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How to Prevent Mold From Growing in Your Attic

Posted October 11, 2016 by Daniel White
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Executive Summary

  • Mold thrives in moist and shaded areas with stale air, making attics especially vulnerable to mold growth, especially if they have poor ventilation or roof leaks.
  • When unchecked, mold can cause structural damage and increase your risk of respiratory issues or other bodily irritations.
  • Catching early signs of mold growth can help you avoid further damage. Look for surface discoloration or stains, water damage like warped or dripping wood, visible fungi growth on insulation or wood, and musty odors.
  • To prevent mold growth, use vents and fans to achieve proper ventilation, seal any entrance points for moisture, and use insulation or dehumidifiers to manage humidity.

Understanding How To Avoid Mold Growth in Your Attic

Mold grows best in moist, shaded areas with poor ventilation, meaning attics can be perfect breeding grounds for mold. When left untreated, mold growth can lead to health concerns like respiratory issues and bodily irritations. It can also jeopardize the longevity of your home, increasing your risk of structural damage and expensive repairs. 

Poor ventilation and leaks can promote mold growth, so regularly check your attic and other areas for signs of mold. Search for unusual discoloration or staining on surfaces, water damage, musty odors, and slimy or fuzzy patches. You can also take preventative measures by using fans and vents to aerate your attic, implementing a dehumidifier to control humidity, and sealing leaks and other moisture entrance points.

Have a trusted roofing company survey your property for signs of poor attic ventilation and mold growth to guarantee safety and accurate readings. They can also teach you how to get rid of mold in attics to preserve the longevity of your home.

What Causes Mold Growth?

Mold is a naturally occurring fungi that eats away at organic matter, such as trees, paper, and food. It can also grow on some building materials, breaking them down. Some examples of commonly found surfaces that mold can grow on are:

  • Wood floors, framing, or cabinetry
  • Wallpaper with an organic composition
  • Carpet made of wool, jute, sisal, or cotton
  • Insulation made of cellulose or containing paper backing

Mold spores thrive in moist, oxygenated environments with shade and poor ventilation. An attic’s humidity and excess exposed organic materials, such as wood joists, can provide the perfect conditions for mold growth. If your attic does not have enough functioning vents, it can increase your risk of mold development. 

Additionally, your roof’s health can contribute to mold growth. If your roof has leaks or openings, airborne moisture molecules can infiltrate your home and provide sufficient water to facilitate mold germination.

The Negative Impact of Mold Growth

If you notice signs of mold in your attic, it is vital to have a qualified professional examine your property and address the issue immediately. Mold can pose significant risks to your health and property when left unrestricted. 

How Mold Exposure Can Jeopardize Your Health

Mold exposure can cause a variety of bodily reactions, including respiratory irritations. Some instances of mold-fueled symptoms include:

  • Sneezing
  • Skin Rash
  • Red eyes
  • Runny nose
  • Headaches
  • Dizziness

Most people compare mold exposure symptoms to how hay fever feels. However, people with preexisting conditions like allergies or asthma can experience more severe reactions like asthma attacks.

Mold’s Effect on Your House

In addition to posing a risk to your body, mold can cause structural issues in your house. It can eat away at wood and insulation, hindering their function. In extreme cases, mold-infested building materials can become weak enough to droop or collapse.

Mold spores can also reduce indoor air quality (IAQ), making breathing less comfortable and jeopardizing lung health. Catching mold growth in its early stages is an excellent way to minimize its negative effect on you and your house.

Identifying Mold Growth In Your Attic

Mold can be hard to see with the naked eye, considering the size of its spores can range from 2 to 10 micrometers. Nevertheless, some discernible signs can imply the presence of mold. Some examples of mold growth indicators in your attic can include:

  • Discoloration or staining on surfaces
  • Water damage, such as warped or dripping wet wood
  • Musty odors
  • Slimy or fuzzy patches on wood or insulation

Conduct routine searches with a high-powered light source to catch these signs before your case of mold worsens. 

Still, these signs do not always directly relate to mold growth—sometimes, there are other explanations. Also, mold can grow out of sight, hiding in places like the papery backing behind some types of insulation. Therefore, having a professional check your property for mold is essential since they have top-of-the-line tools like hygrometers that can easily detect moisture and help pinpoint mold growth.

Mold Prevention Strategies

Mold can be difficult or impossible to remove completely, so it’s ideal to take steps to prevent mold growth in the first place. The following five strategies are some of the most effective ways to prevent mold growth in your attic.

1. Install Proper Ventilation

Your attic may be the least visited area of your home. Still, it is important to routinely check your attic and its related components to ensure it is thoroughly ventilated. Some common signs of poor attic ventilation are:

  • Moisture accumulation
  • Excessive heat buildup
  • Unusually high energy bills
  • Stale odors
  • Rotted or warped roof decking

If your attic needs to be more adequately aerated, install vents and fans to increase air circulation. Fresh airflow can reduce the amount of moisture in the air and impede mold growth.

2. Seal Leaks and Gaps

Roof leaks and holes in your home’s construction can let moisture in. Even if there is no visible stream of water coming from the opening, it can still invite airborne moisture molecules from outside that increase the humidity of your attic. You should have any noticeable gaps professionally sealed to control how much moisture is allowed in your house. Less moisture directly equates to less mold growth.

3. Effectively Insulate Your Attic

Some people forgo insulating unfrequented portions of their homes like attics and garages. However, insulation helps with moisture control by reducing heat transfer and diffusion through other building materials. Insulation also limits the penetration of air currents, which can contribute to more than 98% of indoor water vapors. You can minimize moisture levels and deter mold growth by thoroughly insulating your attic.

4. Use a Dehumidifier

If you recognize higher humidity levels in your attic or the upper portion of your home, you can add a portable dehumidifier to mitigate moisture buildup.

Dehumidifiers usually extract air from a room and pass it over a refrigerated coil. Water vapor in the air condenses on the cooled coil, releasing liquid water that collects in a bucket underneath. This process removes moisture from the air and helps inhibit mold growth.

5. Regularly Inspect for Moisture

Although the strategies above are helpful ways to combat the buildup of moisture and mold, one of the most critical actions you can take is routinely checking your attic for unusual amounts of moisture. A hygrometer is a great way to read the humidity levels of your house precisely, but you can also look for condensation and note the dampness you feel in the air.

When in doubt, consult with a trustworthy professional. Roofing experts know how to prevent mold in attics, and they can perform checkups and assess your attic ventilation. With their help, you can effectively safeguard your home from mold growth.

The Importance of Preventing Mold Growth

For multiple reasons, it is imperative to detect and address mold growth in your attic as soon as possible—it is even better to prevent mold growth altogether. You can achieve the following benefits by taking immediate action to prevent mold growth.

Prevent Structural Damage

As a result of eating organic materials like wood, paper, and insulation, mold can weaken and decay the elements of your attic and other parts of your home’s construction. Inhibiting mold growth can help avoid expensive damage to the roof decking, attic framing, and other structural components.

Lower Health Risks

Mold exposure can seriously impact one’s health, particularly those with allergies, respiratory disorders, or weakened immune systems. Airborne mold spores can aggravate asthma symptoms, set off allergic reactions, and result in other respiratory problems. By preventing mold growth or having a remediation specialist pinpoint and remove the cause of the mold, you can help safeguard your health.

Maintain Indoor Air Quality

Mold growth in your attic can pollute the rest of your home’s IAQ. Airborne mold spores can infiltrate HVAC systems and be transported throughout the house, causing extensive indoor air pollution. Preventing or treating mold in the attic can help you achieve a healthier residence.

Reduces Allergic Reactions and Respiratory Problems

Mold exposure can cause allergic reactions in people with respiratory sensitivities, including sneezing, coughing, wheezing, and skin irritation. Furthermore, extended exposure to mold spores can worsen respiratory diseases like allergies, bronchitis, and asthma. Mold prevention and remediation techniques reduce these health hazards.

Stops Further Spread

If mold growth in the attic is uncontrolled, it may spread to other parts of the house. Mold spores can circulate through the air and land on clothing or other items, worsening the issue. Prevention or early detection and treatment of mold development in the attic can stop it from spreading to different parts of the house, minimizing damage and reducing the scope of remediation efforts.

Highly trained professionals like the ones at the Roof Life of Oregon can help you identify and prevent mold growth before it becomes more problematic. While our experienced team works on roofs, we look for signs of mold growth, such as water-damaged roofing materials. If there is any suspicion of mold growth or poor attic ventilation, we can carefully check your attic and help you determine the best next steps.

Keep Your Attic Mold-Free With Roof Life

Poor ventilation, moisture buildup, and roof leaks are some of the primary causes of attic mold formation. Mold can harm the attic’s structure, lower indoor air quality, and present health risks, so it must be addressed immediately. Early intervention through mold inspection and remediation ensures a safer living environment and prevents additional damage.

It is ideal to prevent mold growth altogether by installing adequate ventilation, sealing gaps, insulating, and using a dehumidifier throughout your attic. If you need help preventing, detecting, or addressing mold growth issues in the greater Portland, Oregon area, consult with Roof Life of Oregon. Our trustworthy team can perform roof inspections and check your attic’s ventilation to facilitate early detection and save you from more expensive widespread repairs or replacements in the future.

Contact us today for a free roof and attic inspection. We’ll thoroughly examine your attic ventilation and roof health and provide you with an estimate for any necessary repairs.

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