011 in News and Notes | Comments (0)

The idea of whole home health improvement is becoming more of a priority to not only homeowners, but our government as well. One example is New York City’s Safe Housing Act, which was expanded by the city’s council last week to add focus on health related issues such as mold, asthma, insects and rodents. According to an report, the concern among city officials is the amount of hospitalizations as a result of asthma, especially in lower income neighborhoods.

The program targets 200 of the worst apartment buildings each year and forces landlords to make the necessary repairs per the city’s requirements. For landlords unwilling to comply, the city will make the repairs and send the bill to the landlord.

Unfortunately, the program has lost significant money so far since the city fails to “recoup” much of the money back from landlords. The success rate among landlords is also rather low, with only a 1/3rd of them throughout the city having “graduated” from the program.

Despite being a money loser, the city sees the program as a valuable long-term investment towards the whole home health improvement. While encouraging, we would like to see New York City, perhaps, make some necessary improvements to their overall strategy so that the program is not such a money loser. This deterrent may overshadow any positive results by discouraging other municipalities from enacting similar programs.