Attic Mold: Is your home healthy?
Updated: Sep 16, 2020
What is lurking in your attic? The answer is often more scary than ghosts or critters. First off, every home has some sort of mold in it at some level, but when it gets out of control, or is thriving in the attic or other spaces, it can be a real health concern. Fungal growth can cost thousands of extra dollars in damage if it goes too far. Did you know a poorly installed roof can cause fungal growth, or make it worse? Did you also know, a roof done the right way can help solve a fungal growth issue? In this post we will look at the common causes and some fixes for this issue that plagues our Michigan homes.
So why is mold/fungal growth so common in modern homes?
"Back in my day, we never worried about mold growing in the house" OK, not something you can "tough out." But seriously, more homes have fungal growth present than ever before. Why? Well, the answer is more simple than you may think. As homes have become more energy efficient with better windows, doors, and even wall insulation and siding, being efficient is awesome. Unfortunately, it can also have some side effects, like trapping errant moisture that used to be able to escape through leaky windows and doors. When you couple this with a roof that doesn't breath, it can be a recipe for disaster.
Leaking warm air into the attic space in the winter, and overheating/lack of ventilation in the summer can cause a lot of problems in the attic.
In the winter, too little insulation, combined with too little ventilation, can wreak havoc. The over heated attic air hits the sub-zero metal roof fasteners (shingle nails) and causes them to condensate, or sweat like a cold can of Coke on a hot day. This can produce so much moisture that the roof deck can form ice on the inside of your home! Come spring and warm air, mold can start to grow. When summer hits and the attic becomes over heated due to poor ventilation, mold can flourish.
Pictured above, you can see trapped moisture not only encourages fungal growth on the wood deck, but, if you look closely, you can see water spots on the 2x4 wood framing and lines in the insulation from nail condensation. This can lead to mold growth, but the constant water drip can ruin insulation and drywall underneath.
So what's the fix? It's simple- a well-ventilated, breathable roof and the right amount of insulation.
In the winter, r-38 or higher attic insulation will keep the warm moist air in the home (especially when combined with air sealing of lights, etc.). This will help prevent ice dams, which can cause interior frost, roof leaks, and roof failure.
The roof needs to breathe!! During all seasons, proper intake and exhaust air flow is critical to maintaining a healthy home.
How much insulation?
If the roof is ventilated properly, it can help prevent mold year round. An easy fix to a complex problem. Simple formula- fresh air in, hot air and moisture out. A properly ventilated roof will help help the attic's atmosphere become stable, and a place where fungus won't grow.
Check your attic, or have an expert inspect it.
Every roofer should inspect your attic when evaluating your roof. Even if the roof looks good on the outside, mold and fungal growth can be happening on the inside. Imagine having this in your attic. Believe it or not, this is a very common problem, no matter the age of the home. Why? As houses have become more efficient, they trap more moisture. Eventually the moisture ends up in the attic, and if conditions are right, fungus and mold can grow. This can pose a serious health problem for your family. Even a brand new roof installed with the wrong materials and lack of ventilation can have these issues. Make sure whoever installs your roof uses the proper breathable underlayments in combination with proper ventilation. Fungal growth and mold remediation can cost thousands of dollars, but they are easy to avoid. Proper intake and exhaust ventilation helps ensure your home will function properly. Make sure whoever you have install your roof, installs a breathable underlayment to help prevent this issue.
These are just a few of the most common roof problems. If you see any of these issues, it's a good idea to have a competent professional evaluate your home. Problems in your home don't get better over time, and the longer you let them go on, the more its going to cost. We offer a free evaluation as well as a no obligation estimate that's good for a full year. Home Exteriors of Michigan would be more than happy to evaluate your home for free. Give us a call today! 1-855-255-0606.