Top 4 Reasons Attics Get Mold!
To date, we have provided you with many informative articles and facts about mold designed to educate and inform you. Here is a partial list of some of our more popular articles:
- Mold: 4 Common Questions! Learn more.
- How To Select A Mold Removal Contractor? Learn more.
- What Is Black Mold? Learn more.
- Is There Mold Hidden In Your Home? Learn more.
- Ten Things You Should Know about Mold! Learn more.
- Mold Spores: A Tough To Avoid Asthma Trigger! Learn more.
- Chronic Sinus Problems Can Be Caused by Mold! Learn more.
- If Your Basement Smells Bad, You Could Have A Mold Problem! Learn more.
- Indoor Air Quality In Schools Is A Serious Concern! Learn more.
Continuing with our quest to answer questions about mold, the purpose of this article is to answer the following question: What’s Causes MOLD in an Attic? As the article reveals, there are four common reasons why attics develop mold.
Experts at mold remediation from your home or office
Contact us today
Top 4 Causes Of Attic Mold Growth!
It is not uncommon to find mold in the attic. So what do you do now? There are some key points to consider here beyond the obvious question, “How much is this going to cost?”
First and perhaps most importantly, how did the mold end up growing there?
Attics are ventilated to the outdoors by means of gable vents, or a combination of soffit and ridge vents. The construction of an attic is designed to have air exchange from the outside in and vice versa.
It allows heat to dissipate rather than building up under the roof deck. This means a ventilated attic is effectively an outdoor space with a roof, so mold spores outside are coming in. Now we know how the mold spores got there, but why is it growing in the attic only and not in my living room? And why isn’t mold in every attic?
There are a few things that need to occur for there to be mold growth.
First, mold spores.
Second, a food source. We know attics have ample amounts of organic material to serve as a food source for mold.
The third item needed is what makes the difference between mold existing or not. Quite simply, it all revolves around moisture.
Where’s the moisture coming from?
Fans Vented Into The Attic
“Probably the most common cause of moisture entering the attic is improperly vented bathroom exhaust fans. We see this ALL the time. Venting the exhaust fan into the attic can cause SERIOUS moisture issues, as well as deterioration of the roof sheathing. (Mike Hogan, Owner, First Call Restoration)”
Mold will grow if there is moisture, food, and warmth.
Poor building practices occur when the dryer vents, plumbing vents, kitchen or bathroom fans are vented into the attic.
Dryer exhaust vents, kitchen exhaust fans and bathroom exhaust fans are designed to pump moisture out of your home. Make sure that they are vented to the outside of your home and not in the attic.
Plumbing stacks in the attic can also be a source of condensation, which can lead to attic mold growth. Plumbing stacks can also emit hazardous gases, so make sure that they too do not terminate inside the attic.
If any of your vents are routed into the attic, hire a reputable contractor to re-route the vents to the outside of your house.
A Leaking Roof
If you have a roof leak, you may see water on your floors and water stains on the ceiling. The good news, you know that you have a problem.
However, if you have a roof leak and it goes unnoticed leading to moisture accumulation in your attic, this will eventually lead to mold growth that you may not even know exists.
This is the reason it is important to inspect your attic several times each year, just to make sure that there is no moisture buildup.
- Check for discoloration of insulation and wood (e.g. rafters, sheathing, joists, attic side of fascia boards, etc.).
- Check roof valleys (i.e. where two roofs join at an angle), which are highly susceptible to roof leaks.
- Observe skylights, chimneys, attic windows and any portion of the attic/roof where dissimilar materials join each other (including flashings). These places are hotbeds for potential moisture intrusion.
- If you have a vapor barrier installed, check for condensation. Although this is not really a roof leak, it is nevertheless a sign of a moisture problem. And moisture problems lead to attic mold problems!
- Make sure there are no leaks coming from and around attic plumbing stacks.
The first step to addressing the moisture cause is to get your roof repaired, then contact First Call Restoration to remove the mold.
Missing Insulation or Improperly Installed Insulation
The quest to save money on heating and cooling bills motivates many Do-It-Yourselfer’s to install more insulation in their attics.
Unfortunately, if the wrong kind of insulation is chosen or if it is installed improperly, this can cause moisture from the lower levels of your home to rise and get trapped in the attic.
As we have written before, the primary cause of mold growth is moisture. Your attic is made of the food mold loves to feed on.
With respect to the type of insulation, if you are layering insulation on top of other insulation, make sure you do not use the kind that has paper or foil backing because it acts as a vapor barrier and can trap moisture in the insulation.
Before you decide to add more insulation to your attic, determine if you need more first. If you are unsure, contact First Call Restoration. We are insulation specialists and have a solution for you!
Inadequate Attic Ventilation
One of the problems we have encountered in our projects is the fact that insulation is blocking the ventilation ducts that distribute air in the attic.
The lack of ventilation is another major cause of mold growth in your attic.
Air travels up to the attic meaning activities such as cooking, bathing, showering, etc will produce moisture that will makes it way up to the attic. If there is poor ventilation, the moisture gets trapped in the attic and can lead to mold problems.
Check your soffit vents and make sure they are free of insulation, bird nests, and other debris that could be blocking them and preventing proper air flow.
If you are unsure if the ventilation is ideal in your attic, give us a call so that we can take a look.
Concluding Thoughts On Why Mold Grows In Your Attic!
Once the cause of your attic moisture issues are identified, then the next step is to determine if you have a mold problem.
Mold is nature’s recycler and will grow and proliferate when moisture is present.
Condensation in an attic, heat and humidity from household activities (cooking, showering, etc.), and the fact that the attic provides an excellent food source for mold, provides the ideal conditions.
All mold needs to grow is 24 to 48 hours and as long as the proper conditions exist, it will continue to proliferate.
If you do find mold in your attic, DO NOT use bleach or try to kill the mold!
The first thing that needs to be done is to correct the moisture issue. Is the roof leaking? Are you venting the exhaust to the outside where it belongs? Once the moisture issue is corrected, mold remediation can be considered. You will need a NY State licensed mold assessor to first test the attic and, if the attic tests positive for mold, they will write a remediation plan.
The next step is to contact First Call Restoration. We will come out and do a free estimate. Our estimate will be a line-by-line detailed report of what will be done and the cost, with no hidden fees.
Got Attic Mold Questions?
For you information, we offer a downloadable PDF that you can print and read: MOLD in the Attic!
If you suspect you have mold in your attic, please don’t hesitate to call us, (845) 226-0868 or send us an e-mail. We look forward to serving you! 🙂
Experts at mold remediation from your home or office
Contact us today
We do mold remediation in Poughkeepsie, Hopewell Junction, Newburgh and all nearby counties.