Best Commercially Available Products For Diy Attic Mold Removal
The best mold removal products are those that are non-toxic and safe to use around children and pets.
There are 2 commercially available mold removal products that we recommend. Both are cleaners that are safe to use in your home and near children or pets. Remember that you should always wear personal protective equipment when cleaning mold of any color, no matter how safe your cleaner may be.
The other product we recommend has not been reviewed by EWG, however, it is an excellent and safe product that we can highly recommend. Bioesque Botanical Disinfectant Solution kills fungi and mold within 3 minutes. It also kills bacteria and viruses including COVID-19.
To learn more about this product and its safety check out the companys website at: Bioesques Botanical Disinfectant Solution.
An Additional Way Moisture Can Get Into Our Attics
A common occurrence in Florida is having bathroom fans vent directly into the attic. In Florida, this is usually fine because the attics are well ventilated and the attics are already super humid throughout the year.
On the other hand, if you were to do that up north the humid air would instantly combine with cool air in the attic and begin to dew causing mold/staining.
So, check your bathroom fan vents to see where they are venting to. If you are up north, they should be venting to the exterior.
Is Mold On Your Ductwork a Problem?
Well, in many cases not really.
HVAC technicians may try to sell you on new ductwork, but in southern climates near the beach, mold being on the outside of the ductwork may not be a big deal.
As long as moisture is not sweating too much to cause puddles of water, staining, and damaged materials!
For more information on the science behind dew points and condensation read here.
How To Clean Up Attic Mold
Ignoring your attic mold can lead to health problems like allergies or asthma as the mold releases its spores into the air and they are breathed in by the home’s residents. Additionally, if you’re looking to move soon, some states require the mold to be disclosed when selling a home, meaning that it’s something you’ll need to take care of before your home hits the market.
However, you probably shouldn’t worry about serious health problems stemming from attic mold. According to the CDC, it has not been proven that rare health issues such as pulmonary hemorrhage or memory loss are actually caused by toxic mold.
Unfortunately, cleaning up your attic mold is no easy process. In order to DIY it, you’ll need protective gear, a negative air machine, polyethylene sheets, a dry ice blaster, a wet/dry vacuum with a HEPA filter, and a mold-resistant coating.
Here’s what you’ll need to do: while wearing your protective gear, cover the attic floor with the sheets and turn on the negative air machine to filter the air while you work. Next, use the dry ice blaster to blast the mold off of the surface of the wood. Then, vacuum up the mold dust that has fallen onto the sheeting and discard the sheeting. Finally, you’ll apply the mold-resistant coating to prevent future attic mold.
Does this process seem a bit intense to you? We agree. That’s why most mold experts recommend hiring a professional to do the work for you.
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Black Mold Removal With Essential Oils
There is much more than essential oils can do apart from their use in household activities. For instance, tea tree oil is among the safest way of doing away with black molds since its insect repellant, a deodorizer, and an antiseptic.
You can use the product to effectively clean away molds from the wood surfaces and prevent them from regrowing.
The steps include mixing a teaspoon of tea oil with water in a spray bottle, then spraying the affected areas, and giving the surface at least an hour to dry. After drying, wipe off the surface with a dry cloth or towel.
Since essential oils can irritate your skin, consider having some protective gear while using the product.
When To Hire A Professional
If the mold is caught early and only covers a small area, you should be able to remove it with household cleaners. For extensive mold problemsespecially those in poorly ventilated areas, such as crawlspacesor for anyone with mold allergies or a compromised respiratory system, consider hiring a professional.
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Inner Wall Mold Testing
When mold is suspected behind a wall or above a ceiling, those areas should be tested. Todays mold testing technologies and techniques allow mold specialists to take air and surface samples from wall or ceiling voids easily with a very minimal intrusion. This testing will only be done upon request and accessibility is dependent upon material covering.
I Found My Dream Home And It Has Attic Mold Now What Dont Panic
Whether youre buying or selling a home in the Pacific Northwest, mold is a fact of life. Mold spores are floating in the air all around us. They dont grow until they can attach themselves to a moist surface. Attic mold tends to go undetected because the attics not a place a homeowner spends much time hanging around in so when attic mold turns up on a home inspection, its often a surprise to both buyer and seller.
If you find mold in the attic, first, take a breath. Mold in these areas isnt a significant factor in indoor air quality, and truthfully, most molds are relatively harmless to humans. Visible mold is ready to be remedied and doesnt require costly testing. What you dont want to do is leave mold untreated, because the materials the mold has attached to can cause issues with timber and framing integrity. In the attic, mold can degrade drywall, spread to the ceiling below, and even cause problems with your roofs life expectancy.
Causes of attic mold
Mold can also grow in the attic when a home has been built during Oregons wet months. If interior wood framing and plywood had not been sufficiently dried before adding drywall and roofing material, moisture could be trapped inside.
Other factors that can contribute to attic mold are improperly vented combustion appliances like the stove or dryer improperly venting kitchen or bathroom fans improperly installed rain gutters or a leaking roof.
Eradicating mold for good is a two-part process
First, clean it up
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Mold In Attic: A Common Problem For Homeowners
Discovering attic mold is a common problem homeowners face. Attic mold growth occurs when moisture and heat combine to provide a perfect environment for mold spores to grow. The presence of these spores can be harmful to humans, especially those with allergies or asthma, and should not be left untreated. Fortunately, if you act before the mold has had a chance to spread, removing mold from your attic space can be relatively easy and inexpensive.
In this blog, we will walk through the steps necessary to remove mold from an attic by looking at how it spreads, what causes it, why its crucial to get rid of it, how you can do so safely, and finally, prevention tips that will keep your home safe from future outbreaks of mold infestation.
Typically Inspectors Come With Many Types Of Equipment
The first one is a machine. This machine is like a small vacuum that sucks in air. The second part to this type of equipment are the cassettes. The cassettes are special devices that channel the sucked in air through a slide that captures air spores.
You can see an image of one of our inspectors completing air quality testing below. The top portion is the cassette while the case is the machine.
Other forms of equipment an inspector may use are:
A moisture meter to detect moisture levels.
A humidity reader to determine the level of water in the air.
A thermometer to verify the temperature of the home.
A thermography camera to look at temperature differentials.
And general inspection equipment like a flashlight and camera.
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What Steps Are Necessary To Prevent Mold Growth From Returning To The Roof Sheathing
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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What Methods Remove Mold From Attic Plywood
The homeowners first task is to repair the moisture source. Without fixing the water problem, the mold will only continue to flourish in the attic, despite cleaning the plywood. Remember that mold infestations occur in areas where a constant moisture source is available.
Loose mold particles may be removed with a wet rag and detergent. When wiping away mold, be careful to avoid spreading the spores to uncontaminated areas. Steri-wiping is the process of folding a contaminated rag and using its clean side to wipe away new areas of mold.
When nails protrude from the attic plywood, wiping the moldy areas is unfeasible. Rather, spray cleaning is an alternate method. Dry-process spray cleaning with baking soda or frozen C02 followed by HEPA vacuuming will effectively perform the task of eliminating the mold.
Unless barriers and negative air have been set up, do not sandblast areas inside the attic. Doing so will only increase the spread of mold spores throughout the area. Be aware that killing all the mold spores will be unlikely and dead spores will continue to be toxic.
Power washing with water or other liquid solutions will be problematic. The attic insulation and other contents will become dampened with moisture, necessitating replacement. Allowing contaminated or wet insulation to remain in the attic will only accelerate the attic mold problem.
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What Causes Attic Mold Problems
The most common area for mold to grow in your home are attics. Attics are the perfect place for mold growth due to the conditions they are in hot, humid, and an abundant food source with the wood sheathing.
Generally speaking, attic moisture problems that lead to mold growth are most often caused by:
- Blocked or Insufficient Ventilation
- Improper Exhausting of Bathroom Fans or Dryer Vents
- Roof Issues/Leaks
Exposure to mold can cause a number of health issues, such as, throat irritation, nasal stuffiness, eye irritation, coughing and wheezing. In rare cases mold can also cause skin irritation.
How To Get Rid Of Mold Growth In Your Attic Space
Luckily, there are a few tips that we can share that can be helpful for DIY mold treatments. The best time to tackle attic mold removal is before the infestation spreads across most of your living space , otherwise, youll find yourself having to deal with more than one colony. Special precautions need to be taken when addressing mold in the home, and few homeowners have the tools and resources needed to ensure that they are safe during the process. Even minimal exposure to mold during the removal process can lead to health issues for you and your family so exercising extreme caution and calling a PuroClean professional is strongly recommended.
If you are uncomfortable with dealing with mold, or the surface is larger than about 10 square feet, youll need the help of a mold professional with equipment like HEPA vacuums, PPE , and ozone machines because their combined power will make quick work of any mold that remains after cleanup is complete. If mold has already spread to other, more hidden, attic areas, youll have a hard time getting it out.
If the mold is caused by a moisture problem or a roof leak, remove all wet or moist materials you can see, especially anything soft or porous, from your attic spaces. This includes insulation, stored roofing materials or shingles, old cardboard boxes or paper products, wood materials and decking as well as other fabric-based items like clothing and carpet.
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When To Test For Mold
Beyond actually seeing mold, there are several clues that point to the presence of mold in a concealed area. If mold isnt visually apparent, you may still want to test for mold if you have any of these signs:
- There is a rotten or musty smell
- You experience allergy or asthma flare-ups
- Wall or floor surfaces are warping or bubbling
- You discover water damage that went untreated
Look For Shapes And Patterns
Most molds show up as big, unsightly splotches on wooden surfaces. This is especially true in attics given the lack of disturbance and likelihood of small water leaks in the pipes that run through them.
As previously mentioned, these can be in different colors, as well, although green and white seem to be two of the most common.
Something to keep an eye out for, though, is mold that grows in a pattern.
Black mold has a tendency to form perfect circles or crescent moon shapes as it spreads. If you see this type of formation, youre not dealing with average mold and should contact a professional to remove it as soon as possible.
Failure to eliminate this type of mold could pose a health risk to you and your family.
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Not All Sheathing Is Equally Mold Resistant
Ironically, despite the many gains weve made in the building codes, weve still managed to install progressively worse and worse attic sheathing materials over the decades. Of course, the problem of mold growth is much more complicated than a simple choice of materials, involving ventilation, insulation, air sealing, etc. But our choices of materials havent made mold prevention any easier.
Health Symptoms Of Toxic Mold
In some cases, the first sign of toxic mold in your attic may be physical symptoms. If left untreated, toxic mold can lead to a number of health problems that can worsen with time. Some of the most common symptoms include
- A sore throat
- Itchy skin and eyes
These common symptoms may simply be from allergies or a cold, but if they last longer than two weeks, they may be due to untreated mold. Fortunately, these symptoms often go away once the mold is eliminated. However, toxic mold can cause worsening or even permanent problems if it remains in your environment for a long period.
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Do I Have To Replace Moldy Subfloor
Moldy carpet and other flooring materials must be removed carefully because the process of pulling them up can spread mold spores. The moldy subfloor must also be removed and replaced. Particular care must be taken when cutting into moldy wood because the process sends mold spores flying into the air.
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Checking For Visible Mold
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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.