The attic is one of the parts of the home that is not frequently visited, especially if it is difficult to access. It is also a potential breeding ground for black mold because it is often hot and humid, and there is a potential for water seepage. When this seepage occurs, it can often go unnoticed until a major problem makes it known.
Fun fact: A character on the animated series The Simpsons was hiding in the attic of the title family’s home. He said that he was kept alive by sucking moisture from the black mold and slime that grew on the walls.
The Surfaces that Black Mold Will Grow on in Your Attic
In the attic, the most common places to find black mold are the places where water is likely to be a problem.
- Walls that are improperly insulated may develop mold because they will absorb moisture from outside.
- Without proper ventilation in the attic, high heat and humidity can build up, which leads to moisture from a different source: condensation. Your house is literally sweating and increasing its chances of developing mold.
- Poorly maintained roof gutters and eaves may lead to water seepage under and between slats. Not only can this cause black mold to grow on the inside, it may also cause damage to the outside of the home as well.
- Leaks in the roof may also cause black mold in the attic. The water will fall in the attic and may never be detected until it eventually rots through the subflooring and the ceiling crashes down or until the black mold itself is found.
Preventing Black Mold in the Attic
- Maintenance and prevention are far easier and cheaper than repairing and replacing. If your home is older and you are not sure of the age of your roof, have a home inspection done. If you know that the roof is ten or more years old, get in the habit of doing inspections to look for signs of a leak or be more proactive and have the roof replaced with an energy efficient roof with a lifetime warranty.
- Clean your gutters and replace old or worn downspouts. The job of the gutter is to direct water from the roof to the downspouts, which then direct the water out and away from the foundation of the house. Neither can do its job correctly if they are damaged or blocked in any way. If you cannot handle the task on your own, hire a handyman to come and clean the gutters at least twice a year. If you have a tree that hangs directly over the roof and likes to drop debris, you might need to have the gutters cleaned more frequently.
- Trim trees that come too close to the house, especially the ones that hang directly over the roof. Although they keep the house cooler, which is a good thing, the trees also increase the condensation that you might see in the attic, which is bad.
What to Do if There Is Black Mold in Your Attic
If you find black mold in your attic, you will want to find out where it came from, remove it, and then take the necessary steps to keep it from coming back again.
- Where you find the black mold will go a long way to telling you where it came from. For instance, if you find it midway up an exterior wall it is likely that you have a leak coming from between the siding panels or something similar.
- If the walls are badly damaged or the mold growth is very extensive, you may need to replace a section or two. If the mold goes through and to the insulation, you will have to replace it as well. While you might be able to clean a moderate amount of mold from a wall, you cannot clean insulation at all.
- Detergent and water will clean some cases of black mold. Use gloves, a mask, and a fan to protect yourself while cleaning in the attic.
- Bag up and remove any molded debris. If possible, take it through the fastest path out of the house so that you do not contaminate major areas of the house. Avoid going through the kitchen or high traffic areas. If you can safely get rid of the stuff from an attic window, do so, but exercise great caution.
- If the mold growth is extensive or involves more than just a few wall sections or floor areas, it might be time to call in a professional.
- If you have any risk of illness such as from allergies or sensitivities to mold spores, let someone else handle the cleanup duties.
- Make sure that you are following the prevention tips mentioned in the previous section or the mold will just come back again.
Is Black Mold in My Attic Dangerous?
If only around for a short period of time, black mold is not dangerous to the average person. However, there are some people who may have problems from exposure to it.
- Anyone who is allergic or sensitive to mold spores of any kind may become ill if black mold grows unchecked in the house.
- Anyone with a compromised immune system or chronic lung condition may also be at higher risk of problems associated with black mold.
- People who are either very young or very old may also suffer ill effects of black mold, especially breathing problems.
All kinds of mold should be treated in much the same way and eliminated as quickly and efficiently as possible