Mold and Mildew Prevention
Many homeowners only set foot in their attic to remove stored items. Some homeowners convert the loft into living space. If you store clothing, holiday decorations or any items that you don't use on a regular basis in your attic, and you notice a musty smell when you remove them, you have mildew in the loft. If you see black spots developing on your clothing, linens, toys or other stored items, you have mold. Some homeowners clearly see the black mold growing on rafters, beams and attic walls definitely have a problem. If your attc is finished and has been converted to living space, mold and mildew may grow on the walls or ceilings leaving its telltale black mark. Mold can cause a wide range of health problems to you, your family, friends and your house. The root of mold is always a water source, whetehr from roof leaks, plumbing problems or condensation forming on duct work or windows. Defend yourself against mold and keep your family and house healthy.
Inspect your attic for sources of water. Look at the roof for possible areas of leaks. The easiest way to check for roof leaks is to go up into your attic during a bright and sunny day. Turn off the loft lights and look up at the rafters, if you see any signs of daylight, you have a roof leak. Many small leaks are due to loosening roof nail, which is an easy fix. Go up on the roof, drive the nails back in place and cover the nail head and 1 to 2 inches around it with roofing cement. Check any pipes that run through the loft for leaks. If anything is leaking, fix it...now!
If possible, install attic ventilation to keep the air flowing through the loft. Good attic ventilation includes ridge vents, gable vents or other roof vents. Keep insulation out of the eaves so that air can circulate.
Put on a filtering mask, safety goggles and gloves.
Get rid of anything you do not need or do not use. Clutter gives mold spores a place to settle and thrive.
Properly store items in the attic. Generally, you are better off storing items in tightly lidded plastic containers such as Rubbermaid containers rather than cardboard boxes. Cardboard hangs onto dampness and moisture which can worsen mold and mildew problesm. Check the manufacturers storage instructions for correct methods.
Vacuum every square inch of the attic with a heavy duty shop vacuum. Start at the top of the attic working down the walls to the floor.
Make a 50-50 mixture of chlorine bleach and water. Pour the mold killer into a spray bottle. Spray the moldy areas with the bleach and water. Let the bleach and water to remain on the mold for 10 to 15 minutes. Scrub the mold covered surface with a nylon scrub brush and wipe away the residue.
After the areas dry, paint the entire attic with a mold inhibiting paint, beginning at the peak of the roof, working down the wall and across the floor.
Rinse several pieces of charcoal off under running water and let it dry. Place the charcoal in a mesh bag or in cheesecloth and tie off the top. Place the bags of charcoal around the attic to absorb excess moisture.
At least once a year, clean the entire attic including vacuuming, wipe the ceiling, walls and floor with a chlorine bleach and water solution.
If the attic has a lot of mold growth, hire a professional mold remediation specialist to clean the mold.