Case Studies

Mold Solutions by Cowleys Case Studies: Mysterious Mold in East Brunswick, NJ Attic

Wednesday, October 14th, 2015 by John Rockhill


The Mold Solutions team was sent to an East Brunswick home. The homeowner found mold growth on the wood framing in the attic. We see mold growth more often in crawl spaces and basements, and for good reason. Water from moisture-saturated soil often finds its way inside, especially after heavy rains. The smallest cracks in a home’s foundation are enough to let in water. Also, even if there is no water intrusion, mold can grow and thrive just from moisture in the air, and crawl spaces and basements often have high relative humidity levels, much higher than the home’s living spaces.

Leaky water pipes in basements and crawl spaces can trigger mold growth as well. But as we see in this East Brunswick home, mold can and does grow in the attic as well. The homeowner was not sure how it got there, but high humidity levels in the attic produce more than enough moisture for mold to thrive, and high attic temperature levels just make the problem worse. If you have ever been brave enough to venture into your attic during the summer, the heat can be stifling, often in excess of 100 degrees. Even though there are no water pipes in your attic or ground water can’t find its way in, attics can still be subject to water intrusions because old roofs can leak. With this particular residence, there was no evidence of roof leaks such as water stains or damp insulation, and the homeowner assured us that his roof and soffits were both in great condition. 

As long as there is water or moisture, mold will grow. Mold will consume any organic material, even processed wood, by releasing dissolving enzymes. When doing so, many mold strains release gases whose smell we associate with mold. This home had extensive visual mold growth, but because of the attic ventilation the unmistakable, pungent musky odor of mold was not present. Just because you can’t smell mold, doesn’t mean it’s not there. If you can see it, or even worse, family members are having chronic respiratory problems, you need to have it checked out. Once mold is discovered in one area of the home, even in those areas that are not living spaces, it is important to have it treated quickly. Mold does not stay localized. Rather, its very nature is to spread. Mold reproduces and recolonizes through disbursing microscopic airborne mold spores. All you need is a current of air and mold reattaches elsewhere in the home to start a new colony. Unfortunately, many people develop respiratory problems when breathing in these spores, especially the young, the elderly, and those who already have respiratory issues or compromised immune systems. 

Preventative measures can be taken with crawl spaces and basements. For example, Cowleys recommends the installation of specialized commercial-grade dehumidifiers that are designed to keep down humidity levels in these mold-prone areas. Also, modern building science has established that the best way to maintain a trouble-free crawl space is by encapsulating it. 

Of course, you can’t encapsulate an attic. Rafter and soffit vents are necessary to maintain air flow. In the winter, it is especially important to have cold air enter the attic to prevent ice damming, where snow melts from a too-warm roof and re-freezes at the gutters. In the summer, a well-vented attic moves out hot, humid air, protecting roof shingles and removing moisture. Attics fans assist natural ventilation by drawing in cooler air from the attic vents and pushing hot air outside.




With this home, using our Mold Exterm mold treatment and prevention system, we first treated the affected areas by applying our EPA-registered anti-microbial using electrostatic fogging, which kills any surface mold as well as any airborne mold spores. We then applied our patented polymer sealant, also using electrostatic fogging. This unique sealant is available only to authorized pest control operators licensed to apply chemical products inside structures. While completely safe and non-toxic to people, this sealant destroys mold at the cellular level. Any mold we treat is rendered inert, harmless, and non-allergenic. The sealant is also moisture-sensitive and reactivates to prevent the return of any new mold growth in the treated areas. In other words, the sealant not only kills today’s mold growth; it stops tomorrow’s growth as well 

We were able to treat the mold is less than a day. The homeowner avoided extensive renovations since no building materials were removed, and there was no need for the family to relocate. With our process, we treat and kill the mold right in its tracks. By avoiding tear-outs of building materials that have no loss of structural integrity, we also avoid disrupting the mold and inadvertently disbursing mold spores to reattach elsewhere. The homeowner was worried that removal of the mold would require major reconstruction. Needless to say, he could not have been more pleased with the efficiency and effectiveness of our Mold Solutions service. 

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We serve the following areas

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Our Locations:

Mold Solutions by Cowleys
1145 NJ-33
Suite #1
Farmingdale, NJ 07727