How much does attic mold removal cost? That’s what most people ask, but the answer is not that simple. Costs for attic mold removal depend on the extent of the damage and what underlying problems caused the damage in the first place. Any company who gives you numbers before they inspect your home has a preconceived idea of what they ‘think’ the problem is. What you really need is a comprehensive mold and indoor air quality inspection.
A comprehensive mold and indoor air quality inspection (like ours) is very different from simply handing over a price. Imagine if your mechanic told you how much it would cost to fix your car without looking under the hood? Would you trust him (or her)? Getting a price for mold remediation without paying for a comprehensive mold inspection is a lot like that. Spending a few hundred dollars on a comprehensive mold inspection is money well spent, since a few hundred now could save you thousands in the long run.
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WHERE DID THE ATTIC MOLD COME FROM?
Molds grow from microscopic spores that are everywhere in the air. Molds are found everywhere in nature, including your attic, and are important for recycling organic matter (such as leaves). The recycling process they perform returns nutrients to the soil and is important for plants to grow.
Attics have all the things mold needs to grow: food (drywall, cardboard boxes, wood, leather goods, etc.), oxygen, the right temperature, and moisture.
Molds grow inside of their food sources. They penetrate deeply into wood, insulation, drywall, carpets, underneath kitchen and bathroom sinks, etc. Anything with carbohydrates in it could be considered a food source for molds.
Moisture is the one thing you can reasonably control when it comes to mold. A dry home equals a home with less mold growth. Keeping areas dry, especially areas that use water frequently (like bathrooms), is important to prevent mold growth.
Humidity higher than 60% gives mold a perfect environment in which to grow. The good news is you can prevent attic mold from causing problems. Controlling moisture levels stops mold growth in its tracks.
How Fast Do Molds Grow?
Once enough moisture is present, molds can begin to grow in less than 48 hours! Water from leaks, condensation, and poor ventilation can cause a ticking mold time bomb. Time is not on your side! Keep reading to learn what to do next.
WHAT ARE THE MAJOR CAUSES OF ATTIC MOLD?
Have you been up in your attic lately? Most people never venture into this part of their homes. Attics can easily be infested with mold for 2 primary reasons – poor ventilation and roof leaks.
One of the most common causes of mold in the attic is a leaking roof. To check for possible roof leaks, look for discoloration of insulation and wood including: the rafters, sheathing, joists, fascia boards, roof valleys, skylights, chimneys, windows, flashings, and the like. While you’re up there, make sure there are no leaks around attic plumbing stacks or air conditioners. If you have a vapor barrier, check for condensation. You may also be able to smell it. Mold has a distinctive musty odor that has been compared to stinky gym socks or a wet dog kind of smell.
Roof penetrations are one of the most likely places to find leaks. At least twice a year, roofs should be checked for leaks. Check that caulking and flashing are secure and in good shape. Repair missing or loose shingles, damage from limbs and remove any moss. While you are on the roof (or your chosen repair technician is), be sure to inspect the chimney for loose bricks, or boards. Also, check that the flashing is secure, and that no water is passing through it. Be sure a chimney cap is installed and working properly.
Because air travels upward toward the attic, household activities such as cooking, bathing and showering will produce moisture. Attic mold is often caused by the buildup of moisture that can not escape. One easy way to tell if you have excessive moisture in the attic is to look at the nails. If they are rusted, you most likely have moisture and ventilation problems. Black spots and discoloration can also signify a leak and mean trouble.
For more information about water damage check out our post: Water Damage Mold -Top 10 Tips from the Experts.
Why Proper Attic Ventilation is Important
Proper roof ventilation is very important in keeping your attic dry and mold free. Most homes have a passive system to circulate air through the attic. Around the ridge of your roof are soffit or eave vents that allow external air to enter the attic. This air then warms up in the attic, and leaves through can or ridge vents because heat rises. The process of air moving through the attic creates a well ventilated space, and prevents moisture and heat from being trapped.
However, when air is unable to enter or leave the attic, moisture and heat build up and encourage mold growth. If the soffit or eave vents are blocked (by paint for example), fresh air cannot enter the space. If the ridge vents or can vents are blocked (or not present), moisture and heat can build up in the space with nowhere to go.
We have visited homes with mold and moisture problems where there were no ridge or can vents and others where there were soffit or eave vents were blocked. Never assume these things are in place and working properly! Be sure to include checking these vents as part of your regularly scheduled home maintenance routine.
Other Types of Improper Ventilation
Other types of improper ventilation can also cause moisture problems. Improper ventilation of bathroom fans or dryer vents into the attic space can increase moisture and heat in the attic. Yes, we have seen these problems in real customer’s homes, and we have helped fix them! Our customers know we go above and beyond to find the problem and be sure it is corrected.
WHAT SHOULD THE MOLD INSPECTION PROCESS LOOK LIKE?
Whether you are located in our service area (Oconee, Clarke, Barrow, Walton, Green, Morgan, Jackson, Oglethorpe, and Madison County, Georgia) or not, we want everyone to know what mold removal should look like. The company you choose should offer a comprehensive mold and indoor air quality inspection that you pay for, not hand over a price without truly investigating the problem.
The primary reason you want to pay for a comprehensive inspection is the time and resources that go into the inspection. Some of our competitors offer “free” inspections, which basically means that the inspector shows up and hands over a price to fix a symptom, without truly knowing the nature of the problem.
Our process is far different. In addition to the questions we ask over the phone, once we arrive we ask many more. We treat every inspection like an investigation, and we’re on the case.
- Did you paint recently?
- How is your health?
- Any new furniture?
- Have you had any remodeling done?
Answers to these types of questions get us closer to solving the problem at hand, and help us to know where to look.
Next, the real investigation begins. We’ll then crawl under the house, poke around, and take moisture and relative humidity readings in affected areas, unaffected areas, and outdoors for the best possible points of reference.
Sometimes the mold problem can be easily diagnosed and repaired, like a pipe leaking under the house, but other times we don’t see mold at all. Because the root of the problem is beyond the obvious, we need to think outside the box. No company that offers a free mold inspection will be going to great lengths to determine the true causes of your attic mold problem.
WILL INSURANCE COVER ATTIC MOLD REMOVAL COSTS?
Well, yes and no. If you have a catastrophic event, such as a tree fall, and the mold grows as a result, then it might be covered. It depends on your individual insurance policy. Preventable mold growth, such as growth caused by a slow water leak, is normally not covered by homeowners insurance. Insurance companies expect you to take care of your own property, that includes: keeping your roof in good shape, preventing leaks in the roof and plumbing, checking your basement or crawl space regularly, properly ventilating the bathroom, etc.
So, for example, if you have mold forming in your bathroom, and you or your family members are sick as a result, it will probably not be covered by your homeowners insurance. That’s not to say that you shouldn’t try to fix the problem! Mold is not something you want in your home!
ATTIC MOLD REMOVAL COSTS – IS ATTIC MOLD DANGEROUS TO MY HEALTH?
Mold is an insidious, invisible predator in your home. It hides in places no one ever thinks to look like under cabinets, in crawl spaces, attics, and behind furniture. People may spend weeks, months, and even years fighting illness, and never know what they are really fighting…mold. Many of our customers find us after a recommendation from their doctor, that they may in fact have a mold problem, and not just an illness.
Mold is most often associated with allergies, but mold is much more menacing than people know. While all molds have the potential to cause irritation and allergy symptoms, molds can also cause much more dangerous health problems including: fungal poisoning and mental health problems.
Black Mold – Something of a Misnomer
Before we go any further, let’s clear up the confusion about ‘toxic black mold.’ When you read about ‘toxic black mold’ it is kind of misleading. The thing is… dangerous and toxic mold is not just black, it can be many different colors. Toxic molds can appear to be green, yellow, brown, and black.
All molds have the potential to cause irritation and allergy symptoms. However, some molds can also cause much more dangerous health problems. Some molds, but not all, produce mycotoxins. Not all molds are toxic, but many are. Mycotoxins can cause health problems ranging from poisoning to cancer.
What is a Mycotoxin?
Mycotoxins, literally ‘fungus poison’ in Latin, are secondary metabolites that can be produced by molds, and are not living organisms. Mycotoxins are a byproduct of mold. Not all mold spores produce mycotoxins, but some do. So, the molds that produce mycotoxins are the ones that could be categorized as toxic or poisonous.
Where is the line between an allergic mold and a toxic mold? That line is defined by the presence of mycotoxins, and is NOT defined by color. Mycotoxins are invisible and cannot be detected just by looking at the mold growth.
What Do Mycotoxins Do?
These chemical substances can cause many health problems ranging from mild to severe. Even if you are not allergic to mold, you can be affected by mycotoxins.
Mycotoxins can be absorbed by the body in a number of ways including: through the skin, the airways (inhalation), and through the intestinal lining (ingestion). Detrimental health effects caused by mycotoxins can range from “acute poisoning to long-term effects such as immune deficiency and cancer.” Chronic disease sufferers, such as people with immunosuppressive disorders or underlying lung disease may be more sensitive to molds and mycotoxins in their environment.
One of the main ways people become poisoned by mycotoxins is through eating contaminated foods. Foods such as apples, cereal grains, coffee beans, nuts, spices, dog and cat food, and more can become contaminated with fungi that produce mycotoxins.
Did you know that toxic mold can affect your pets as well? To learn more about how mold affects your pets check out our article: Mold and Pets – 10 Things You Most Likely Didn’t Know.
ATTIC MOLD REMOVAL COSTS – DIY VS. PROFESSIONAL
If you’re familiar with our blog, you know that the first thing to do when cleaning mold is to fix the moisture problem that led to the mold growth. Until you fix the moisture problem, mold will continue to grow and spread.
Customers often ask, “Can I clean the mold myself or do I need a professional?” Our answer depends several factors including:
- how extensive the mold problem is
- what building materials, furnishings, and belongings are affected
- where the mold is located
- whether or not you mind being in confined spaces such as your crawlspace, basement, or attic
Mold is great at hiding in hard to detect locations such as in drywall and insulation. If the area of mold covers more than about 10 square feet, there is a good chance the mold problem is more than an isolated issue. If you smell a musty odor in your home you can’t identify, or have health problems associated with mold, it’s time to call in the professionals.
To learn more about DIY mold removal, check out our post 7 Things You Must Know Before Attempting DIY Attic Mold Removal before cleaning. We give you all the details on how to clean mold safely.
ATTIC MOLD REMOVAL COSTS – WHAT ARE THE STEPS OF PROFESSIONAL ATTIC MOLD REMOVAL?
Let’s say you have a big mold problem. There is definitely more than 10 square feet of mold, you are having health issues, or you have decided DIY is not for you. What happens when you call a professional? When you have a mold remediation company come to your home, you need to know just what to expect.
5 Steps for Professional Attic Mold Removal or Remediation
1. Define The Scope
The work begins with a paid comprehensive mold and indoor air quality inspection. A thorough comprehensive mold and indoor air quality inspection takes time and resources. The inspector should ask a lot of questions before they come and when they arrive. These questions along with visible inspection of the property, help the inspector pinpoint the source (or sources) of the problem. If a company shows up and gives you a ‘free’ air quality assessment, you’ve probably found a scam artist.
Not all mold removal and remediation companies are created equal! Before hiring anyone you should ask questions, a lot of questions! For a detailed list of questions to ask check our our post: How to Choose the ‘Best’ Mold Removal Company. We help you know all the questions to ask and all the correct answers! If a mold removal company can’t answer all the questions or answer them to your satisfaction… Don’t hire them!
Mold and Indoor Air Quality Inspection Report
Once the inspection is complete, your inspector will define the extent of the necessary work and what may or may not need to be done. You should receive an Indoor Air Quality Assessment Report that details all the work to be done. The inspector should talk you through all your options and tailor a plan that fits your needs and your budget.
2. Correct Moisture Problems
Removing or correcting the source of moisture is a vital part of the remediation process to ensure mold does not return. This may be handled by a contractor outside the scope of the mold remediation. Once walls or floors are opened up, now is the time to address plumbing issues and other leaks. Leaks are problems that can be remedied quickly if routine maintenance checks are performed on your home. The longer a leak is present, the more mold will grow. Prevention is worth nine tenths of the cure they say!
To learn how to prevent water leaks and to find the most likely spots for leaks in your home check out our post: 10 Things You Need To Know Today About Black Mold From a Water Leak.
3. Protect The People
Keeping your family and the work crews safe is our top priority. This means preparing your home for the work that needs to be done. Branch Environmental uses methods such as containment walls and negative air flow to keep your home safe, and we’ll let you know if you can or cannot be in the home during the work.
4. Remove The Mold
The work will start by removing and discarding non-salvageable material. Next, the materials that can be saved are cleaned. At Branch Environmental, we always use safe and environmentally friendly products. There is no reason to replace one environmental toxin with another, such as bleach. Be sure to ask your mold remediation contractor questions about the chemicals they use to remove mold and if they are environmentally friendly.
If walls, floors, or ceilings were removed during the remediation, the final step will be reinstalling what was taken out. Drywall, carpet, and other soft materials are the most likely materials that will have to be replaced. However, even framing or complete ceilings may have to be replaced depending on the level of damage.
Especially if you don’t live in our service area, you should check out our post: How to Choose a Mold Removal Company. We answer every question you should ask a mold removal company, before you hire them!
ATTIC MOLD REMOVAL COSTS SOUND EXPENSIVE!
Most people rarely plan for the expense of attic mold removal, so here at Branch Environmental, we are careful to help control costs and manage your expectations from the beginning. With a clear understanding of the problem, we can work with you to create a remediation protocol that fits your needs.
The best place to start is with a paid Indoor Air Quality Assessment. This step will give you all the information you need to move forward. You will discover exactly how extensive your problem is, and what is necessary to solve it.
WE’RE HERE WHEN YOU NEED US
Call Branch Environmental. We’re experts not only at mold removal, but at determining and remediating the underlying causes. From hidden mold sources to major contaminants, we can identify exactly what is going on in your home and rid it of environmental toxins, often for good.