We were recently brought in to solve a mold damage issue at a home in Falmouth where the attic has significant mold growth along the roof sheathing and rafter beams. Attics are probably the most common area of a home that we discover mold issues. We always make it a priority to not only remove and sanitize active mold growth but address the cause and origin of the mold as well. This particular issue was caused by ice dams.
Ice dams are the collection thick ridges of solid ice that build up along the eaves. While the image of icicles along your roof on a winter day may look nice, it can cause costly damage to your home. The conditions allow icicles to form—snow-covered roofs and freezing weather—also lead to ice dams. Dams can tear off gutters, loosen shingles, and cause water to back up and pour into your house. When that happens, the results aren’t pretty: peeling paint, warped floors, stained and sagging ceilings. Not to mention soggy insulation in the attic, which loses R-value and becomes a magnet for mold and mildew. There are methods of responding to the creation ice dams like having the collected snow swept or raked off your roof or using a calcium chloride ice melt, however preventing them in the first place is the best away to avoid ice dam issues. In principle, getting rid of ice dams is simple: Just keep the entire roof the same temperature as the eaves. The best ways to do that are:
1. Increase ventilation- the more natural air can travel through your attic, the more likely you will be preventing the contrasting temperatures that cause freezing, melting, and the presence of moisture in general.
2. Adding insulation- The basic function of insulation is to keep a warm area warm and a cool area cool. Much like kicking on your heated defroster in your car on a cool day, two opposing temperatures create condensation AKA moisture. So, be sure to have the proper R value of insulation evenly installed across the floor of your attic but be sure not to overstuff insulation near the soffet vents which will compromise ventilation.
3. Seal up air leaks- Any gaps in the insulation will introduce warm air into your cold attic. Other leaks to consider are bathroom exhaust fans and HVAC ducts and exhaust ducts. It is a good idea to insulate ducts with R-5 or R-6 foil-faced fiberglass.
At the aforementioned project in Falmouth MA, we discovered the soffet vents were blocked by improper insulation placement and insulation gaps were found in areas throughout the attic. This meant that in addition to some warm air escaping into the cold attic space, air was not being properly vented out of attic due to the soffet vent blockage. So, we sanitized and removed the active mold growth in the attic and fixed the insulation issues to prevent future mold problems.
If you are dealing with ice dams or mold in your attic, give us a call for a Free Inspection at 508-888-0999 or send us a message through our CONTACT page.