Attics are unconditioned spaces within the roofing assembly of homes.
These areas are mainly used for storage and seldom entered by occupants. Attics are one of those areas prone to microbial growth.
Common Causes Of Mold Growth in Attic Areas
- Mold growth can occur in the attic when there are roof leaks, inadequate ventilation when bathroom exhaust fans discharge moisture into the areas of the attic, or when clothes dryers and other moisture-generating appliances are vented into the attic space.
- Areas packed with insulation allowing little to no airflow are prime locations for mold growth. Densely packed insulation can provide the perfect environment for mold growth, especially if the insulation material gets wet.
- You might also find mold growth in the soffits (the underside of an overhanging roof line that juts out from the house) and eaves (the exposed, shadowed area underneath a roof). There are lots of nooks and crannies that allow water to pool in these areas, leading to dampness. Dampness can cause roofing materials to start rotting. When this happens, there’s a good chance that mold has begin to infest the area if you don’t take care of it fast!
- It’s always better to be proactive with mold prevention than reactive when there are already signs of an issue. Inspecting your attic often to make sure there are no problems will probably take less time than it would to do a mole remediation.
- Additionally, condensation can occur if hot air in the attic encounters uninsulated HVAC ducts and other cold surfaces. Mold growth inside attics on the underside of the roof sheathing can be difficult, if not impossible, to remediate effectively, mainly because the areas are small or when it is inaccessible.
Mold found growing in attics does not pose an immediate hazard to building occupants because the attic is not a part of the internal building envelope.
Therefore, attics are not considered a part of the indoor environment.
But make no mistake, the growth of the mold and the source of moisture must be addressed to deter structural decay and other structural issues.
Water only needs a small opening to begin seeping into your attic from outside sources such as rainwater.
Left untreated, the mold can begin to grow and infest your attic in as little as a couple days.
If you do find any sign of a leak or dampness, make sure to fix it as soon as possible and then completely clean out your attic to get rid of any old organic material that might become a great place for mold to grow in the future.
DIY Steps On How To Get Rid Of Mold in The Attic
The first thing to remember is to take safety precautions when entering confined spaces such as attics and crawl spaces. Attics can be especially dangerous for the homeowner who is attempting to remediate mold in these areas.
Care should be taken to observe the temperature in attics during the hot months.
Temperatures can reach between 150 to 160°F during a summer day, even when the exterior temperature is only 95 to 97°F.
Therefore, in hot months, ensure that the area is ventilated, take frequent breaks, stay hydrated, and schedule the mold removal activity as early as possible before the temperature in the attic rises.
Additional safety precautions should be taken for fall protection. Firm walking areas should be in place to provide a suitable working platform.
Steps to get rid of mold growth in attics:
- Gather remediation equipment.
- Ensure you put on safety equipment (gloves, respirator, goggles, and skin protection).
- Set up containment by placing a sheet of ploy over the attic access opening to stop mold spores from entering the interior envelope of the home.
- Ensure soffits and ridge vents are unblocked, this allows ventilation.
- Use a HEPA vacuum to vacuum the surface where mold is observed.
- Mix the detergent and water solution (regular detergent and water) in a small container.
- Dip a wire or thick bristle brush in the detergent solution and begin to clean the area. You can also scrub the areas with a steel scrubbing pad. The wood and impacted area should be scrubbed until the area is clean.
- After scrubbing the material, use a cloth to dry the area.
- Wipe down the wood with a sanitizer such as Decon 30, or other listed and approved mold eliminating products.
- Place all the moldy debris in a heavy-duty trash bag (double the bag) and seal the bag using the gooseneck method.
- When the bag is sealed, HEPA vacuum the exterior, then remove it from the area and discard it as regular construction debris.
- Place a fan or a dehumidifier in the attic next to the remediated area. The fan should remain in place for a minimum of 24 hours to expedite the dry out process and remove any excess moisture caused while cleaning.
- After 24 hours, inspect the area for any remaining issues.
- If you chose to, you can apply a mold inhibitor to the area that was cleaned.
Attics unconditioned spaces that are seldom entered by homeowners.
They aren’t always carefully maintained like other parts of the home. All that required to have an mold issue in your attic is a small roof leak.
It’s always better to be proactive with mold prevention than reactive. If you think or suspect that you have a mold issue in your attic, act quickly and get help to address the issue promptly.
Be proactive with your mold prevention by checking your attic often.