Black Mold On Attic Insulation: Features, Growth & Treatments

Can attic insulation mold?

Attics are prone to moisture problems which are likely to result in mold growth.

Now, mold growth is one issue a lot of homeowners dread due to its many negative side effects including risks posed to health. Mold growth might appear anywhere within your attic including on insulation.

Mold On Insulation In Attic

There are multiple reasons why this might happen.

These include the installation of furnaces or water heaters within the attic, as well as improper venting arising from the channeling of plumbing and dryer vents, as well as bathroom and kitchen fans into the attic.

Mold growing on insulation might also be the result of faulty insulation installation. It could also be a result of a leaky roof. If you’ve recently noticed mold growth on attic insulation, this article will be an interesting read.

We’ll find out the causes and discuss how much can be stopped.

Insulation Should Limit Moisture in Attic Right?

Ideally, insulation should serve to keep cold and warm air within the conditioned surroundings or living spaces below. An insulated attic is also known to largely prevent mold growth due to its moisture control potential.

However, there are situations where your insulation may block the soffit venting.

When this happens, adequate air intake to the attic is affected. With inadequate air coming in, moisture presence is likely to cause mold growth on insulation.

Another reason you might find mold growth on insulation is when insulation is considered too much.

Your attic might have too much insulation and in such situations, condensation is likely to occur. This can be explained by the absence of radiant heat.

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In other words, the thicker your insulation, the less likely it is for radiant heat to reach or penetrate the attic.

While this might sound welcoming, insulation that’s too thick has its downsides. With no radiant heat reaching the attic, the temperature on your roof sheets remains pretty much the same as the outside air.

So, when air (mostly moist and cold) is drawn or enters the attic, it touches the cold surface of roof sheeting.

Condensations occur on such surfaces due to their cold temperature and so mold growth results. When mold growth is observed, the logical and right action to take is to have such removed in the best way possible.

Can Mold Grow on Attic Insulation?

You might have heard or read debates for and against the possibility of mold growing on attic insulation. Such arguments can be confusing if you have no idea of what goes on.

In reality, two things are likely to have happened when you spot mold on attic insulation.

The first involves the accumulation of falling spores while the second scenario may have to do with mold growing on accumulated dust on attic insulation.

We’ll have to consider each of these points for a better understanding of what goes on.

  • Mold Growing on Settled Dust

Mold might seem or appear to grow on attic insulation when observed by a non-professional.

However, in reality, such mold only grows on settled dust found on attic insulation. Of course, there has to be adequate moisture presence to support mold growth on the dust layer.

  • Falling Mold Spores

Due to condensation on roof sheeting discussed earlier, mold begins to grow on such sheeting. These steadily drop to the insulated attic floor, thus making it look like growing mold.

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A close inspection will reveal otherwise.

So, does that mean that mold won’t grow on attic insulation? The short answer is this; it won’t! This is largely because attic insulation isn’t molded food or suitable media for mold to grow.

Mold growth only begins to appear when there is settled dust on the surface and moisture availability.

Treating Mold Growth in Attic Insulation

As discussed above, mold growth on attic insulation only happens on the surface, and only when there’s a suitable medium like dust. This might lead to discoloration of the attic insulation. What more?

Your attic might hold a lot of mold spores.

That’s as far as it goes. Mold spores won’t be getting into living spaces from the attic because they’re all contained within the attic space. Nevertheless, treatment of the area can be made.

One of the best actions to take is to have a few inches of attic surface peeled off or removed.

In extreme situations, a stripping of the entire insulation may be advised. This can significantly increase attic mold removal as well as replace it with new insulation.

It’s important to ask a professional what they think about your mold situation.

You should be wary of fraudulent contractors who might want to take advantage of clients by recommending complete stripping of attic insulation when not necessary.

To guard against such, only patronize licensed contractors to perform this procedure.

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Moldy Insulation In Attic: Underlying Issues

It’s not enough to have the mold removed from attic insulation.

You’ll have to look way beyond the effect to rectify the cause which primarily involves moisture presence. We’ve mentioned such causes as being insulation that’s considered too much or too thick.

This prevents or restricts radiant heat penetration into the attic which might lead to increased condensation on the cold roofing sheet surface.

Also, too much insulation could block soffit vents, thus preventing free ventilation which in turn increases moisture presence.

DIY Treatment of Mold on Attic Insulation

For DIY enthusiasts, the thought of trying their hands-on jobs like mold removal might be exciting.

However, experience has shown that it’s best to allow licensed professionals to handle all such jobs. The goal is to have a satisfactory and expected outcome and DIY strategies don’t always turn out that good.

You’ll have to contact your contractor to inspect your attic. In most cases, mold growth on attic insulation isn’t very serious. However, the moisture problem needs to be addressed for lasting relief.

Mold growth is unlikely to repeat itself when it’s fixed properly.

The Right Professional Should be Contacted

Not every technician should be considered for your attic mold remediation job.

Only licensed technicians will do. It’s important to also avoid being too hooked up on price discounts. Such might result in mediocre fixes.

By now, you have learned about mold situations on attic insulation. If you’re currently having or dealing with any of these, you should call for professional assistance as suggested.

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