Case Studies

Mold Solutions by Cowleys Case Studies: Roof leak is the suspect in attic mold - Attic mold removal and control in Metuchen, NJ

Thursday, September 8th, 2016 by Bill Cowley


The Mold Solutions By Cowleys team was sent to a home in Metuchen, a borough in Middlesex County, about five miles from New Brunswick. The homeowner contacted Cowleys after finding extensive mold growth in the back half of her attic. Mold is most commonly found in basements and crawl spaces where there is often high humidity and the potential of all sorts of water intrusions from flooding and groundwater seepage through foundation cracks to leaky pipes. However, as shown by the mold growth in this Metuchen home, attics can also be a mold trouble spot as well. Just like in basements and crawl spaces, mold will grow in attics with consistently high relative humidity levels or, as I believe what happened in this home, a significant water intrusion from a roof leak. Although the roof leak had been repaired, the problem was that because of poor attic ventilation, mold had formed and colonized on the water-saturated wood. 


Our Mold Treatment Process

We first treated the entire attic by applying our EPA-registered anti-microbial (MAPS 1) to kill any surface mold as well as any airborne mold spores. Next, we took our our heavy-duty scrub brushes and scrubbed off every square inch of mold that we could. Even though the mold is dead from the anti-microbial, mold stains are unsightly and, especially when it comes time to sell the home, the attic should be looking in tip-top shape. After, we applied our patented polymer sealant (MAPS 2). This unique sealant is available only to authorized pest control operators licensed to apply chemical products inside structures. While completely safe and non-toxic, 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. The beauty of this sealant, and what makes it unique in the market, is that it not only kills today’s mold growth, but will stop any future mold growth as well.

Ensuring Good Air Circulation in the Attic

Soffits and gables have built-in vents that allow proper air circulation in the attic, which is critical for preventing moisture buildup. During there summer, these vents draw cooler air from outside the house to replace the hot air collecting in the attic. Moist, humid air escapes, which prevent water vapor from collecting on roof sheathing and rafters. If a moisture problem is not addressed, it will eventually rot wood and trigger mold growth. Also, the super-heated air inside the attic can warp and damage roof shingles. During the winter, attic air flow prevents ice dams from forming on the roof. Blocked soffit vents spell trouble. They will stop airflow and trap humid air, creating an environment perfect for mold growth. While it may seem counter-intuitive, even well-insulated attics must have good air circulation.

With this Metuchen home, we wanted to ensure that the attic maintained good airflow by installing plastic baffles. We placed a baffle in every other rafter bay of the attic. Baffles establish a channel for air to circulate between insulation and the roof sheathing. Baffles, also called wind baffles, venting chutes, rafter vents, or insulation baffles, prevent insulation from restricting air movement, allowing air to circulate under or near insulation.

Baffles are important because wind blowing through soffit vents can disturb insulation, move it out of place, and block the vents, especially with blown loose fiber insulation. Baffles act as screens to separate the insulation from the air currents blowing through the vents. Also, installing baffles will allow you to insulate the entire attic floor space. Without baffles, you must keep the vents clear of insulation, so a portion of the attic stays unprotected.

The Results: No More Mold

Our mold treatment process and patented products killed the mold killed right where it sits, and the installed baffles will ensure good air circulation. This attic now is mold-free in less than a day with no extensive renovations. More importantly, this attic will remain mold-free. Of course, the homeowner needs to periodically inspect the attic for roof leaks and to monitor humidity levels. Also, it is important for homeowners to make sure that the attic fan is in good working condition to draw out hot air and supplement the natural ventilation from the soffit and gable vents.

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