Wednesday, April 17, 2024

How To Remove Mold From Attic Rafters

Where Did The Attic Mold Come From

How to Clean Up Attic Mold | This Old House

Molds grow from microscopic spores that are everywhere in the air. Molds are found everywhere in nature, including your attic, and are important for recycling organic matter . The recycling process they perform returns nutrients to the soil and is important for plants to grow. Attics have all the things mold needs to grow: food , oxygen,the right temperature, and moisture.

What Are The Common Causes Of Attic Mold Growth

To understand what causes attic mold, lets take a look back at the basic formula for any type of mold growth:

Food source + Warm temperature + Moisture = MOLD

When it comes to a food source, attics have plenty to offer including wood, insulation, drywall and cardboard boxes. And given that attics are typically not well ventilated, temperatures can quickly rise to comfortable levels for any type of mold. Lastly, moisture can make its way into attics quite easily through damaged roofs, chimneys, windows and skylights, cracks and other openings.

This is why youll often see attic mold form in the springwhen snow and ice dams that have accumulated over the winter melt and leak into homes. Spring is also when temperatures start to rise, creating the perfect conditions for mold growth.

Another common reason for mold and mildew in attics is improper ventilation. Unvented attics allow heat and moisture to accumulate to levels that promote mold growth. Also, bathroom exhaust fans that vent through the attic rather than directly outside are also known to leak, contribute to high moisture levels and cause attic mold.

Finally, moisture barriers and/or missing insulation can allow condensation to form on walls, which will ultimately turn into mold if the attic is not properly ventilated.

We strongly suggest that homeowners check their attics regularly to ensure that they stay dry and to catch any potential attic mold problems early on.

Is Hiring A Mold Remediation Professional Recommended

Considering that working in the attic is dangerous to inexperienced homeowners and even to experienced mold remediation technicians, the job should be left to professionals. Homeowners can rest in knowing the mold removal will be done correctly and they can breathe clean air again.

Mold remediation experts follow industry guidelines when eliminating mold from the attic. Chemical-based cleaning agents are used to kill the mold. Antifungal sealants are subsequently applied to prevent the spores from returning. Chemical processes are cost-effective, making them a popular choice.

Whether a homeowner chooses a DIY route or a professional one, removing attic mold is critical. Moldy attic air can pollute air in other parts of the home, causing health concerns. Plus, mold causes wood to rot, which can reduce the lifespan of the roof.

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Why Proper Attic Ventilation Is Important

Proper roof ventilation is very important in keeping your attic dry and mold free. Most homes have a passive system to circulate air through the attic. Around the ridge of your roof are soffit or eave vents that allow external air to enter the attic. This air then warms up in the attic, and leaves through can or ridge vents because heat rises. The process of air moving through the attic creates a well ventilated space, and prevents moisture and heat from being trapped.

Proper ventilation of the roof depends on both sets of vents being open, so that the air can circulate.

However, when air is unable to enter or leave the attic, moisture and heat build up and encourage mold growth. If the soffit or eave vents are blocked , fresh air cannot enter the space. If the ridge vents or can vents are blocked , moisture and heat can build up in the space with nowhere to go. We have visited homes with mold and moisture problems where there were no ridge or can vents and others where there were soffit or eave vents were blocked. Never assume these things are in place and working properly! Be sure to include checking these vents as part of your home maintenance routine.

Other Types of Improper Ventilation

Bathroom fan vented into the attic instead of outside the home. The moist air is causing mold growth.

What Steps Are Necessary To Prevent Mold Growth From Returning To The Roof Sheathing

Mold in Rafters before and after

Mold growth will return if the underlying moisture issues are not addressed. Typically, this involves increasing the roof ventilation and air sealing the ceiling of the top floor. Combining these two techniques both limits the influx of warm moist air and also helps remove the damp air that slips through. Exceptions do exist though. In some modern homes, the insulation levels are so high that no heat reaches the roof sheathing. You could have all the ventilation in the world and youd still have condensation problems. Why? If the sheathing is as cold as the outside air, additional ventilation doesnt really help. We need some radiant heat to escape into the attic to slightly warm the sheathing.

White mold growth on attic sheathing.

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So When Is A Roof Tear Off Necessary If I’ve Got A Moldy Attic Or Cathedral Ceiling

When the roof sheathing is rotted or damaged, or when other structural repairs are needed, a tear-off is unavoidable.

When attic surfaces or insulation contain a large reservoir of toxic or allergenic mold, AND if the area were inaccessible, say because thespace is too small to enter, then it may be necessary to remove some portion of roofing to give access for remediation, particularly if there is evidenceof transmission of problem mold from that space into the living area.

This article is part of our series: MOLD in BUILDINGS which describes how to find mold and test for mold in buildings, including how and where to collect mold samples using adhesive tape – an easy,inexpensive, low-tech but very effective mold testing method.

How To Get Rid Of White Mold

In our article Do I Need Professional Mold Remediation, we detail when hiring a professional mold remediation company is necessary. According to New York State, capable homeowners who are not highly sensitive to mold can remove mold themselves when the the affected area is less than 10 square feet. For these minor issues, homeowners can use tools, safety equipment and cleaners found at hardware stores. When the area is larger or in a hard to reach spot like an attic or basement, its recommended to call a mold removal service. Youll also have the piece of mind that the mold is completely removed and the cause of the mold is also addressed.

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Tips For Cleaning Mold

  • Remember that your goal is not to kill the mold spores, but to remove them. When they have been removed completely they cannot grow back.
  • Ventilate, ventilate, ventilate! Ventilation is important during cleaning, so that any disturbed spores exit the building. Close and tape off doors to the rest of the house and use a box fan in a window pointing out while cleaning. This will prevent spores from invading the rest of the home, and remove them from the air of the room to be cleaned.
  • Be sure to spray and then wipe all surfaces with a damp rag. Dry wiping will disturb spores and send them into the air! Airborne spores can regrow in new locations, and cause even more mold to grow. Mold spores are not visible to the naked eye, so be sure to cover all surfaces with your cleaner of choice, even if they look clean.
  • Do NOT use a vacuum to clean mold unless you have a vacuum with a HEPA filter. HEPA stands for high-efficiency particulate air, which means the filter can stop most particles of dust, pet dander, allergens, etc. that are 0.3 microns or larger and keep them from being put back into the air. The HEPA filter should be changed periodically to increase efficiency. Use with caution as mycotoxins may not be filtered out even when using a HEPA vacuum. Remember that you will eventually have to empty the vacuum, and it will be filled with the mold. Vacuuming is not the best method of removal.

How Much Mold In My Crawl Space Is Acceptable

Mold in the Attic

Mold is a natural part of our environment, but it doesnt belong in your crawl space. Even a small patch rapidly spreads as it feeds on the structural components directly under your home.

Airborne mold spores can also migrate into the house and impact the health of everyone upstairs. There are no acceptable levels of mold in a crawl space.

Also Check: How To Remove Mold From Linoleum Floors

What Causes Black Mold In Attic

Mold species such as Stachybotrys chartarum, which looks like slimy growth, loves attic, basement, bathroom, and space under the sink. Black mold can also grow behind the walls or attic ceilings, completely undetected until the occupants smell the presence or experience health problems.

Add bad ventilation and high humidity level, and you get perfect breeding grounds for black mold. Leak from roof may create drips that further dampen your attic, making it more susceptible to mold. You may seldom venture to the attic, which means the mold problem is often neglected until too late.

Skip Sheathing And Tongue & Groove

For many years the sheathing material of choice was skip sheathing or tongue and groove. Both of these were natural wood products with excellent mold resistance. While mold growth can occur on these materials, it typically requires far more moisture and time for the growth to occur. We regularly encounter attics with skip sheathing that have very poor ventilation and yet, remarkably little mold growth. Part of this is due to the age of the homes and the general lack of air sealing that occurred when they were originally constructed. However, a large factor is simply natural woods resistance to mold growth.

Below is an unusual example of mold attacking the skip sheathing, while the plywood remains largely unaffected. Often this is a sign that the plywood has been replaced recently. The mold growth may have occurred years ago and has yet to attack the new plywood.

White Mold Growth on Attic / Roof Sheathing

Below is a more typical example of mold growth. Note the heavy staining and growth on the plywood. The original skip sheathing has much less growth.

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What Does White Mold Look Like

When white molds are first developing they are very hard to detect since the spores are minsicule. Once the colonies form, white molds will appear as white spots on a surface. The spots can be powdery and filmy in nature. Although it can look similar to mildew at first, white mold is more harmful since it can grow within organic materials, not just at the surface. Below is a photo of white mold growing on wood rafters in an attic.

Making A Mold Removal Spray

Mold from Roof Leak

According to,, to make a mold removal spray, mix half white vinegar and half water in a spray bottle and spray down the mold colony. Tea tree oil and white vinegar are both completely natural and safe for wood and have strong fungicidal properties.For larger mold jobs, vinegar and tea tree oil may not be strong enough.

You can also try hydrogen peroxide, which is a strong but safe and natural alternative. Mix 1 part peroxide with 2 parts water and spray it on the moldy area, letting it dry for an hour. Scrub the area with a firm wire brush and allow it to dry one last time. Remove the plastic sheeting and repair any leaks to prevent new mold spores from emerging in the future. If your attempts at attic mold removal still don’t work, contact a mold remediator for further advice, as some mold infestations are so large, they are better handled by a professional.

Things You Will Need

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Getting Rid Of Mold In The Attic Tip :

  • Lets assume that you are in the middle of a real-estate transaction, and the home inspector just revealed to you, that your entire house attic is contaminated with black mold. If you have a brand new roof, you can only blame yourself or try to blame the roofing contractor for not checking the attic before replacing the roof . If you have an older roof, the importance of this getting rid of mold advice is even greater.

Be cautious if they only suggest humidistat controlled power vent installation without properly functioning soffit vents, any type of vents along the lower portion of the roof, or gable vents, this might not be an adequate solution.

  • If the attic insulation replacement is not required , make sure its sealed with plastic foil before the roof and its decking replacement. Fold the foil sealing its contents after the contaminated decking has been removed, and dispose of as a regular waste
  • If you only have a small area of attic contaminated with black mold, the roof replacement option would be more expensive. But instead of getting rid of mold from an entire attic by performing black mold remediation procedures, it might be cheaper to remove all contaminated decking, install completely new roof and correct ventilation issues. Ive seen $3,000.00 $10,000.00 invoices for the attic black mold remediation process in approximately 1000 1200 square feet of attic area.

S For Professional Attic Mold Removal Or Remediation

1. Define The Scope

The work begins with an Indoor Air Quality Assessment. Your inspector will define the extent of the necessary work and what may or may not need to be done. The inspector should talk you through all your options and tailor a plan that fits your needs and your budget.

Be sure to ask a lot of questions at this stage. The company you hire for an Indoor Air Quality Assessment should charge you for this service. Never expect a company that offers a free inspection to do a good job getting all the mold!

Not all mold removal and remediation companies are created equal. Before hiring anyone you should ask questions, a lot of questions. If they cant answer these questions or answer them to your satisfaction Dont hire them! For all the details check our our post: How to Choose the Best Mold Removal Company. We help you know all the questions to ask and all the correct answers!

2. Protect The People

Keeping your family and the work crews safe is our top priority. This means preparing your home for the work that needs to be done. Branch Environmental uses methods such as containment walls and negative air to keep your home safe, and well let you know if you can or cannot be in the home during the work. Check out our post Branch Environmental Keeping You Safe to learn more.

3. Correct Moisture Problems

Roof leaks are not always this dramatic. Small leaks over time can be just as damaging.

4. Remove The Mold

5. Restoration

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Broken Bathroom Fans And Dryer Vents

In addition to drying your clothes and airing out the bathroom, dryer vents and bathroom fans are designed to push the moisture out of your home. The best way to ensure that the moisture is pushed out of the home is to make sure it doesnt get caught in the attic. Also check the plumbing stacks for buildups of condensation as they can also be the source of mold. Just be careful, the plumbing stacks may also release toxic gases which can be dangerous when trapped within the attic.

Common Types Of Attic Mold

Attic Mold Cleaner

There is a plethora of mold in the environment every day. Most of the time it goes unnoticed until it causes a problem here are a few of the more common types of attic mold you may encounter: pink molds , white molds, yellow molds , blue-green molds , and black molds.

You may very well encounter any of these types of mold, but black and white molds tend to be the most commonly seen attic molds.

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Contact Floodtech 3 For Immediate Mold Remediation Services In Northern Virginia

Coming across mold in your attic isnt fun and is more common than you might think. The professionals at FloodTech 3 has years of experience in providing mold removal services to residents in the Washington D.C. Metro area. They understand the dangers as well as proper methods to completely remove mold from your home before it can get worse. You can trust our team to find a permanent solution to keeping mold out of your home. To get started immediately, contact us today and remove pesky mold in your home that may be damaging your families health.

Diy Attic Mold Removal Cleaning Softer Surfaces

Hard surfaces generally are able to be cleaned, and most of the time mold will not grow back if it is completely removed and the moisture problem has been fixed. Soft surfaces , are not always able to be cleaned completely enough to keep the mold from coming back.

Depending on how deep the mold penetrates the materials, upholstered furniture could be cleaned by a professional. Linens, clothes, and towels can be laundered in hot water to remove the mold, but stains may remain.

Leather tends to mold quickly in warm, damp environments such as basements.

Leather is prone to mold damage, and can be cleaned. However, leather should not be kept in a basement or location where moisture levels are high. To clean leather check out The Spruces Step-By-Step Guide on How to Clean Mold From Leather. You can also have significant or sentimental leather items cleaned by a professional leather cleaner.

When you have softer surfaces such as wood, insulation,carpet, drywall, and furniture that have been contaminated with mold, its time to It is very difficult to tell just how much of the surface has really been invaded by the mold just by looking because mold grows inside of its food sources.

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