Need recommendation re: minimizing likelihood of mold

brian7972riJanuary 30, 2003

As posted in another thread by me, we had a condensation problem in our attic that is well on its way to being remediated (i.e. drying). We have all of the insulation out (only about 5% of which was wet on the moisture barrier...) and new insulation is being installed on Friday. There is virtually no moisture at all on the sheetrock, just about a dozen water stains that have dried almost completely.

We have a 20" box fan blowing on medium down the access point into a spare bedroom. We emptied the bedroom and put plastic on the floor, and cracked one of the windows. This appears to be doing the trick as the OSB board and joists are starting to dry. It's 30* here today in New England and should stay in that range.

My primary concern now is preventing mildew/mold growth. The contractor offered to go up there and spray/scrub K-14. However, I have been told that if the wood dries well before the attic hits 70* (which won't be for a couple months), we shouldn't have a mold problem. I am thinking that perhaps we should wait to let the wood dry, go up there every few days, and only begin to treat the problem if I start to see mildew mold.

Any thoughts on the best thing to do here? I'd hate to K-14 the entire attic if there's no biological reason to do so.


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Mold can't grow where there is not sufficient moisture, and something to live on. If things truly get back to their correct / normal moisture levels, you'll be tossing your money down the drain for the treatment; as well as living with it in your house forever; whatever the stuff is. If you need this stuff to keep mold away; you are only dealing with the symptom; not the problem. Get things dried out and correctly put back together / vented / insulated etc and you will be fine.


    Bookmark   January 30, 2003 at 6:56PM
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Bob - awesome. You're confirming my gut instinct (as I just went and checked on the quartz heater and box fan system I have going up there). I'm blowing some dry heat around now and I can tell that it's going to help immensely to dry the wood.

I really think I can get things back to normal before the temperatures rise enough to spur mold growth. Up here in New England, that gives me a good 2 months to get things back to normal (I'm hoping it will only take a week). I'll then make attic inspections every 2 weeks thereafter to keep an eye on things. Only once I develop a problem I'll have it treated.

Thanks again...

    Bookmark   January 30, 2003 at 8:43PM
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"I have been told that if the wood dries well before the attic hits 70* (which won't be for a couple months), we shouldn't have a mold problem."

Fungi spores need moisture to sprout and multiply.

Part of the "k14" appeal is that it also bleaches out the water stains ... many people mistake a water stain for "toxic mold" and panic.

Give the drywall some time to completely dry and for all the staining that is going to happen to happen, check it for hardness in case it got too wet, and then have them PRIME with a water stain blocker and repaint.

    Bookmark   January 31, 2003 at 8:01AM
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Twelve percent moisture or less is the number we like to see to prevent mold growth.

    Bookmark   January 31, 2003 at 11:10AM
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sandur - thanks for the tip - how do I measure that ? Is there a moisture meter I can use to test the surfaces in my attic ?


    Bookmark   January 31, 2003 at 3:13PM
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Nevermind...found one...might be worth the $75 investment so I can be proactive (and perhaps get some peace of mind)

    Bookmark   January 31, 2003 at 3:17PM
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Be aware with that meter you may be reading surface moisture only which could be drier than at a 1/2 inch depth on a 2x4 that has been soaked. This is just part of the drying process so you would probably want to check in several times over the next few weeks. This is just speculation on my part that the probes on this meter are not to be driven into lumber like some of the meters made years ago.

    Bookmark   January 31, 2003 at 5:38PM
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