Black colored mold.

Jean BoJuly 13, 2011

We have a house in the family that was built in 78, it is a very contemporary design with vaulted ceilings in the two upstairs bedrooms. Half of the bedroom's ceiling is the underside of the twin T's that make up the rear roof of the house, and then the front half is 4" thick deck of tung and groove cedar. Above this deck is a open air space with clear story windows where the front and back roof meet and that is designed to let the heat of the house rise and be released out the windows.

Above this cedar deck is more Twin T's that make up the front part of the roof. Ok I hope I explained that well. The house has never had a mold problem but several weeks ago I noticed that both bedroom at the very top where these two materials come together has mold. It appears to be very wispy not solid black patches. I assume that is fuzzy mold. My husband went up and did a quick check to see if the windows up there were possibly leaking. They are shut now and have been for many years, and don't show signs of leakage. The air conditioning is always on but I suspect that when we had a hurricane back in late 05, the electricity was off for 2 weeks and it probably got real hot and humid up there.

So my question is; What can you do to see what kind of mold you have? Can you get in trouble having a company find out if you do in fact have "black mold". I have heard of residences being condemned from mold. Not that were chocked full of mold but I don't want any problems.

And last what is your suggestion on treating this area. One side is stained cedar and the other is popcorn sprayed concrete, and just to make it really interesting the peak area that has the mold is probably 18 feet in the air. Yikes. I appreciate any suggestions you all might have. TIA.

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A one-time situation, limited in scope, that has been corrected should not give you a problem.
I'd first ensure the area above the ceiling is properly ventilated and that there is no leakage (roof and flashing in good shape, no nail-pops or unflashed roof penetrations). Check all surfaces for dampness, especially after a hard rain.
I'd then clean the surfaces with a spray of diluted Clorox (about 1:5) and keep an eye on the area for any return of the problem. Replace any removable material that is moldy (i.e. insullation).

    Bookmark   July 23, 2011 at 1:19PM
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Jean Bo

Thanks randy for all the info, all very good. Yes I will send my husband up there again for further checking for possible leaks. There is no insulation up there as the underside of the bedroom ceiling is actually the concrete roof. However the upside was treated with an insulator. Thank you for the 1 to 5 ration on the bleach. That is the part we are nervous about cause the problem area is so high and don't want to ruin things in the process. I am guessing were going to have to tape off and plastic sheet everything like a Dexter kill room. LOL, sorry that's just what comes to mind, hope your a fan. We were thinking about steam! Does anyone know if we could possibly clean this area with steam? It's cedar wood and concrete sprayed with a texture surface.

    Bookmark   July 23, 2011 at 3:56PM
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Steam is not likely to be effective. You would need to heat the contaminated material to high temperature all the way through for an extended period. I don't know how you would do that to this structure. Note that I have no idea what "twin Ts" are.) The bleach will penetrate to a limited degree as well, but my guess it that it will work better than trying to steam it. I am still struggling with your description. Is there any way to post some pictures or do you have any links to similar structures?

I am afraid that your best bet might be to just concentrate on humidity control to keep it in check after you make sure there is no water infiltration. Keep in mind that humid air that might be sucked in due to pressure differentials created by the HVAC can cause condensation wherever the hot, moist air first hits a cold surface.

A few words on bleach. The concentration of hypochlorite is all over the place for some time now. It used to be a standard 6% by some convention. If you want to use the 5 or 10% figure, you need 6% hypochlorite in the bottle. The flavored varieties, as I like to call them, have a lower concentration so the added scents are not oxidized (degraded) by the bleach. Some shysters even market stuff as "ultra" that have lower concentrations than 6%. It is all a consumer rip-off. If you are in the store and forgot the 6% figure, check a bottle in the store that says "disinfectant bleach" on the label or has an EPA registration and buy the stuff that has the same or higher concentration that is least costly.

    Bookmark   July 25, 2011 at 2:45PM
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You could consider collecting a mold sample and sending it out to a testing service. I don't know for sure if they exist, but you could look around. Check their credentials if you do find one.

Keep us posted.

    Bookmark   July 25, 2011 at 2:48PM
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Jean Bo

Ionized thank you so much for all the info on Bleach. I am a label reader. Sometimes I am in the grocery store for hours reading all the labels. I have NEVER read the label on the bleach. Good point on the "flavored" bleach will stop purchasing them. I never noticed the difference in smell with them anyway. I tried to find the figures on my bleach and I don't think I was able to find the figures but will just purchase regular from here out. Thank you for your other info. As for sending in the info to get it tested. I thought about that but I would not want to have some major issue with "BLACK MOLD" police later. So we will just try and treat it on our own. Thanks so much!

    Bookmark   July 31, 2011 at 12:28PM
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