How to Remove Mold From Your Attic
Getting mold in your attic is a serious issue. In addition to potentially damaging the structure of your home, attic mold can cause health hazards for your family. Inhaling mold spores can potentially cause diseases or infections. In addition, having mold in your home exacerbates allergies and can lead to issues such as coughing, headaches, sneezing, sore throat, wheezing, or difficulty breathing. That’s why you need to attack the mold in your attic as soon as you detect it. Follow these steps to get rid of your attic mold and take preventative measures to keep it from coming back again in the future.
How to Remove Mold from Your Attic
Step 1: Seal off the Area
When removing mold from your attic, your first concern should be protecting the rest of your home from it. Seal off the area by taping down plastic sheeting in all the exposed areas of the attic. This sheeting will create a barrier that keeps mold spores from getting out of your work area and into other parts of your home.
Step 2: Remove Excess Moisture
In some cases, as with a roof leak issue, you may have standing water to contend with in your attic. Use a wet vacuum to remove any excess water from this space before you start the mold removal process. Keep in mind that you should NOT use a dry vacuum at any time while removing mold; this type of vacuum will blow mold spores into the air and exacerbate any health hazards.
Step 3: Kill the Mold
Now that you’ve prepped the space, it’s time to attack the mold itself. If your attic mold is limited to a very small area, you may be able to use a power sander or a wire brush to remove it. Other options for limited areas of mold include spraying it with a mixture of water and tea tree oil or water and vinegar. These options will only be sufficient if very little penetration of the wood has occurred, so if the mold seems more invasive, don’t use this procedure. If you try the sanding or brushing options, be sure to wear protective gear to avoid inhaling mold spores.
Most attic mold will require a more thorough removal process. Dry blasting is a popular option since it does a great job of penetrating small spaces and gaps but doesn’t damage wood or electrical wiring. It’s also non-toxic and non-corrosive, and cleanup is minimal. Simply load palletized dry ice into a pressurized gun and aim it at the mold. The dry ice pellets will explode into a vapor when coming into contact with the mold, effectively removing it from any surface.
The dry blasting process does create some dust, so a negative air machine should be used to eliminate mold spores from the air. In addition, protective gear must be worn to reduce the risk of inhaling mold spores. Unless you have all of this equipment and gear, you’ll need a mold remediation specialist to come to your home to complete the dry blasting process.
Step 4: Clean Up the Area
Carefully remove the plastic sheeting from the attic and dispose of it in sealed bags to prevent mold spores from being released into the air. You should also inspect any items that were in the attic for mold and dispose of anything that cannot be cleaned. If necessary, use fans and dehumidifiers to completely dry the area after the mold removal process is complete.
Other Mold Removal Options
Though dry blasting is commonly used for attic mold removal, there are several alternatives available as well. Other mold removal options that you or a mold remediation specialist may use include:
- Soda blasting: With this process, sodium bicarbonate is pressurized and shot at the mold. It can be used on many types of surfaces and is non-toxic and environmentally safe.
- Corn cob blasting: Ground corn cobs can also be blasted at mold for easy removal. This process is environmentally friendly and non-hazardous to workers, and the absorbency of the corn cob media leaves the space dry afterwards.
- Sandblasting: This is an aggressive approach that involves blasting various grades of sand at the mold. It is fairly inexpensive, but typically requires more extensive cleanup and isn’t recommended for residential homes.
- Chemical treatments: Anti-microbial chemicals can also be used to kill attic mold. However, this is generally considered to be too great of a health hazard for use in residential homes.
Preventing Attic Mold
Now that you’ve solved the problem of mold in your attic, it’s important to understand how to prevent the same issue from cropping up again in the future. Attic mold is often caused by warm, moist air from the house leaking into the attic space. This causes condensation to form on the cold surfaces in the attic, especially roof rafters, sheathing, and trusses. You actually want your attic to remain very cool during colder months for this reason; if it lacks a vent to release heat, the warmth in the room will encourage rapid mold growth.
Another issue that commonly leads to mold growth in the attic is a leaking roof. Rather than water vapor coming up from the house, water comes in through the roof. The longer the water sits in the attic, the more likely it is that mold will develop in the insulation and wood. Sometimes, a leaky roof isn’t detected until it starts to cause water damage in the ceiling directly underneath the attic.
Be sure to address these mold-causing issues in your home to reduce the risk of having to remove mold from your attic again in the future. You can also apply a mold-inhibiting coating to the wood surfaces in your attic after they’ve been cleaned, to help prevent mold from forming there again.
Use this guide to make sure to take care of the mold in your attic safely and effectively. If the mold is widespread or very invasive, make sure to have a mold remediation specialist on hand to help.