There are really two components to attic mold treatment: removing the mold and repairing whatever defects led to the development of mold in the first place. We’ll tell you how mold is removed from an attic and about common defects or problems, like inadequate insulation and poor ventilation, which often lead to mold growth in attics. We’ll also tell you where you can get more information and how to find professional help if you need it.
It’s important to use proper protective gear when removing attic mold, including an N-95 respirator mask. The attic should also be sealed off from the rest of the home (see picture) and negative pressure should be set up so that if any mold spores get into the air they are removed from the home and not able to travel to other areas. It’s also important to seal any moldy materials in heavy plastic bags before carrying them through the house for disposal, so that mold is not accidentally spread to other areas of the home.
Attic mold treatment begins with removing mold. A biocide is used to remove the mold, along with a scrub brush and some old-fashioned elbow grease. After thoroughly removing the mold, wood can be painted with a mold-resistant paint, which will help prevent future mold growth.
Because wood is somewhat porous, it’s not always possible to remove all traces of mold from wooden surfaces. If mold cannot be completely removed, the wood should be removed and replaced if possible. If it cannot be removed and replaced, a technique called encapsulation is often used. The wood is coated with a special solution that seals in the remaining mold, preventing it from spreading. (We recommend calling in a professional if you have surfaces that require encapsulation, since it’s critical that the job be done correctly in order for it to work.)
There are other materials from which mold cannot be thoroughly removed, such as insulation. If insulation is moldy, it must be removed and replaced.
Mold does not just develop in attics for no reason. There’s no point removing mold unless you also fix whatever problems led to the growth of mold in the first place, because it will just come back. Usually mold growth is the result of some defect in the attic. Defects that commonly lead to the growth of mold in an attic include leaks, inadequate insulation and poor ventilation.
Most homeowners are aware that leaky roofs can lead to the development of mold in attics, but not all know how serious attic mold can become. Most strains of mold grow and spread rapidly and mold that begins in the attic can easily spread throughout a home. Mold damages wood and can end up causing structural damage to a home if not addressed. In addition, exposure to household mold has been linked to numerous health problems, including respiratory disorders, asthma attacks, allergic reactions, headaches and migraines, sore throats, chronic sinus infections and fatigue. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention(1) recommends seeing your primary care physician if you’ve been exposed to mold; your doctor can then refer you to a specialist, such as a pulmonologist or allergist, if needed.
Many homeowners are not aware that inadequate insulation and poor ventilation also contribute to mold growth. A well-designed attic is built to help insulate the home. The attic should remain cool in winter while heat is kept downstairs. If there is not enough insulation, though, or insulation is not installed properly, the attic may grow warm. Mold grows best in warm areas. Attics are also not meant to be airtight. They should have adequate ventilation so that warm, moist air does not become trapped inside. Homeowners are often unaware of problems with insulation or ventilation until they discover mold growing in an attic.
Check out this video to learn more about how problems with insulation and poor ventilation lead to mold growth.
For help dealing with attic mold, we recommend scheduling a free in-home consultation with a qualified mold remediation specialist. An experienced professional will visit your home, inspect your attic and other areas for mold, and advise you about the best way to remove the mold and how to prevent mold from returning again after it is removed. Most mold remediation specialists offer free initial consultations so there’s no obligation and you have nothing to lose. Even if you plan to do the work yourself, you can benefit from some expert advice. To find qualified mold remediation specialists in your area, just follow the link.
(1)CDC: Type of Doctor to See