Photograph: typical mold on attic side of ceiling drywall after a roof leaks -  © Daniel Friedman Mold in Attics: When to Remove Roofing
     


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Attic or cathedral ceiling mold cleanup:

Do we need to remove the roof or perform other demolition to clean or remove attic, cathedral ceiling, or other roof cavity mold contamination? Here we explain when a roof tear-off is justified as part of an attic or roof mold cleanup project (rarely) and when roof tear-offs are not justified.

This document gives advice on how to find and deal with mold in building attics and roof cavities. This procedure helps identify the presence of or locate the probable sources of mold reservoirs in buildings, and helps decide which of these need more invasive, exhaustive inspection and testing.

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ATTIC MOLD When to Tear Off the Roof

How does one determine if the roof should come off

Photograph: toxic mold on pine tongue and groove roof sheathing -  © Daniel Friedman

Toxic attic mold: The photo at the left was identified as a toxic mold that probably should be removed, although the ease of movement

Generally, tearing off a roof and roof sheathing and perhaps roof framing, to remove mold would not be sensible nor cost-justified.

Mold growth, provided it is not just cosmetic mold which can simply be left alone, (see Cosmetic Mold) can be cleaned from wood surfaces by blasting, scrubbing, or even simple surface wiping, depending on the surface accessibility and smoothness.

Lots of protruding nails through a roof deck preclude wiping or scrubbing.

Do We Need to Sand or Blast the Roof Surface to Remove Mold?

Sanding wood building surfaces such as plywood or tongue and groove roof sheathing, wall sheathing, or wood framing is usually unnecessary and inappropriate. Furthermore, sanding a roof deck is almost impossible because of the interference from protruding nails. Media blasting (below) works on these surfaces.

If you must return wood surfaces to immaculate, pristine looking condition, perhaps for cosmetic reasons where wood surfaces are left exposed to view in a building interior, see

MOLD CLEANUP by MEDIA BLASTING and

MOLD CLEANUP by MEDIA BLASTING and

MOLD CLEANUP with BLEACH and

MOLD CLEANUP - WOOD FRAMING & PLYWOOD and finally

MOLD CLEANUP HEALTH RISKS

Do we have to sand or clean moldy wood to remove all traces of mold stains?

Attic interior moldy roof sheathing (C) Daniel Friedman

Any stains that remain on wood surfaces after cleaning are harmless (usually sterile hyphae remaining below the wood surface).

Fixing the cause of mold is an essential part of any mold cleanup job

At the time of cleaning off mold, it is essential that the cause of mold growth be corrected as well, or mold growth will probably return, regardless of whether any stained surfaces were left from the prior cleaning.

Should I use a biocide or fungicide during roof mold cleanup?

Use of fungicidal encapsulants may reduce but not eliminate the risk of future mold growth, primarily, or more lastingly because such encapsulants reduce the future uptake of moisture in the wood materials.

Damaged old roof sheathing- remove not for mold but because of its deteriorated condition and need for new roof (C) Daniel FriedmanFungicidal chemicals themselves can be expected to break down over time and should not be relied on as "mold proofing".

See these articles for details on using mold sprays, fungicides, coatings, encapsulants in attics

FUNGICIDAL SPRAY & SEALANT USE GUIDE

FUNGICIDAL SPRAY ADVANTAGES

MOLD SPRAY WARNINGS

DISINFECTANTS & SANITIZERS, SOURCES

MOLD CLEANUP - MISTAKES to AVOID

In our roof interior (attic) photo at left you can see antique roof framing along with black stains and probably some mold growth from a long history of roof leaks. Even in this case, in our OPINION the reasons to remove and replace roof sheathing and framing would normally be based on the condition of the roof framing and sheathing, not on the presence of mold or stains.

We remove mold from roof framing and sheathing;

We replace rotted or unsafe roof framing or sheathing, combining that work with a new roof covering as well.

So when is a Roof Tear Off Necessary if I've got a Moldy Attic or Cathedral Ceiling?

When the roof sheathing is rotted or damaged, or when other structural repairs are needed, a tear-off is unavoidable.

When attic surfaces or insulation contain a large reservoir of toxic or allergenic mold, AND if the area were inaccessible, say because the space is too small to enter, then it may be necessary to remove some portion of roofing to give access for remediation, particularly if there is evidence of transmission of problem mold from that space into the living area.

This article is part of our series: MOLD in BUILDINGS which describes how to find mold and test for mold in buildings, including how and where to collect mold samples using adhesive tape - an easy, inexpensive, low-tech but very effective mold testing method.

See TEST KITS for DUST, MOLD, PARTICLE TESTS for details.

 

 

Continue reading at ATTIC MOLD ENCAPSULANTS or select a topic from the More Reading links shown below.

Or see MOLD CLEANUP GUIDE- HOW TO GET RID OF MOLD

More Reading

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