Attics can be a treacherous area of the home to navigate by the homeowner.
For these reasons many homeowners never venture into the attic unless there is a problem. The problem could be a roof leak or mold has been found by a contractor installing a new bathroom fan or pot lights, a home inspector has found a mold problem during a real estate transaction.
While no one likes to hear the word Mold it’s not the end of the world, it can send many potential Toronto home buyers running until they get educated about Attic Mold, it’s fixable and not a deal breaker by itself.
Some Common questions
This is the Mold Equation
Moisture + Food (building materials) + Mold Spores = Mold Growth
Mold growth will occur in 12 – 48hrs when the equation is complete. Mold Spores are everywhere in nature and our homes are built with wood and drywall (food) so the only part of the equation we can control is the moisture.
Go to Google and find a company that does mold removal…right? Well…You get the first 3 companies on Google and they come to inspect but they all have different methods of mold removal and completely different costing quotes, NOW WHAT?
Assume a typical 20’ x 30’ attic
Let’s have a brief look at four common types of insulation that might be in your attic.
One of the most common types of attic insulation are fiberglass batts, made of long, interwoven fibers of fibreglass with some adhesive binders. Batts come in panels or rolls while batts are easy to install they tend to leave spaces or gaps which affects the R value performance.
(R-Value = Thermal Resistance)
Some fibreglass batts come with a backing made of kraft paper or vinyl which acts as a vapour barrier, it’s best to use the batts without a backing in the attic.
Cost is typically around $1.25 per square foot.
The only down side to blown in fiberglass is the experience of the installers, if the installer doesn’t install some sort of baffle near the soffits to prevent the insulation from falling into the soffit vent area they could inadvertently block the soffit vents causing poor circulation throughout the attic. This is one of the primary causes of mold growth in the attic.
Blown in Cellulose:
Cellulose is 75% recycled newspapers, 25% natural wood products with a fire-retardant chemical so it has a fire rating and is safe. Considered a green product, it’s not itchy like fibreglass and doesn’t contain any formaldehyde. Both Fiberglass and Cellulose have similar R-Values and there is the possibility that the soffits could get blocked if not installed correctly.
Vermiculite is a silver-gold to gray-brown mineral that is flat and shiny in its natural state. When heated to around 1000 degrees C, it pops or puffs up which creates pockets of air which made it suitable for use as attic insulation. Vermiculite has not been shown to cause health problems itself. However there was a mine in Montana called Libby Mines which had a natural deposit of asbestos which resulted in the vermiculite being contaminated with asbestos. The product hasn’t been for sale since 1990. It was sold as Zonolite Attic Insulation.
Not all vermiculite has asbestos, only the product that came from the Libby Mine. Most vermiculite products are safe. When we open an attic during a house or mold inspection and we see vermiculite it’s best to have it analyzed for possible asbestos contamination.