Understanding and Treating Attic Mold
By Pierre Mouchette | Real Property Experts LLC
Mold can grow anywhere in our homes. One area most often overlooked is the attic. Since most people do not actively use their attics, mold can flourish in this hidden-away space for months or even years before anyone realizes that there is a problem.
Why Does Mold Growth Occur in The Attic?
Mold can begin in the cellulose-rich structural elements (wood, paper, etc.), where the spores then gradually drift downwards, settling on the insulation and if a food source is available, the mold can then reproduce across the insulation’s surface. Typically, this food source arrives in the form of dust and mold can feed on the remains of dust mites, creating something of a symbiotic food chain of allergens. This will eventually find its way into the air of the home below.
For a mold infestation to begin in the attic, a source of moisture must be present. Sometimes water infiltrates via a leak in the roofing, but even the roof is in excellent repair, it’s still possible for a mold infestation to flourish below. The culprit in these cases can be inadequate ventilation and/or a leak somewhere in the ventilation system that allows moisture from outside to enter the home. No matter where the attic’s moisture originates it quickly penetrates the cellulose materials within the attic and becomes trapped within the fibers of the insulation itself, resulting in an overall damp environment that’s ideal its growth.
What Should I Do If Have Attic Mold?
The first thing you must understand is that mold spores from the attic inevitably circulate throughout the house, putting your family at risk for serious health problems. In addition to causing allergic reactions, mold has been implicated in cases of severe respiratory distress, pneumonia, chronic headaches, immune system disturbances, confusion, and fatigue. Mold can also cause serious structural damage to your home, so the longer you leave an active mold infestation in place, the more costly the eventual repairs will be.
If you catch mold infestation in its early stages, that is when it’s simply a thin layer resting on top of the insulation, you may be able to have the insulation professionally inspected and cleaned. After, you will have to work with a mold expert to identify the source of the moisture in your attic to prevent mold from reoccurring. If, on the other hand, the mold growth is already extensive, you will need to have the insulation removed and completely replaced.
Choosing the Right Mold Remediation Team
Additionally, make sure that you will be working with a certified indoor air specialist or builder when coordinating the installation of your new insulation.
Your roof should be checked for leaks and your home’s ventilation system should be thoroughly inspected, then your chosen indoor air professional should install appropriate ventilation in your attic (with ridge and soffit vents). Once the steps have been taken, your attic should remain balanced and free from the conditions to support mold.
Material to be removed due to mold should be accomplished in the following manner