Mold in the attic often happens in our climate. Living in Chicagoland, we are exposed to proximity to a huge lake, which makes the humidity in the air very high. When we add relatively low winter temperatures, ventilation problems and an old roof, we get a serious and expensive problem – mold in the attic. In today’s article, we’ll look at how to deal with mildew once you detect it in your home.
How do I find out if I have mold in my attic?
The existence of mold in the attic has several typical symptoms. The vast majority of people have no trouble identifying the hazard, but if you need additional confirmation, pay attention to:
The smell of mold is very peculiar and is certainly not a pleasant one. The vast majority of fungi smell similar to dampness, wet earth, old books. The odor is often quite sweet or pungent, and many people will quickly experience irritation of the respiratory system, resulting, for example, in an itchy nose and throat. If you experience such symptoms, leave the infected room immediately. Toxins are very dangerous to your health as they might cause some types of cancer.
Useful tips for homeowners: Why are roofs made of cedar?
Unlike mold on food, which resembles white or green moss, mold attacking attics often takes on a black, gray or brown color. It is by far the easiest to recognize on wood, as the stains will be clearly distinguishable from uninfected wood. Remember, however, that the absence of stains on the walls does not yet mean that there is no mold in your home! Even if you only smell it, be sure to take the appropriate steps, which we will mention later.
Traces of moisture
While the presence of moisture does not guarantee that there is mildew in your home, the chances definitely increase. If you see water droplets on the walls or ceiling, be sure to react – the sooner you make the necessary repairs, the cheaper they will be. Also, the characteristic smell of dampness should be alarming.
What to do with mold in my home?
If mold has appeared in your home, you should act as soon as possible. The problem won’t solve itself, and each additional day means additional risk not only to your home, but also to you and your loved ones.
1. Identify the cause
The first step should be to investigate where the fungus came from. Mildew thrives where there is moisture combined with relatively low temperatures and poor ventilation. It is imperative to check that your roof does not leak when it rains, and that the ventilation is not damaged or clogged.
2. Take care of safety
As we have already mentioned, mold can be extremely dangerous to your health. Inhaling spores can end in a serious infection, and the toxins produced by some species of fungi can even cause cancer. Wear a dust mask, gloves and safety goggles to carry out the inspection safely. Also try to wear clothing that covers your entire body.
3. Take some pictures and contact specialists
If you’re looking for an effective solution to your mold problems, it’s best to have it done by professionals. There are many mold remediation companies in Chicagoland, so the best thing you can do is to take pictures and contact the right people. Taking pictures will help you explain what exactly has been infected and reduce the need to go further into the infected room.
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4. Close the infected room and open the windows in it
Before the specialists arrive, there is little you can do. To limit the further development of mildew, get rid of toxic fumes and reduce the risk of spreading spores to other rooms, you should open windows (if any) and close doors.
5. Prevent the further mold attacks
To prevent this scenario from repeating itself in the future, be sure to order roof repair services. Leaks and leaks in this part of the house are the most common causes of mold, which is why it’s so important to have experts thoroughly check that everything is in order. It is especially common to see that solving the ice dams problem makes it possible to eliminate mold in the attic at the same time.
As a cedar roofing company mentions, mold often tends to thrive in non-ventilated areas. As you can easily guess, the way to get rid of mold in the attic will therefore be to improve ventilation – both inside the building and between shakes. Roofs made of cedar are particularly prone to various toxic fungi and lichens.
Can I remove the mold myself?
In principle, yes, but it is not always a good idea. For smaller clusters of fungus, removing mildew by hand with a brush and vinegar should not be a problem. Keep in mind, however, that scraping off the outside of a mold outbreak will still not make the item (for example, a board) no longer infected. For this reason, we suggest that you use the services of professionals and then carry out a proper renovation.
Although we are aware that contracting mold removal is a more expensive solution, we suggest it with full knowledge. There is no amount of money worth risking your life and health for, and you must also remember that mold readily returns to the same place. It is not worth saving money to fight this problem.
How much does mold removal cost?
For smaller spaces, mildew removal costs between $300 and $1500. For larger areas, such a service can be much more expensive. As a rule, the price is calculated on the basis of the infected area that needs to be cleaned.
How much does it cost to prevent mold?
If larger mold outbreaks are located, it will most likely be necessary to renovate the infected room. In the case of attics, this most often involves replacing the plywood underneath the leaking section of the roof, replacing the shakes / shingles and laying appropriate insulation. In extreme cases, a complete roof replacement will be necessary, although this is rare.
Depending on the extent of the damage, remediation can cost $2,000, $3,000 or even $15,000. To determine this, an inspection of the roof and the infected room is essential. Unfortunately, costs rise very quickly, and it is for this reason that as soon as you detect mold, you should react as quickly as possible.