The attic is a common place to store all the memories we have accumulated over the years. Attics are often loaded up with family heirlooms, old photographs, and childhood memories—things you want to keep forever but don’t need to access on a regular basis. Attic spaces are often ideal for storage because they are far away from your home’s foundations, and they are not at risk of flooding or other damages that affect ground spaces such as basements or garages.
However, they are not completely immune to damage; in some cases, they can be affected by mold. Small patches of fungal growth can quickly spread and cause massive damage to attic structures and anything stored within them. Mold can also lead to many health conditions that can affect you and your family.
Fortunately, mold is an easily preventable and manageable problem. Below, we have provided a handy list of ways to find, remove, and prevent mold in your attic.
The Causes of Attic Mold
Attic mold can form from several external and internal factors present in your attic. Mold grows when an excess of moisture causes surfaces to become damp. Mold spores will settle into these damp surfaces and feed on the moisture within, quickly spreading and growing. Anywhere there is moisture, especially if it is warm, mold can settle.
Other common causes of mold in our attics include:
1. Leaking Roofs
The purpose of a roof is to keep the elements out, but damage can occur over time under constantly changing weather conditions. Any time roof tiles are lost or damaged, or roofing material cracks under heavy snow or blazing heat, cracks or gaps will form. If left untreated, water will leak through these gaps and can cause moisture and lead to mold.
2. Poor Ventilation
We all know that heat rises, so naturally, a warm house will lead to massive amounts of heat in the attic. If this heat is not properly vented, it can quickly create the ideal breeding ground for mold. Condensation can form against cold surfaces and quickly cause dampness to spread. Add the warmth of the attic space, and you have the perfect environment for mold to grow.
3. Ineffective Insulation
Just as not allowing the heat to leave your attic space causes mold growth, letting too much cold in can result in the same. If your roof and attic space are not appropriately insulated, cold air can seep in, and this cold air will mix with the warmth, leading to the moisture mold loves so well.
How to Spot Attic Mold
Many telltale signs will appear when attic mold forms, such as:
- Damp smells – Mold and damp areas have a distinctly earthy smell. If you notice any particularly pungent aromas around your attic or in the ceilings of your rooms, you may have mold.
- Dripping water from fixtures – You may have moisture buildup if you notice any water dripping from ceiling fixtures such as lights or smoke detectors. Check your attic’s floor for signs of damp or mold.
- Stains on wooden structures – Mold often shows as dark patches when it forms. If you see these patches on your wood, check for mold.
- Stuffiness or excess warmth – If your attic is poorly ventilated, it will often get too warm. If this is the case, you should begin looking for mold, as the environment will soon be perfect for it.
- Breathing problems for you or your family members – In the worst cases of a mold infestation, spores from the growth can get into your lungs. In these cases, it can cause shortness of breath or other respiratory conditions such as chest infections.
How to Remove Mold
Once you have identified the presence of mold in your home, you can determine how you can get rid of it. There are several ways to remove small amounts of mold growth yourself, using tools and parts you can buy from your local hardware store.
If you decide to remove the mold yourself, first remember this important piece of advice: the attic can be a dangerous place to find mold. By its nature, it weakens and eats through wood, meaning that it can drastically weaken your attic flooring. Always be careful of weak patches and take precautions to ensure you don’t wind up falling through your ceiling.
Many antifungal chemicals are available both online and in your local hardware store. If your mold infestation is not too severe, applying these will help to clear up the growth. Most mold chemicals contain bleach, so always ensure you use the correct precautions, such as protective clothing and masks when you use them. Once the area is clean, you can repaint the area to help strengthen it again.
Replace Infested Structures
The infested area will be too warped or weakened to remain in your home in more extreme cases. If this happens, the area will need to be removed completely and replaced. If the infested area is an important structural beam, this could become a major problem that you cannot do alone. Ensure that all remaining areas are clean and healthy before you call it a job well done.
Call a Professional
In cases when the damage caused by mold is deep and extensive, your best choice will be to hire a professional Utah mold clean up expert. They are trained in proper deep-cleaning and structural replacement methods and have all of the gear to stay safe while removing the mold. A pro can mitigate even the most dangerous of mold infestations and leave your attic space looking cleaner and fresher than ever.
How to Prevent Mold from Forming
Ultimately, as they say, the best offense is a good defense. There are a few simple things you can do to prevent mold from growing in your home.
- Maintain constant vigilance, repairing any damaged roof tiles or replacing insulation where it is missing.
- Ensure your attic space is properly ventilated and all vents are securely installed.
- If you get prolonged rain or snow, clear up any standing water before it stagnates and check for and repair leaks.
- Varnish any exposed wooden structures to help protect them from intrusions of damp or mold.