My house has an unfinished basement. It's a terrible mess and causing enough problems for my husband's allergies (we think) that it's not even usable right now. What can we do to get it straightened out?
The basement was dug out, and then part of the hill to the side of the house was also dug out to allow for a walk-out (which was ridiculous, but what's done is done). When it rains heavily, dirt gets washed down the hill on the side of the house onto the small concrete slab where the basement doors are, then water and a little bit of mud proceed to wash under the (very not-sealed!) door onto the basement floor. So the basement is damp, almost all of the time, even though we try to clean up the water after it rains.
Up until last fall, this basement was full of every kind of junk imaginable. Car parts, commercial kitchen steel pieces, years old damp cardboard boxes, an ancient kitchen cabinet set, etc. My father-in-law was a serious pack rat. Anyway, we cleared all that out, cleaned up all the nasty dirt and mold off the floor, and left it alone. We had the intention of getting a dehumidifier to try and combat the mold, but didn't actually do that until a couple weeks ago.
Additionally, the basement doesn't have a ceiling, just bare insulation strips in between the "struts?" that form the base of the 1st floor. Part of the insulation is hanging down under the spare bathroom, where there was a toilet leak last summer. The walls are concrete cinder blocks, I think. And, just to top off an already disgusting pie, there are spiderwebs with weird little sacs that I'm afraid are full of millions of baby spiders, and snakes (we think in the crawlspaces off the basement). We actually found a baby snake caught in one of the spider webs last week. This place is freakin' scary.
So anyway, that's the scenario. My husband has been down in the basement twice in the past two weeks, and each time, he got sick for a couple days afterwards. The second time he even wore a face mask! He had a nasty cough, lots of runny nose and congestion, and all the good stuff that seems like an allergy attack to me. I think it's probably to the white powdery mold that's kind of all over the place down there. That means that whatever needs to be done probably can't involve him and that we need to deal with it soon if we can.
- a) what's the best way to deal with the spiders and/or snakes?
- b) do we need to replace the insulation and how difficult/expensive will that be to do?
- b pt 2) how difficult/expensive would it be to also add in a drop ceiling at the same time, and would this even be a good idea?
- c) what's the best way to combat the mold besides cleaning all the surfaces with bleach and keeping the dehumidifier going?
Honestly, I would be perfectly happy to just pay someone to deal with it, but I don't think our housekeeping service would be willing to clean down there right now, and I don't know what sort of service the rest of it falls under anyway. It doesn't help that I'm a little terrified of all the spiders and snakes. The whole damn thing just has me at my wit's end; even knowing a good place to start would be helpful. Any and all suggestions are welcome, even if they don't specifically address the three questions above.