How Does Moisture Get In Our Attics
To further talk about how mold gets in our attic we need to find out how moisture gets in our attic.
To break it down, your house is heated in the winter. When you heat air, the heated air holds more moisture and rises to the ceiling.
The hot air then finds tiny cracks and holes in your drywall through air vents, light fixtures, and wall junctions to enter the attic space.
Once in the attic, the hot air mixes with the cold winter air and begins to dew on materials, with the most common material being the roof decking.
Once dewing, the water can drip onto your drywall which causes staining on your ceilings or can create mold.
TL DR : Hot, humid air rises into your attic, mixes with the cold winter air and condensatescausing staining and mold.
Theres also this handy video that explains how mold gets in your attic in northern climates. However, you may or not need remediation suggested at the ending. Read on to find out.
What Are The Effects Of A Mold In Attic
Mold in the attic, including crawl spaces, is a problem. Mold can irritate allergies in some people and create an unpleasant odor in your home, and can potentially be dangerous to you or your familys health. Left untreated long enough, mold can cause severe structural damage and expensive repairs. Thats why its critical to find and remove the existing mold in your attic as soon as you are aware of it.
Spores are most potent when multiplied. For this reason, once attic mold begins growing, there is no way to stop it from spreading throughout the entire house by air moving through vents and air ducts in your HVAC system. This means that by the time you see visible mold on the ceiling of your attic or top of insulation around wall cavities or along wood beams, it has already spread across much of your home.
I Just Had A Roof Replaced On My House New Osb Sheathing And Added On Deck Intake Vents For Ventilation Along With Ridge Cap Vents Has Not Been A Month And Went Into The Attic And Noticed Almost All New Osb Has White Fuzzy Mold Growth Roofing Company Is Supposed To Come Out Next Week To See Whats Going On
The amount of regrowth is high for only a month. Is there any chance the OSB was saturated during the reroof? I.e. was it rained on prior to install? This certainly would explain the regrowth in an otherwise dry attic. Also, I see signs of past growth on the adjacent framing. This indicates a long term moisture issue in the past.
Here are a few items I recommend investigating:
Pathways For Moisture To Get To The Attic
There are multiple sources of moisture in the home but why do some homes have moisture and mold problems in the attic while other homes do not? As described above, there can be varying sources of moisture in a home and every house has different conditions and pathways that will allow the moisture to rise up to the attic. What are some of the main pathways?
- Attic hatches or attic pull-down stairs
- Recessed light fixtures or even regular light fixtures
- Ductwork and ceiling vent covers
- Bathroom exhaust fans
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Why Is There Mold In My Attic
Your place of abode should be a healthy and comfortable environment where you can fully relax and enjoy your weekends. You might think that your house is safe as there are no visible signs of mold inside your home.
However, do note that your attic, basement, and crawlspace if you have any, are also a part of your home that needs care. Most people commonly neglect these areas of the house and as a result, this small oversight eventually leads to more disastrous and even potentially dangerous problems. If you havent checked your attic in a while, this might be the best time to do so.
Attic mold is one of the most commonly overlooked house problems. The thing with mold that is growing in the attic is that its difficult to sense without actually inspecting the area. Its hard to tell without checking the surface first because unlike the mold that grows inside your house, you would not be able to immediately sense the strong musty smell thats coming off from mold contamination. The reason behind it is that the air circulating inside your home moves upward, in turn, mold spores do not have the capacity to go against that airflow and as such, it remains stuck in your attic. Even though attic mold does not directly affect your indoor air quality, it is still of utmost importance that you keep this area in check because youll never know if the mold growing in your attic is harmless or toxic.
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Where White Mold Is Likely To Appear
Is mold in attic common? The most favored white mold spots happen to be dark and damp and to obtain any food source. It usually appears, to our dislike, in the areas where we dont go often or store our places without examining them from time to time. The most common areas are the following:
- Attics come as a perfect living space for attic molds because they have a lot of sources of food, including insulation and wood. Attics also often have a high level of moisture caused by leaks in roofs, condensation from changing temperatures, pipes with leaks and wrong ventilation, which is enjoyed by white mold. It is very challenging to remove mold from attics since it usually has little free space. But we think that any homeowner should regularly check their attics because it gives an opportunity to notice white mold at the beginning of its development
- The most common areas for mold appearance in basements are usually wooden floor joists,concrete walls and things that homeowners have put into the basements such as clothing. Because of its usual location under the earth water can seep through the walls and result in a moist environment which causes white mold growth. Condensation sometimes occurring in the basement also results in its appearance.
We Recommend Consulting With A Mold Removal Specialist If You Have Mold In Attic
If you have mold in the attic, we recommend consulting with a mold removal specialist because:
- Insulation is often affected.
- Wooden beams and plywood may be affected and it can be difficult to remove all traces of mold from wooden surfaces.
- Heating, ventilation, and air conditioning ducts may also be affected.
- Mold removal specialists will have all the necessary equipment to do the job properly, including a negative air machine.
- Mold removal specialists know how to do the job safely, without exposing you and your family to additional mold spores that may be hazardous to your health.
- Most mold removal specialists offer free consultations, during which you can gather important information and advice even if you opt to handle the mold removal yourself.
Follow this link for a list of mold removal specialists offering free consultations in your area.
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How Does A Mold Problem Spread In The Attic
Mold comes from spores found naturally almost everywhere: food, dirt, dust, even air. These spores reproduce by releasing tiny particles into the air that then attach themselves to surfaces to grow into new mold colonies. For these spores to remain active and alive, they must have a stable combination of humid air and food sources nearby, which results in mold growth on ceilings or walls in a home.
The most common direct causes for this issue are roof leaks, siding or window leakage that allows for air leaks, improper ventilation leading to poor indoor air quality and attic moisture problems, insufficient insulation or insulation not properly installed, or poor or incorrect venting from the homes bathroom exhaust fans, kitchen and/or clothes dryer.
When the hot, moist air from the bathroom, kitchen, and clothes dryer rises up into the attic due to insufficient ventilation or incorrect venting, condensation can develop. This heated, wet air mixes with colder attic air throughout the year and may cause a condensation problem that leads to mold.
In most homes with a healthy HVAC system, air movement helps keep moisture away from mold spores and therefore keeps them from growing into new colonies. Unfortunately, if the HVAC system is not doing its job, and excess moisture is lingering in your attic, it can help mold grow despite your best efforts to keep everything dry.
Does Attic Mold Affect Indoor Air Quality
Given all these precautions for attic mold, you might be wondering why it can be so hard to notice until its too late. Part of that is because attic mold doesnt necessarily affect the quality of air inside your home.
This is due to the simple fact that warm air rises, a phenomenon known as the stack effect, in which air rises from the lower levels of your home to the attic. Since mold spores dont have wings as in they cant fly against the upward flow of the stack effect within a house its extremely rare for attic mold to affect the indoor air quality.
However, attic mold is a common issue that homeowners dont know they have until other issues arise. Although there are plenty of professionals that can remove attic mold, its also better to prevent it from happening in the first place, even if it doesnt directly affect the air in your house.
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How To Remove Attic Mold By Power Sanding
One such method is power sanding and wire brushing. This technique works well in smaller areas where the mold has not penetrated into the underlying material.
And, if the mold growth is in difficult to reach areas such as in joints, then dry ice blasting is a useful method. Just make to sure to gear up safely with the appropriate mold removing PPE or personal protection equipment before diving in).
The equipment for this technique can be very costly in time and money. And, it may even be prohibitive to the best of you DIYers. It is useful to keep in mind that getting rid of mold in your home, may very well be worth the cost of hiring a professional.
Other blasting methods use various media to remove mold from attic surfaces including sand, soda, corn cob, dry ice and walnut shell.
The Six Most Common Causes Of Attic Mold Growth Are:
Not just basements and bathrooms, roof leak in this Medford, NJ home leads to mold grows in attics too!
Roof leak in Vineland, NJ home leads to attic mold growth
When attic vents are blocked, moisture can build up causing attic mold growth
Mold remediation requires proper safety equipment
PuroClean Emergency Recovery Services technician suited up and ready to remove attic mold growth in this Philadelphia home.
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Signs You Have Attic Mold
As we have said before, many homeowners hardly visit their attic, so mold growth can go unnoticed.
Honestly, the best way to discover the problem is by visiting the attic once in a couple of months. It is only when the problem has been discovered that an attic mold remediation or attic mold treatment can begin.
Below are some clear signs you have some attic mold to deal with.
- Dark black stains on wooden surfaces in the attic
- The attic feels excessively warm
- A build-up of frost on the roofs underside
- Dripping water from smoke detectors or light fixtures
- Mildew smell coming from the attic
Does This Look Like Something I Should Be Concerned About And Getting Tested Thank You
Its a bit difficult to determine from the photo. It appears you have light/moderate mold growth appearing on the framing and sheathing. Attic mold should be considered a building failure issue, not a health concern. Due to the stack effect , mold issues in an attic do not impact the indoor air quality in the occupied area below.
I would further investigate your ventilation, air sealing, bathroom exhaust fans/ducts etc.
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The Best Way To Kill Mold In The Attic
Mold in the attic can be a health and safety hazardwhen you spot it, you have to act fast. While this pressure can feel overwhelming, there are several ways for you to tackle your mold problem the DIY way, before you have to call in a professional.
On that note though, if you do discover advanced mold in your attic, professional help may be your only option. Similarly, if you have preexisting health conditions like asthma or other lung or allergy-related ailments it’s best to leave the mold killing to someone else. Mold, when disturbed, can release spores into the air, and even if you’re wearing a protective mask, preexisting health conditions can put you at serious risk.
Causes of Mold
While damp and warm climates are a prime breeding ground for our fuzzy friend, other conditions that bring mold include lack of ventilation and proper sheathing. High humidity in a space like an attic can lead to mold and a spill in a carpeted area of your home that isn’t quickly taken care of can also lead to mold under the carpet. And just because you can’t see that mold doesn’t mean it’s not dangerous.
Knowing what climate and structural elements contribute to mold problems can help you know what trouble spots to check.
Hydrogen Peroxide Method
You may need to spray more than once or twice to get this method to bring the desired results.
Baking Soda Method
How You Can Prevent White Mold
The main feature of keeping white mold away from your home is to organize high-quality moisture control. You need to check regularly if the basement of your accommodation is sometimes flooded, or you acquire a roof with leaks, broken gutters, bad ventilation or a broken appliance.
In addition, in case the white mold has appeared, after combating it you should fight the reason why it has appeared. You can call a professional auditing company which will find the place where the issue of excessive moisture appears and will give the following advice concerning attic mold removal.
You should also try to keep your house rather clean. As mold requires a good food source, it can appear in dust, on paper, cardboard and many other natural fabrics. Therefore, try no to store such things in attics, basements or crawlspaces. It happens to be a good preventional measure.
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What Causes Attic Mold
We in the mold industry like to say that mold problems are moisture problems. In other words, you cannot have a mold problem without a moisture problem.
Generally speaking, attic moisture problems that lead to mold growth are most often caused by:
Lets take a look at each one of these three causes individually so you can make sure you or a professional fix the source of the mold problem.
Is Mold In Attic Common
Yes, attic mold is common because it can be found in any property, old or new. The condition for the growth of mold is abnormal moisture levels in the attic. Although attic mold can be found in all homes, research has shown that older homes are at a higher risk of attic mold infestation. This is because they often have faulty insulation that allows moisture to penetrate, thus creating suitable conditions for mold growth. The most common type of mold that grows in attics is Penicillium andAspergillus.
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What Does Mold Inside Closets Look Like
Mold inside a closet can take on many forms. It can be of various colors and textures. Some could be black and circular in growth pattern, while others can be dark green and have a hairy look. White mold is another mold that frequently grows in residential closets. You should be aware of what these look like and have a basic knowledge of what to look for. Once identified, a Mold Busters professional should be contacted to inspect the area.
Cause #: You Guessed It A Leaking Roof
Sometimes a roof leak is bad enough that water leaks into the floors below and becomes immediately apparent. While this kind of water damage is never fun, the good news is that at least you know what the problem is and can get it dried before mold starts to grow. However, for an unfortunate few, the roof leaks from the recent storm damage have gone unnoticed until the attic is visited to retrieve our holiday decorations. For these folks, mold has already begun to grow. Remedy: Get the roof repaired!
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What Does The Mold Growth Typically Look Like
Mold growth on the sheathing occurs in either a flat, low profile configuration or a fuzzy, 3 dimensional pattern. The flat, low profile growth can often look like soot or staining. In fact occasionally a home inspector will misidentify the mold growth as soot from a fire. Notice the dark staining in the first picture. This type of mold growth will not smudge or wipe off. The dark discoloration will remain long after the mold has stopped growing.
Below is an image of heavy 3-dimensional mold growth on the sheathing. Beneath the fuzzy growth, areas of staining can be observed as well. This type of attic mold is less common and typically easier to remediate. Because the staining is limited, a thinner layer of encapsulant can be applied.