Mold Cleanup in attic (encapsulate or not?) (disinfect or not...and with what?)

My attic has mold growing on the roof sheathing. I've been reading up about mold cleanup/remediation on the internet, and it seems that everybody has a different idea of what approach is the best.
My attic is 1000 square feet of crawl space. So far I only have one estimate for $3750, which includes cleaning with an alkaline detergent, and applying a wide-spectrum fungicide such as Fosters 40-80 or Microban Plus. They then plan on then encapsulating the ceiling with an antimicrobial sealer paint, such as Fosters 40-20.
The EPA guidelines seem to be saying that use of a disinfectant or biocide (such as chlorine bleach, or a fungicide) is *not* ordinarily recommended for mold remediation. In other words, the EPA seems to be just recommending that the surface be cleaned with a detergent.
On the interenet, some mold-related web sites claim that disinfecting with chlorine bleach is of benefit, while other websites recommend the use "EPA registered fungicide" is the best approach.
I'm not against using a fungicide in addition to having first scrubbed with an alkaline detergent. Does this sound reasonable?
I question whether encapsulation with an anti-microbial sealer (a white paint) is going to be the ideal approach. While I realize that the idea is to protect the wood, I fear there may be chance that the sealer paint could easily flake off, and be ineffective, if there are any traces of mold left on the wood. Painting with a sealer paint (instead of just scrubbing and applying a fungicide) likely adds significantly to the cost, and is one of the reasons the estimate is so high ($3750) . I'm planning on selling my house soon, and don't want spend any more than is necessary, so unless the majority here feel that using a sealer paint is going to be of actual benefit, then I may opt simply to have the attic scrubbed with a detergent and then have a fungicide applied. What do you think?
What are your thoughts about the best and most cost effective approach? (besides doing the job myself, which is not the plan). I'm located in NJ.
NOTE: I do plan on having soffit vents installed to improve the attic ventilation.
Thanks.
Jeff
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
jeff wrote:

Not all mold is a problem, but some of it is a serious problem and some people are much more sensitive than others.
Correcting a ventilation problem as you plan is the most important part of the plan.
As for the treatment of the molded area, I would say that would depend on the sensitivity of those around and just how bad it may be. The estimate you have seems to be an overkill to me for most situations and just about right if you have family experiencing health problems.
I think much of the differences in opinions are not real disagreements, but rather choices. One choice, if no one is having problems, is to do just the vent corrections. Remember that the attic air should not be mixing with your living space air. Once the moisture is corrected the mold will die out in time.
Get another estimate.
--
Joseph E. Meehan

26 + 6 = 1 It's Irish Math
  Click to see the full signature.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Get a garden sprayer and spray it with bleach a few aplications will kill it and it will be gone. And correct your venting
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
First, not all mold is toxic.
Spraying or washing with chlorine bleach is a most effective way of killing mold. Along with doing that it is imperative to remove the conditions that gave rise to the mold in the first place. If this is done then a fungicide may or may not be needed. It won't hurt but how much good it does is questionable.
The biggest problem since you plan to sell is that you now must disclose the prior incidence of mold to all prospective buyers. You will need to prove that it has been remediated or know that when a home inspection is done no mold is found. Finding a home inspector that knows good mold from bad will be a problem.
RB
jeff wrote:

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

You didn't say *why* your sheathing is moldy or how extensive the problem is. That's an issue as -- and possibly more -- important as the mold itself. You can spend all the money or elbow grease you want on remediation, but until someone identifies and eliminates the moisture source, you're chasing good money after bad.
I think the answer to how far one should or needs to go depends on how significant the mold problem is and the kind of materials the mold is affecting. And this could be why one (including me) could take the EPA's recommendation that bleach or fungicide not be used to mean that in some cases, they're not acceptable solutions because stuff like bleach only reaches surface mold. If the mold is very deeply ingrained into porous materials (especially wood), it will return eventually -- especially if you haven't eliminated the moisture (including high humidity) that caused it in the first place, and you'll just find yourself back where you started. Sealer paint with fungicide isn't a permanent solution in and of itself because the fungicide doesn't last forever; unless the source of the moisture isn't eliminated, in several years you'll just end up with moldy sealer paint (and mold does in fact like paint, too). Sealer paint (just like regular paint) protects mainly from bad stuff outside getting in, not bad stuff already inside getting out -- and again, especially so if you haven't eliminated the root cause of the moisture first. Don't forget, you'd only able to paint one side of all that sheathing; the other side would still remain naked wood and susceptible to moisture damage that comes from a bad roof.
I'd also be careful of the "not spending more than I have to" idea because as a home seller, that sort of notion has the very real potential to all sorts of future legal liabilities for you. Because you have to disclose the problem to your future buyer, you're on the hook for doing the remediation and roof repairs *right* and permanent, not what's most convenient for your wallet at the moment. That could even extend to replacing the sheathing and overlying roofing if the underlying problem is significant enough.
AJS
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Jeff,
I have/had the same situation. The previous owners had the attic insulation covering the few soffit vents that were there. Several months after we moved in I moved the insulation back and found the mold. I did several of those mail in mold test kits and didn't find any of the "toxic mold".
I had a few estimates and the usual "hard sells". One of the companies I believe was from NJ.
The Fosters disinfectant (40-80) and encasement paint (40-20) seem to be the industry standard. Hundreds of companies now sell "MOLD Killing" products. Be sure to only use a product that is "EPA Registered"
In the end I decided to do the remediation myself. Like you, we plan on selling in the future so I felt the best way to fix the problem is to do the remediation myself and spend the 3-5k on adding additional soffit vents and replacing the roof and plywood sheathing. I believe that is the best action to take since you need to disclose the problem was present.
I used the fiberlock EPA Registered disinfectant and encasement paint:
http://www.fiberlock.com/800600/gr/mrp.htm
You can buy the fiberlock and Fosters products at http://www.jondon.com /
Mold is something you definitely don't want to have growing in you home but the recent "MOLD Hysteria" is getting out of hand.
You are probably in the same situation as me. I was more concerned about how this hurts my resale value than the supposed health problems caused by the mold.
If you are going to do the remediation yourself do it before it get too warm. I had to do the remediation in August and I sweat off nearly 10 lbs. that week.
I am also thinking about spraying the entire attic space with "radiant barrier paint" to have the whole attic space painted. I don't believe that paint actually works well as a radiant barrier but it is another plus when selling (who wants to see a half-painted attic).
Good Luck.
Joe
wrote:

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
(snip)

(snip)
I'm no fan of mold myself, and I agree -- but to a certain extent. Mold in any form or quantity is indeed enough for any homeowner anywhere to get very concerned about because it indicates a significant moisture problem that needs repair, but not hysterical over unless the moisture problem that in turn caused the mold problem has made your house structurally unsound. Then it becomes a whole new ballgame.
I think the term "toxic mold" is getting dragged around way too much (and perpetuated by a TV and radio media that have reduced itself to living by the 1-minute sound bite) and causing more alarm for regular folk than is necessary because different people have different tolerances to all sorts of substances, including mold -- even the "non-toxic" sort. But even so, even the "non-toxic" sort can cause all sorts of health problems in otherwise healthy people if you live with it long enough while it just continues to grow.
Before we gutted and rehabbed our seeping basment which we discovered was LOADED with black mold hidden behind false walls and drwall, paneling and insulaton, my wife (who has various allergies and has a touch of asthma) spent a good bit of time wheezing, coughing, sneezing, etc. I, on the other hand, spent years sitting in the middle of it like it wasn't there. Just like people sat for years without problem in schools and public buildings with asbestos-based tile and pipe insulation. All of a sudden, the media got hysterical over the mere idea of asbestos, and building administrators all over the place got hysterical and started having it ripped out (thus having the air spread it all over the place) -- without realizing that the best thing to do about asbestos is to just leave it alone until you *have* to replace it during the course of normal building maintenance or rehab.
I think what may be adding to the whole confusion is that (I think anyway) when it comes to referring to the info by the EPA, remediating mold in your house doesn't carry the same weight as remediating mold in public buildings, and a large part of it is because the exposure or potential for it is excessively greater in public buildings. So public buildings loaded with the stuff require stronger substances and remediation/removal measures than would your house, where a good bleach-and-scrub is quite often all that's needed.
A little paranoia is often a good thing for homeowners because it often prevents problems from occurring in the future, but there's a big difference between paranoia and panic.
AJS
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Bleach just kills the mold, you just need mild soap and a brush to remove it. I wouldn't paint over it as that would lead to questions and likely more problems.
If you are actually considering a $3700 remediation job, might be cheaper just to replace the entire roof. I had my shingles replaced, and found about 10 sheets of plywood with moisture damage. Roofer only charged $25-$30/sheet on top of the whole job estimate to replace these sheets.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
jeff i run a lab that id's mold in homes, offices, food prep, etc (among other things) for 18yrs. several insur companies and cleanup companies use my services for this stuff. for another reference = not EPA/they are idiots -> proper procedures from mold cleanup were best written by NYC Health Dept. avail on the net somewhere....which ended up saying things i've been preaching for yrs. if your mold is green/black/white/turquois & fuzzy it is active. if hard and black like charcoal dust it is dormant = sclerotic stage. dormant means it happened at another time and is waiting and ready to start again. it is not dead. it will not die. it will wait for water and then bloom. now or in 10 yrs! anyway 1st up. your est sounds like its normal for full attic job. 2nd up. alkaline cleaners are not very efficient at mold and they damage wood. bleach does NOT kill mold spores. really nothing much does. also bleach is only a disinfectant @ 0.1% solution, pH ~ 6-6.5. strong alks and bleach make it look nice but does NOT kill it. 3rd up. your mold is because of a humidity problem. fix it!!! more ventilation. repair roof if necess. rerout all bathroom vents, dryer vents, sewer vents out of attic. add vents or fans. more moisture = more mold. period. even if sealed. 4th. cleanup procedure use detergent with quaternary ammonium compound cleaners diluted to proper ratio. clean all visible black crap. replace what u can. do not drip into the insulation. (the insulation will contain more spores ready to go dont make it worse) use a rinse procedure too. catch all wash and rinse fluids and remove. do not dry sand as it will spread. DRY IT ALL thoroughly!!! a sealing paint with antifungal additives can help but only if all others are done and moisture source removed. wear protective clothing/mask/goggles if the job is large or bad. be aware that chronic exposure to molds can and will cause allergies. i developed allergies from mold after age 35 from constant exposre (say yes to MI!).
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

HomeOwnersHub.com is a website for homeowners and building and maintenance pros. It is not affiliated with any of the manufacturers or service providers discussed here. All logos and trade names are the property of their respective owners.