Due to the atmospheric and environmental complexities in Nebraska, we gave attic mold remediation its own service category on the website. OSHA confined space, extreme temperatures, poor air quality, limited access to the work surfaces, electrical shock hazards and seemingly limitless puncture wound and injury risks are just some of the challenges presented when evaluating an attic has mold contamination. However, there is good news! DryHero can effectively remediate the mold from your attic framing for far less money (and time) than replacing your roof!

Before & After: Attic mold remediation DryHero Lincoln NE

Before & After: Attic mold remediation photo courtesy DryHero Lincoln NE

ANATOMY OF ATTIC MOLD REMEDIATION

Attic mold growth is actually more common in Omaha and Lincoln Nebraska than you may think. Attics are not intended to be occupied and, via their ventilation, they are very dusty environments with high levels of ambient mold spores and other allergens. However, all attic mold growth is a result of the same key ingredient: moisture. The moisture can be from something as simple as a roof leak but is typically due to excessive water vapor. So why is this a problem? Dew point.

Dew point is the temperature at which the water vapor contained in a volume of air at a given atmospheric pressure reaches saturation and condenses to form dew (condensation). The dew point varies depending on how much water vapor the air contains, with humid air having a higher dew point than dry air. When large droplets of condensation form, they are deposited onto cold attic surfaces as moisture. If the dew point is below the freezing temperature of water, the water vapor turns directly into frost by sublimation, resulting in mold amplification.

The conditions for mold growth can occur in an attic when insulation or ventilation is deficient. The more sources of moisture you have in your home, the higher water vapor content of your indoor air.  This water vapor eventually migrates up and into your home’s attic, increasing the odds for attic mold growth. Sources of moisture include humidifiers, cooking, showers, bathroom vents, kitchen vents, laundry vents and even water damaged basements. Controlling these moisture sources and improving attic ventilation minimizes the risk of future attic mold growth.

 

"Before" photo of an attic mold remediation project in Lincoln Nebraska exhibiting dimensional mold growth on the surface of the attic decking.

“Before” photo of an attic mold exhibiting dimensional texture on the surface of the attic decking.

"After" photo of decking post remediation.

“After” photo of decking post remediation. Note only bare wood is left exposed after remediation.

 ATTIC MOLD ENVIRONMENT CONDITIONS

Condition 1 (normal fungal ecology): an attic environment that may have settled spores, fungal fragments or traces of actual growth whose identity, location and quantity are reflective of a normal fungal ecology for a similar indoor environment.

Condition 2 (settled spores): an attic environment which is primarily contaminated with settled spores that were dispersed directly or indirectly from a Condition 3 area, and which may have traces of actual growth.

Condition 3 (actual growth): an attic environment contaminated with the presence of actual mold growth and associated spores. Actual attic mold growth includes growth that is active or dormant, visible or hidden.

DEVIATING FROM ATTIC MOLD REMEDIATION INDUSTRY PROTOCOLS

According to the IICRC S520 Standard and Reference Guide for Professional Mold Remediation, attic mold should be physically removed during remediation. Attempts to kill, encapsulate, cover or inhibit attic mold instead of proper source removal generally are not adequate. Since attic mold remediation projects are unique, only experience and professional judgment may justify deviation from industry standards. It is the responsibility of attic mold remediation professionals to determine and verify on a case-by-case basis that following standard mold protocols is appropriate.

Attic mold remediators should advise customers that follow-up assessment of affected attic areas by an IEP may be appropriate when 1) affected area(s) become visibly damaged, 2) a change in the condition of the material or its surroundings occurs, 3) there are health complaints, or 4) engineering solutions fail.

TRYING TO COVER OR PAINT OVER ATTIC MOLD

Don’t paint over attic mold!  There are plenty of attic mold remediation companies that will spray paint or “encapsulant” or “anti-fungal coatings” over the contaminated attic framing. DryHero is of the opinion the framing should be left bare and able to breathe.

If thoroughly cleaned, there is no need to paint over attic mold because there should be nothing to hide from inspection.  In addition, there is NOTHING that you can apply to, or spray on top of mold that will prevent it from growing. Nothing!  If not properly remediated, the attic mold will grow right through or on top of the white coating.

Example 2 coating failure exhibiting mold growth beneath "encapsulation" layer.  Lincoln Nebraska

Example of coating failure exhibiting mold growth beneath “encapsulation” layer. Lincoln Nebraska

Example 3 coating failure exhibiting mold growth beneath "encapsulation" layer.  Lincoln Nebraska

Example of coating failure exhibiting mold growth beneath “encapsulation” layer. Lincoln Nebraska

Example 4 coating failure exhibiting mold growth beneath "encapsulation" layer.  Lincoln Nebraska

Example of coating failure exhibiting mold growth beneath “encapsulation” layer. Lincoln Nebraska

In the event of a failure of the encapsulation coating, the options for a remedy are extremely limited, there simply is no cost effective way to access the mold through the encapsulant because the attic mold remediator has entombed the problem.  In these cases, the only correct “fix” is to completely remove and replace the roof decking, which would include shingles and flashing.  Gutters would likely have to be removed and re-installed after roof replacement.

THE GOOD NEWS

Quite often, attic mold is discovered during a whole house inspection at the direction of a prospective home buyer. The discovery of mold in an attic adds considerable anxiety to an already stressful process of buying or selling a house. With all the mold information available on the internet, home inspectors and well meaning friends, the thought of attic mold can be daunting.

"Before" attic mold remediation.

“Before” mold remediation.

"After" attic mold remediation.

“After” mold remediation.

The good news is that you don’t have to tear off the top of your home to address the mold. If the roof maintains its structural integrity, we at DryHero have had great success in simply removing the mold and leaving the original roofing materials in tact! Better yet, its faster and far more cost effective than removing the roof sheathing, shingles and gutters.

If you live in the Lincoln – Omaha Nebraska metro area and you’ve been told that you have mold in your attic, give us a call for a free evaluation and estimate.

GUARANTEED ATTIC MOLD REMEDIATION

DryHero guarantees the removal of your attic mold and that it will not return as detailed in our Written Guarantee. It’s important to correct the conditions that allowed mold to grow in your attic in the first place to prevent future mold growth. Preventing mold growth is simple; keep things dry. The ONLY component for mold growth that we can control in an attic is moisture. According to the IICRC S520, “when the moisture content of wood products exceeds 16%, it is more susceptible to mold growth”. So, the real trick to controlling mold growth is to keep materials well below 16% relative moisture content.

The average moisture content for interior wood components in Nebraska is closer to 8%. Average moisture content for exterior wood components is 12%, well below the 16% threshold. Under normal conditions, mold should not grow unless an additional moisture load is introduced form an outside source (water vapor, roof leak, dryer vent, bathroom exhaust fan(s), basement flooding, water damage, prolonged and extremely high humidity, etc.)

The conditions for mold growth can occur in an attic when insulation or ventilation is deficient, with ventilation being the primary contributor. As water vapor enters the attic from the main living space, relative humidity can increase to a level where the attic roof decking achieves dew point, the temperature at which water will condensate out of the air.

The only way to prevent mold growth is to simply exhaust or ventilate this moisture laden air out of the attic and reduce the moisture load, which lowers the dew point. Whenever possible, bathroom exhaust fans, kitchen exhaust fans and clothes dryers should not be vented into the attic.

IS IT NECESSARY TO REMEDIATE ATTIC MOLD? 

Read more…

143 thoughts on “Attic Mold Remediation

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