Attic Home Additions & Mold


During a recent home addition project where we were converting an attic into a livable bedroom, we came upon mold issues that needed to be addressed.  Mold is an issues in The Bay Area due to the heat and small roof leaks in older homes that cause moisture issues.  The homeowner usually notices a leak or musty smell in the attic and discovers, to their horror, an entire eco-system of mold that has been growing and spreading throughout their attic.  There are several reasons you may have mold growing in your attic, here are a few reasons it may be growing in yours.

Mold is a dangerous issue and it is important to consult with a top rated home addition contractor in The Bay Area to assess your attic space for structural issues as well as the presence of mold and other hazards.

What’s Mold Doing in the Attic?

Mold is a fungus that populates our basements, homes and attics by releasing spores into the air. Because it’s a living creature like all other animals and plants, it can’t survive for long without moisture. When you discover black mold in your attic it’s a sure sign that dampness is coming in from somewhere. But why is this happening? When you have the answer to that question, you’re halfway through getting rid of that nasty mold.

The Biggest Single Cause

The number one reason for your problem is inadequate roof space ventilation. By this, we mean the space above your ceiling beneath the roof itself. This causes moist air to accumulate in motionless air pockets. When this happens, the humidity condenses, and falls like light rain onto the ceiling below.

There are a variety of different ways to improve air circulation in roof space, ranging from passive roof vents to extraction fans. Installing these is hardly a job for an amateur. At best you may not solve the problem. At worst, you could cause a severe leak. Consider finding a roofing expert to help you solve the problem instead.

How Moisture Enters Attics

If the moisture’s entering from outside, you’ll know about it soon enough when you start noticing ceiling stains. It’s far more likely to be filtering up from the rooms below. Moist hot air rises and ceilings are seldom airtight. All you need is the dishwasher, washing machine or dryer running while the central heating’s on, and nature will do the rest.

To fix the problem you need to do two things. Sit in the attic at night with all the lights switched on below, and look for chinks of light. These will mostly be around the lights, unless some coving has worked loose too. When you’ve identified the problem area, you can seal it off with paintable caulking from below.

More Tips

If closing any gaps does not solve the problem, then your ceiling material is permeable and letting moisture through. This can be solved with attic floor insulation acting as a moisture barrier. Just make sure you don’t leave the slightest gap, or your efforts may be for nothing.

Because mold loves warmth as well as damp, an inadequately insulated hot water heater can encourage mould to take hold too (especially if ceiling is not properly insulated either). When walking around and investigating areas like this, be sure to take a face mask with you, and watch your step.

Practical Limitations

Over and above the danger of inhaling mold spores and setting of chronic bronchial infections or even an asthma attack, being in an attic is potentially dangerous because it’s a long way down if you trip and fall. Moisture-proofing roof space is also quite a complex task, because you have to get into inaccessible corners.

It can take a deal of time to establish the root causes of your problem. While some smaller problems can be fixed yourself, be aware that if you do see mold, it is likely growing in other areas also. If you have a busy schedule and there are other things that you’d prefer to do, it could make more sense to find a certified mold removal specialist to do the job.

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