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How to do Attic Mold Removal


Your attic is vulnerable to mold growth. If it is made from plywood, it is a breeding spot for mold. When exposed to humid temperatures, mold spores attached to your attic plywood can grow into colonies within 24 to 48 hours.


Read on and find out how to remove mold from your attic plywood for your family's safety.


Here is the article’s overview:

  • Why is plywood a popular choice for attics?

  • How does mold grow in your attic space?

  • Signs of attic mold growth in plywood

  • Tips on how to remove mold from attic plywood

Why is plywood a popular choice for attics?


Attics are more than an extra space in your home. Its primary purpose is to catch all the hot air that naturally rises from the whole house and make the home cooler and dryer. So, if your home interior and attics are well-ventilated and insulated, you can regulate your home's temperature well.


What are the advantages of having well-regulated temperatures in your home?

  • Protects your roofing from premature damage. Hot and humid air naturally rises. When it is trapped in your attics because of poor ventilation, the moisture from the condensation it triggers will be absorbed by porous materials. Prolonged humidity causes mold and structural damage. So, keeping your home interior and attics dry will extend the life of your roof and attic sheathings.

  • Comfortable and cool. A well-ventilated and properly insulated home gives your family the comfort and cooling efficiency you deserve. Hot air and moisture are properly vented out and keep you healthy and safe from mold and mildew.

  • Healthy and safe home. Good ventilation and regulated temperature are healthy for your family. You lower the risk of indoor allergen hazards from thriving, including mold, mildew, and pest infestation.

  • Lower carbon footprint. Using less energy from air conditioning, heaters, and dryers means less carbon footprint. It is more cost-efficient and results in a healthier home environment.

Plywood is the best material to keep your attics dry.


Interestingly, plywood is the most popular material used in attics. It is more durable and water-resistant than medium-density fiberboards (MDF), particle boards, and oriented strand boards (OSB).


Yet, mold can still grow in the most water-resistant plywood because they are made of only two ingredients: wood and glue. When exposed to prolonged moisture and humid temperatures, mold spores feed on organic materials, including wood, and grow into colonies.


How does mold grow in your attic space?


Your attics are the "last pitstops" of hot air and warm moisture rising from your house. It will then leave your home when you have a well-ventilated attic. If not, mold spores attached to organic mold food such as wood, cardboard, paper, fabric, and food will start growing into active mold colonies.


Other possible sources of moisture aside from hot and humid air from home interiors are:

  • Water leaks from damaged parts of your roofing.

  • Water backup from ice dams along the eaves of your roof during heavy winter.

  • Frost buildups from moist air leakage.

Well-ventilated and up-to-code attics can still have mold growing. You will find mold on damp and dark areas of joists, sheathings, and stored items.


From mold spores to mold colonies


Mold spores are everywhere. They are invisible and floating in the air around you. Those sensitive to spores will have reactions and need medical care all year round.

Spores start multiplying within 24 to 48 hours when the perfect ideal growth conditions are present. They are the following:

  • Damp and humid conditions.

  • Organic food sources include wood, paper, fabric, cardboard, and food.

  • Temperature is hovering between 60 to 80 degrees Fahrenheit.

Watch out for mold-exposure health symptoms.


Healthy family members can also experience irritation and inflammation in the eyes, nose, sinuses, and lungs when exposed to toxic mold such as black mold. Symptoms can turn severe and become chronic respiratory diseases. Aside from breathing difficulties, fatigue, and headaches, mold exposure can also result in brain fog, depression, anxiety, memory issues, and insomnia.


Actively growing mold growth in attic spaces can reach your drywalls and lower rooms. So, you may be experiencing mold exposure symptoms even when signs of attic mold are not yet present on the lower floors.


The excellent news is mold removal can effectively decrease mold exposure symptoms. Safely remove them immediately if you can. Call a professional mold abatement company when areas of mold are too large for you to handle.


If you are a tenant, report to your landlord any signs of mold problems. Submit a complaint online or call 311 for mold problems in non-residential locations.


Signs of attic mold growth in plywood


Attics are the busiest rooms in a home, even when people seldom visit them. Air, moisture, pests, mold, and mildew are undisturbed until significant signs appear. For example, someone in a lower room notices water leaking from the ceiling. When traced, it comes from the attic, where dark stains of plywood mold are visible.


So, it is best to check your attic regularly. You can remove the attic mold yourself when they are detected early, visible, accessible, and cover only a small area. Check out mold in attic signs you need to look for:


Dark-colored stains on plywood.


Dark stains can either be mold or natural staining of the wood. To know if it is plywood mold, below are the signs:

  • When there is moisture in the plywood.

  • Plywood is damaged in the stained parts.

  • When there is furry, velvety, fuzzy, rough visible mold on the stain.

  • There is a musty smell coming from the dark stain.

If it is a black stain shaped like circles and crescent moon shapes, and there is a musty smell, contact a mold removal specialist as soon as possible. They need to confirm if it is the toxic black mold. If it is, they will recommend immediate remediation to keep your family safe.


Musty, moldy smell


Mold inspection includes detecting the musty smell of mold. This smell comes from compounds known as microbial organic compounds (mVOCs). According to the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), symptoms linked to exposure to mVOCs have been reported but are not conclusive. More scientific research is needed to prove the health effects of inhaling mVOCs.


The attic temperature is between 60 to 80 degrees Fahrenheit


Monitor the temperature inside your attic. If it hovers between 60 to 80 degrees for more than 48 hours, keep in mind that mold can grow in these temperatures.


Feel the air inside your attic if it is hot and stuffy. Poor ventilation may indicate attic mold presence. Check thoroughly if the attic vents are clear and clean.


Frost buildup on roof sheathing


Your roof sheathing catches moist air coming from inside your home. When temperatures are cold enough, the water vapors from the moist air freeze. Your roof sheathing will be damp and becomes a perfect seedbed for attic mold to grow.


Onset of health symptoms related to mold exposure


Your body is a good indicator of mold growth. When family members show mold exposure symptoms such as:

  • Itchy skin and eyes

  • Breathing difficulties

  • Sore throat and coughing

  • Fatigue

  • Congestion of airways

  • Asthma and allergy symptoms develop or worsen


Watch out for these signs of attic mold. The earlier you detect mold stains, musty smell, moisture, humidity, dampness, and the onset of health symptoms, the better it is for you and your family.


Tips on how to remove mold from attic plywood fast


Removing mold from attic plywood is a good start in remediating your moldy attic space. Read on to learn how to remove mold from attic plywood by yourself. Find out how to know when you need to call professionals to remove attic mold.


Removing mold by yourself


According to the US EPA, removing mold by yourself is possible when the growth is at its early stage and is less than ten square feet. Here are the tips for effectively removing mold from attic plywood:

  • Wear proper protective gear. That includes an N-95 mask, goggles, rubber gloves, an old shirt with long sleeves, an old pair of pants that you can discard after cleaning, and waterproof boots.

  • Vacuum the moldy area and immediate surroundings. Use a vacuum with a HEPA filter to catch loose mold spores on the attic plywood and surrounding area. Dispose of the vacuumed particles into a tightly sealed bag outdoors.

  • Remove the mold. For surface mold, wash the moldy area with dishwashing soap and warm water. Then, use a soft-bristled brush to scrub away the mold gently. Completely dry with a clean piece of cloth.

For tougher mold that penetrates the attic plywood, you can use either of these do-it-yourself solutions:


Solution 1. Mix equal part vinegar and warm water in a spray bottle. Spray on the moldy area. Leave to dry. After an hour, wipe the area with a moistened cloth.

Solution 2. Mix a tablespoon of borax into a cup of water. Apply the solution to the moldy area with a soft brush. Let dry.


When do you call mold removal specialists to remove mold from your attic?


When mold covers more than 10 square feet, the US EPA recommends the guidelines in the EPA Guide Mold Remediation in Schools and Commercial Buildings. These steps includes the following:

  • Investigating and evaluating moisture and mold issues

  • Communicating with building occupants at all stages of the mold remediation process

  • Planning the remediation

  • Remediating moisture and mold problems

Contractors who do mold remediation services should be authorized by the state to do mold removal. This ensures that their mold removal processes are inline with EPA-recommended guidelines.


Conclusion


Mold in attic spaces is manageable when homeowners regularly inspect their attics for moisture, temperature, and proper ventilation. Keeping all areas, fixtures, and stored items in your attic clean and dry is a good maintenance habit.


So, when mold growth happens, you are ready to remove it safely by yourself or with the help of professionals. Mold expert specialists can ably address large mold infestations by cleaning and fixing water sources damaged by mold. Call (718)316-6866 for mold remediation.


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