Mold Removal

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Old 02-17-15, 03:48 PM
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Mold Removal

Started demo for a bathroom renovation. Found some interesting stuff. I know there was an insulation problem, just from the extreme heat and cold during respective seasons, and lack of ventilation. It seems the roof is leaking, and most likely has been for a while. It will need to be replaced once winter is over. Can the trusses be cleaned, or do they need replaced as well? Should I get an air quality test? The bathroom is in a finished attic, it’s about 9’ x 8’.Name:  image1.jpg
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Old 02-17-15, 03:51 PM
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Whatever this is, it isn't too much a DIY affair. I would call in mold remediation specialists to take care of it. Health reasons primarily, but "did you get it all", because it will grow back if you didn't.
 
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Old 02-17-15, 03:54 PM
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I'm assuming these pictures are looking up at the bottom of the roof? Hard to tell from a closeup shot. It appears that you have "rafters" not trusses, and unless you can poke a screwdriver right into the wood, the rafters are probably fine. The roof sheathing, on the other hand, should probably be completely replaced, which will mean tearing off shingles, etc.
 
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Old 02-17-15, 03:54 PM
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As long as the wood rafter is still solid it can be cleaned. Some folks are a lot more sensitive to molds than others.
 
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Old 02-17-15, 04:08 PM
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You know, Brant, if those are rafters, why are they insulated in the first place? Prime place for mold to grow would be on insulation in rafters. It could be the decking is OK and this is the vapor barrier on the insulation. Curious.
 
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Old 02-17-15, 04:23 PM
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I dunno, the texture in places looks like the bottom of OSB sheathing. (bottom picture, upper left)
 
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Old 02-17-15, 04:41 PM
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This is the underside of the roof. I'm going to start buying materials soon, still have matching shingles in the garage. As soon as the world thaws, it's all coming off. Rafters/trusses- I don't know the difference? There was insulation on the ceiling of the bathroom, leaving a cavity above it. There were actually 2 layers of insulation... If I ever meet whoever did the work on my house before I bought it! After some research, epa says something this size is ok to DIY
 
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Old 02-17-15, 05:00 PM
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Mold is not usually as toxic as everyone makes it out to be. Many people have allergies to it, just like tree pollen or dust. Wearing a n-95 or better mask is just a good idea. I wouldn't mess with any of it from below since you will probably access it all from above later.

It could also be from years of frost accumulation & melting, since it's a moist area in close proximity to a cold roof. Lots of roofs get frosty and it isn't usually a problem. Excessive frost is. Make sure there is adequate ventilation. The words "finished attic" and ventilation don't usually go together... you usually have one at the expense of another. I.E. if the rafters above the finished attic space are stuffed with insulation, there is nowhere for this moisture to go. So in the winter, it would just freeze and continue to build up. I'm hypothesizing here, since you haven't given us much information to go on.

As far as cleaning the rafters is concerned, if it was me, I'd mix up a bottle of hot water and either Boraxo (borax laundry detergent) or T.S.P. and spray it moderately, then scrape with a wide putty knife into a big dust pan. Contrary to popular belief, bleach does not prevent mold from recurring. Your intent should be to clean the wood, not necessarily kill the mold. Yes, there are commercial methods and products but these are proven DIY methods.
 
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Old 02-17-15, 05:00 PM
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I was looking at what appeared to be folded ears at each rafter indicating paper, but if you say this is the underside of your roof.....that it is.
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Old 02-17-15, 06:55 PM
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Chandler, that circled part looks to me to be a type NM cable.
 
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Old 02-17-15, 07:09 PM
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I see the stay puft marshmallow man to the upper right of the circle... LOL
 
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Old 02-18-15, 07:06 AM
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Working on mold removal isn't just a matter of allergies. The inhaled dust settles into your lung tissue, along with dust from city air or sawdust or coal dust, whatever, and eventually can clog enough of your lungs' surface to make breathing very difficult. Plus all that stuff gives bacteria good nesting material and makes it difficult to treat chest infections. So best to minimize breathing in dust of any avoidable variety as you go through life. No good way to clean it out.
 
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Old 02-18-15, 07:19 AM
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Marynurse, I have to congratulate you on a well written reply. When I saw you had weighed in, I thought, oh great... the nurse is going to weigh in on a construction topic again, but this time she's gonna blast me for downplaying mold. But your comments putting mold on a similar level as any other dust are right on the mark. Construction workers especially need to be more serious about using their dust masks.

My allergies act up when I'm following a car down a dusty gravel road, and my windows are rolled up!

Personally, I wish I had worn a dust mask all those years on the table saw. Just the smell of cut wood drives my sinuses berserk now. We neglect some things in favor of convenience.
 
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Old 02-18-15, 07:29 AM
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That is mold that has grown on the rafter.
 
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Old 02-18-15, 07:48 AM
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Personally, I wish I had worn a dust mask all those years on the table saw. Just the smell of cut wood drives my sinuses berserk now. We neglect some things in favor of convenience.
I know what you mean and agree! With me it was paint, more specifically the solvents in the paint. When I was young I hated wearing a mask and if I did it was one of those cheap paper dust masks While my lungs are in good shape, I now suffer from occupational over exposure to solvents I used to could work all day with oil base coatings with no effect but now unless there is a lot of fresh air ventilation - I need a respirator!
 
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Old 02-20-15, 07:21 PM
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Speaking of PPE (personal protective equipment) the latest episode of Ask This Old House had Kevin discussing hearing protection. Then the next segment had Tommy using an angle grinder to cut some composite columns and while he did use a pair of safety glasses and a dust mask he did NOT use hearing protection.

Myself, I've been using hearing protection from my early twenties. Sometimes get ribbed about being a sissy and once had a boss that told me NOT to use the protection because I wouldn't be able to hear if something was amiss. I just flipped him off and that was the end of that.
 
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Old 02-20-15, 08:30 PM
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Re mold: I ought to have included the obvious, which is the risk of live mold spores causing mold to grow inside your warm, moist, dark lungs. Much harder to cure than most bacterial invaders.

Solvent fumes (petroleum-based, that is) also cause brain damage and liver damage silently. Good to run a fan epecially in small spaces.

Masks, safety glasses, ear protection - all important. And for Halloween you can wear them all at once...
 
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Old 02-21-15, 08:06 AM
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I'm following this because I also have, what appears to be, mold in my attic crawl space. I do have trusses and wonder about cleaning them. Putty knife and Boraxo or TSP sounds like a big job--especially at the eave end of the truss. It's basically unreachable.

Also, I do wear hearing, (most of the time) respiratory, and eye protection. I already have hearing loss from my younger years playing loud guitar.
But, when I put all that stuff on, aside from the fact that my wife says I look like a spaceman, the darn glasses fog up so much, sometimes that is a hazard. Any tips on keeping the glasses clear (especially difficult in this cold weather).
 
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Old 02-24-15, 10:04 AM
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Surgery nurses have the same problem every day with masks and eyeglasses. Take a drop of liquid soap (or wet your fingers and rub on soap bar very well) and smear it all over the "lenses". Then use a dry tissue or cloth and wipe off what you can, not too harshly. You will then have slightly smeary glasses but they won't fog up. Lasts for hours.

The same thing works if you wear glasses and are going in and out of a warm house on a zero-cold day: do the soap thing first and you can do groceries or armloads of wood or buckets of ashes in and out with clear vision. Or of course you can back into the warm doorway from the cold each time; this also prevents doorway fogging.
 
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Old 02-24-15, 10:41 AM
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Agreeing with marynurse's suggestion, and adding that using baby shampoo (the "no more tears" brand) might also work- and might be easier on your eyes.
 
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Old 02-24-15, 11:35 AM
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I'm no expert on trusses, but I have cleared mildew easily by wiping with half bleach/half water when it appeared on a wall which had boxes stacked against it (and it never came back after I moved the boxes away). So I wonder about spraying bleach water into areas you can't reach, or using a long-handled mop for a wipe. I would expect other people to have better info specifically for trusses.
 
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Old 02-24-15, 01:59 PM
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Bleach works great on mildew and somewhat on mold. The big thing to remember about bleach is it will eat/destroy wood fibers. That's why you never use it stronger than 50% and rinse it off when cleaning the wood. I suspect there are better products to use on rafters or anywhere else bleach can't easily be rinsed off.
 
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Old 02-24-15, 10:22 PM
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The biggest myth when it comes to mold cleanup is that all you have to do is spray some bleach on it and you're done. To truly "clean" a moldy surface, (not just kill the spores on the surface or bleach it white) you need a surfactant (a cleaner) to dislodge as much of the mold as possible.

Regarding the use of bleach, the EPA says, "The use of a chemical or biocide that kills organisms such as mold (chlorine bleach, for example) is not recommended as a routine practice."

They later state the reason why... "Dead mold may still cause allergic reactions in some people, so it is not enough to simply kill the mold, it must also be removed."

For more info, go to http://www.epa.gov/mold/pdfs/moldguide.pdf

Even if you kill existing mold with bleach, it doesn't mean it can't or won't come back. Mold will come back if the conditions that caused it to grow in the first place have not been remedied. The old mold may be dead, but both old and new mold spores are everywhere.

In extensive cases of mold growth, (like our friend the chef is dealing with) remediation followed by encapsulation is the best remedy. Replace what you can (like the sheathing), then clean the rest and encapsulate as needed.

Marynurse, your mildew probably didn't come back because you moved the boxes, not because you used bleach. You changed the conditions (temperature and humidity= condensation) and thus made the wall less inviting for mildew growth.
 
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Old 02-25-15, 04:52 AM
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I have been doing a bit of rebuilding after a national mold remediation crew gets through with their work. They use a baking soda blaster system, they say neutralizes the mold and removes it in one movement. Then they vacuum up the soda mess. Of course there is a large investment in equipment and soda, I am sure.

If we uncover mold they missed, we quit and call them back. I don't risk the health of my crew for mold. It's the "unseen" that will get you.
 
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Old 02-25-15, 07:24 AM
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Thanks, XSleeper.........
 
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