Advanced Mold Detection Services

Mold Inspection, Mold Removal and Mold Remediation

(603) 471-3090

Advanced Mold Detection Services

Mold Inspection, Mold Removal and Mold Remediation

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Attic Mold Remediation - Black Mold Removal

Simple Strategies For Understanding & Correcting Attic Mold

Attic mold is extremely common in our Northern climate.

Attic Mold growth is generally directly attributable to 4 basic causes.

  • 1. Lack of adequate ventilation or improper ventilation
  • 2. Existing, or past roof, or roof flashing leaks.
  • 3. Improperly exhausted bathroom fans, and or, dryer vents.
  • 4. Ice damming as a result of inadequate insulation, and or, failure to incorporate enough "Ice Shield Membrane along the eaves.

By far the most common cause of all attic mold is improper ventilation.

Attic Mold Pictures

These attic mold photos are from some recent mold remediation jobs we have performed during April and May of 2021. As you can see, the mold types and severity vary from one attic to another. We were able to restore all of these attic ceilings to mold-free and clean looking wood.

Attic Mold

We'll briefly discuss each problem and the appropriate remedy as well as covering the basic mold remediation strategies recommended for the Southern New Hampshire area.

Let's start by explaining that in most attics the mold does NOT grow in the summertime. This is because during the spring, summer and early fall months the daytime temperature of the attic is far to warm for the mold to effectively grow and the humidity levels inside the attic are typically too low to allow mold growth. Most mold will only grow between 40 and 90 degrees Fahrenheit. Some molds that belong to a special class of mold ( the ones usually affecting northern climate attics) called the Chrysophile molds will grow in temperatures as low as the 20's. Cladosporium is a black mold that we commonly find growing on damp attic ceiling sheathing. Another common attic mold is aspergillus. Its usually found growing in poorly ventilated attics on the ceiling joists.

How The Mold Grows

During the winter months when we heat our homes, some of the heat is inevitably lost into the un-heated attic space. This hot air mass then moves upward where it will dissipate outside if the attic is properly vented.

If however the attic is poorly vented the hot trapped air will encounter the cold surface of the underside of the roofing boards or sheathing. This hot -air- meets- cold-surface results in dew-point being achieved. This dew-point created condensation and is often more noticeable on the nails as the nails are more efficient at conducting the cold temperature from outside. The condensation then forms water droplets which can drip onto the floor of the attic, or worse, sometimes run down into the wall cavities below resulting in potentially "hidden " mold which can be the source of frustrating to diagnose health problems.

Attic Ceiling Mold With Frosted Nail Heads in the Winter

Often a roof will have sufficient roof ventilation (ridge vent), but the soffits (eaves) are not vented. Even more common is when a house receives new siding. The siding contractor will install vented soffit panels. This gives the eaves the appearance of being vented, when in reality they are not, as no holes were ever cut into the plywood covering the bottom of the eaves. Sometimes the attic is ventilated properly, but an overzealous attempt to insulate has blocked the air flow from the soffits to the ridge preventing proper ventilation. An easy way to check whether or not the vents are there, or are functioning properly, is to go up into the attic on a sunny day, extinguish all lights and look for daylight coming in along the edges. A well ventilated attic should allow visible daylight in along the edges.

Attic Ceiling Mold With Frosted Nails in the Winter

What is the best way to vent the roof?

Roof ventilation is divided into two categories: Incoming air and Outgoing air.

Incoming Air: The most effective way for air to enter the roof is through vents that are placed in the soffits along the eves. Continuous strip vents provide the most reliable ports as well as rectangular vents (if enough are installed). Round ventilator plugs are easy to install but are usually to small to provide adequate air flow.

Outgoing air: Stale or heated air escapes through the top of the roof. There are many ways to achieve sufficient ventilation including : Ridge Vents , Turbines or Powered Vents, Box Vents and Gable End Vents.

Continuous ridge vents are the preferred method for eliminating built up hot air but may not be sufficient to ventilate short ridged roofs like hip roofs.

Ventilating heated attics or cathedral ceilings properly is often neglected during initial construction. This often results in ceiling drywall growing mold on the back side when the builder fails to vent and baffle the area behind the ceiling insulation and drywall.

Roof leaks always need to be addressed by a professional roofer and special attention needs to be paid to flashings around chimneys and indeed any penetration found in the roof decking. Flashings often require maintenance between roof shingling jobs and are extremely important to maintain. Roof leak can often develop into festering mold problems both in the attic cavity or worse, inside of hidden wall cavities in the home.

Ice Damming occurs along the eves immediately above the plate-line of the exterior walls. Leakage in this area easily penetrates into wall cavities where it can become trapped between exterior finish materials and interior vapor barriers. A surprisingly small amount of water can raise the relative humidity of a wall cavity to damaging levels. Mold growth may eventually become visible along the wall base as it penetrates from exterior to interior wall surfaces. More critically spore and VOCs (Volatile Organic Compounds) released by mold can aggravate serious health problems in the house's occupants. Especially at risk are the very young and the old as well as allergy -sensitive or immuno-compromised adults.

In some mild cases ventilation corrections are enough to cure the problem in severe cases the roof shingles must be removed and an ice dam membrane material (Grace is top rated) installed along the lower eves to prevent damming. It should run 6 feet up from the eaves. On a very shallow pitch roof the ice dam membrane should run the entire length from the eaves to the ridge vent. In severe cases mold growth can spread into the exterior walls. The drywall and wall insulation would then need to be professionally removed and disposed of and mold remediation performed.

Improperly vented bathroom fans: Bathroom fans and dryer vents can generate a lot of moisture. They should always be vented directly up and out through the roof. Often times builders or do it yourselfers will discharge fans or dryer discharges directly into the attic, greatly increasing the overall humidity. Do-it-yourselfers often try to connect more than one fan into a discharge and will commonly run the discharge out to the eves or soffits rather than straight up and out through the roof. The remedy is simple one fan one roof vent directly vertically up through the roof overhead. On the outside the vent has a hat and is not a risk for water leaks. Remember, the soffit vents are air intakes. Venting a bathroom or dryer through a soffit vent will allow some of the moist air to get drawn right back into the attic.

Attic Mold Remediation Treatments

Unfortunately there are as many "treatments" for mold as there are remediators out in the real world offering "mold remediation". Mold spores can grow at alarming rates. Under ideal conditions, one mold spore can develop into 12 million in twelve hours!

Also, the mold is feeding on the attic ceiling sheathing and ceiling joists and what you can see with the naked eye are millions and millions of them clumped together. What you can't see are the "roots", the mold organism itself. The roots of mold (hyphae) can grow into the substrate 3/16 of an inch or deeper. What we think of as the mold (the clumped spores) are actually the fruit or reproductive body, like an apple on a apple tree. You cannot hope to solve a mold problem leaving these roots and treating only the surface of the wood.

Common problem: Treating mold growth on a porous surface, such as wood, with bleach. Bleach has an ion structure that prevents it from penetrating into a porous substrate like wood, this means it leaves the roots un-harmed. This technique leaves the complete root structure intact and guarantees that if you ever have a new water leak, or moisture continuing to condense on the attic ceiling, the mold will go right into full production and the mold problem will immediately return.

Our Mold Remediation System

Phase 1 - Prepping the Home The first thing we do is site preparation. We isolate the attic from the rest of the house. We'll install an air scrubber machine. We put down protective covering outside the attic entranceway along the hallway. This important step protects your home, and guarantees no staining or dirt is carried into the carpets in the home. Your house is important to us we will treat you as if we were working on our own house!

Phase 2 - Killing the mold growth We'll clean the attic ceiling wood and ceiling joists with an EPA registered moldicide/cleaner/disinfectant/sanitizer that is specifically formulated for mold remediation that will kill all types of mold and toxic bacteria.

Phase 3 - Mold Stains - Getting Rid of the Evidence This is absolutely a must. While mold stains can just be cosmetic in nature, failure to remove the stains will result in untrained eyes (home inspectors) thinking that the mold is still active. Removing the stains is the least important step scientifically, but it is the MOST IMPORTANT step perceptually.

Phase 4 - Kill the Roots This will keep it from coming right back! Our cleaning product is specialy designed to penetrate deeper into the substrate (mold roots commonly grow 3/16's of an inch into the wood) and kill the roots of the mold. This will also eliminate the dark mold staining.

Phase 5 - Application of an anti-microbial sealer This is also sometimes referred to as an encapsulent sealer. These coatings come either as a clear, or a white tinted sealer. A quality clear sealer is the best. Many people mistakenly apply a white paint coating like Kills, instead of a proper anti-microbial sealer. I've seen many properties where the mold is re-growing right on the white paint coating. A high quality anti-microbial sealer should also be applied if there is any chance of the ventilation corrections not being adequate to properly vent the home's moisture out of the attic, or if, the home has higher than normal basement or upstairs moisture levels.

Note: It doesn't matter if ventilation corrections are done before, or soon after mold remediation is completed. But, ventilation corrections must be done before the cold weather returns. In Massachusetts that means by November 1st.

Long Extended Warranties

Advanced Mold Remediation warranties average from 6 to 10 years.

How long does it take?

Typically we can complete an attic project in 2 days...Two days if we're applying a sealer. The work for an attic is typically done by a two or three man crew, who work mostly on attic and crawlspace mold problems day in and day out, week in and week out. They are highly trained and very efficient.

How Much Does it Cost ?????

The prices that are being charged by companies for mold remediation work can vary significantly. The quality of the mold remediation work they perform can also vary greatly. New home buyers should take note of this fact. Average attic mold remediation costs industry wide vary from $2,500. to $5,000. and that is without any recommended attic venting corrections (performed by a roofer). Attic mold remediation jobs performed by us generally run from as little as $1,500. to $3,900.

There are some roofing contractors who will tell homeowners will attic ceiling mold that their entire roof structure needs replacement when all they really needed was a proper mold remediation job performed with proper attic venting corrections performed. Here's Why: Many roofers do not thoroughly understand what actually causes attic ceiling mold to develop. They specialize in preventing water from leaking into your house, not on figuring out what ventilation problems you might have that are leading to condensation forming on your attic ceilings during the winter. Figuring out how much attic venting is needed can be complicated. It varies from home to home. The roof design and the amount of moisture inside the house during the winter are also important factors. Even though any good roofer should understand an attic should have proper intake (soffit) vents, and proper exhaust vents (ridge or box vents). They tell the homeowner they should replace an entire roof and then often will re-install improper ventilation or don't bother to correct some simple things like a bathroom ceiling fan improperly venting into the attic. We take serious note of these venting issues and give recommendations to the homeowner on how to correct them.

Our basement ceiling & attic ceiling mold remediation cleaning processes will kill and clean all mold growth and remove all visible mold staining. Our attic & basement ceiling mold remediation procedures come with long extended warrantees to protect both your home and your wallet.

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