Water damage anywhere can cause issues, but attic water damage can create an excessive headache and stress for a homeowner. Most homeowners rarely go into their attics, so oftentimes roof leaks and excessive moisture go unnoticed until it’s too late. When issues go undetected, they get worse and can compromise the structural integrity of the home and even cause a mold outbreak.
How to Prevent Attic Water Damage
The key to preventing attic water damage requires some work on the homeowners. Like any other area of the house, an attic should be properly maintained and inspected regularly. The main source of water damage for an attic is a problematic roof, so that should be the primary area of focus to prevent water damage. Here are several ways to prevent attic water damage:
- Keep Your Roof in Good Condition: As the adage goes, out of sight, out of mind. Many homeowners ignore their roofs simply because it does not cross their minds to keep them in good condition. A roof is the first line of defense from the elements for your home, and over time, it can degrade and wear down. A roofing contractor can help homeowners with routine maintenance to ensure the health of the roof. Regular inspections can help you stay ahead of any issues.
- Repair Roof Damage: As soon as you discover any failures in the roof, whether it’s a missing shingle or damaged flashing, have it repaired immediately. If you hired a roofing contractor for an inspection, they would likely recommend minor and major improvements to get your roof back in shape.
- Ventilate the Attic: In addition to failures in the structure of the roof, attic water damage can be caused by poor ventilation. Without adequate ventilation, warm, moist air can get trapped in the attic and lead to mold issues.
- Insulate the Attic: The proper attic insulation can not only help keep your home warm in the winter and cool in the summer, but it can also reduce the risk of water damage in an attic. The proper insulation for an attic should be thick, soft, and dry. If your attic’s insulation is thin and flat, it can result in high levels of moisture.
- Check Appliance Ventilation: Do you know where your appliances are vented? Any appliances in your home should be vented to the outside, and not into the attic. If your appliances vent into the attic, it can push moisture into the space and lead to issues. Venting appliances to the attic can also increase the attic temperature and create ideal conditions for mold growth.
- Regularly Clean Gutters: No one likes to clean the gutters, but it is an important maintenance task to prevent water damage to a home. Overflowing gutters can push water into an attic.
- Trim Your Trees: Trees that are located near your home should be trimmed regularly. Broken limbs, twigs, and other debris from a tree can cause damage to a roof, and eventually, the attic.
Even with proper roof maintenance, sometimes a large storm or other weather emergencies can cause roof leaks that lead to attic damage. If you’ve experienced water damage at your home, do you know what to do? An emergency restoration services company can assist you if the water damage is severe, and there are also things you can do yourself if you discover water damage in your attic.
What to Do If You Discover Water Damage
If you’ve discovered water damage in your attic, you should act quickly to prevent further damage and prevent mold from growing in the space. The longer you wait to start repairs, the more costly the project can become. Take the following steps to address the issue in your water damaged attic:
- Assess the damage: Before attempting any repairs, try to discover the extent of the water damage and how it occurred. Is there a hole in the roof? Are your appliances not ventilating outside the home? Check to see how extensive the damage is as well. Is it contained in one specific area? Is the water damage spread across the entire attic? Knowing what you are facing for repairs is the first step in fixing a water-damaged attic.
- Address any leaks: Most likely the water damage in your attic was caused by a leak. Unless you are experienced in roof or home repair, you may want to hire a professional to fix the leaks for you. Fixing the leaks the first time can save you from having to pay for additional repairs down the road.
- Begin attic repairs: Once the leaks have been addressed, you will want to repair any damaged areas in the attic. Some common repairs that are needed after a water leak in the attic include the replacement of structural components (floorboards, structural beams) and plumbing components. You may also need to have your electrical components replaced if the water damaged light sockets or fixtures. Don’t forget the insulation, too. If your attic insulation became wet, it can lose its effectiveness and can be a source for mold growth.
- Clean the attic: After you’ve finished the repairs, you should thoroughly clean the attic space. Remove damaged items and wipe down surfaces with a mixture of bleach and water. This will help prevent mold growth.
Fixing a water-damaged attic can be time-consuming and labor-intensive. Hiring a professional restoration company can help you tackle the job quickly.
Attic Mold Concerns
Attic mold is very common after a water leak. A damp attic is an ideal environment for mold growth. Mold needs warm, damp spaces to thrive, which is why molds develop in attics, basements, and bathrooms. Areas of a home that are “out of sight” such as an attic can be problematic.
Mold growing in the attic typically doesn’t stay up in the attic. Mold can easily travel to other areas of the home and eventually cause damages to other areas of the house. Mold can also cause health issues for the home occupants, so it should be addressed immediately.
If you’ve found mold in your attic, there are ways to safely remove it yourself, or you can hire a professional mold remediation company to address the issue. Some of the common ways to remove mold include:
- Bleach: Standard bleach works to kill and destroy mold. Mix one cup bleach with one gallon of water and apply to non-porous surfaces. Do not mix bleach with any other chemicals – this can be extremely dangerous.
- Hydrogen peroxide: You can use hydrogen peroxide to remove mold. To remove mold with 3% hydrogen peroxide, use a spray bottle to cover the affected area.
- White vinegar: White vinegar works well to kill and clean mold. Fill a spray bottle with white vinegar and spray the affected area. You do not have to dilute white vinegar. After application, let the vinegar sit for at least one hour. After one hour, rinse the area with clean, warm water and apply one more treatment. You can let the last application dry completely and do not need to wipe it down.
- Baking soda: Mix two parts of baking soda with one part of water and vinegar to create a paste. As with other methods, apply directly to the affected area and let it dry. Once it is dry, use a scrub brush to remove the solution. Finish by wiping the treated spot clean with warm, soapy water.
If you’ve discovered mold in your attic, it’s important to take care of the issue so it doesn’t cause more problems. If removing mold yourself, be sure to wear the proper protective equipment to protect yourself. Wear gloves, a mask, and goggles to protect your respiratory system and skin. Professional mold remediation companies have the proper tools to do the job for you, too.
Water and Mold Remediation in Harrisburg, Pa., Philadelphia, Pa., and Baltimore, Md.
Reynolds Restoration Services has more than 15 years of experience helping home and business owners address water damage and mold issues. With offices in Baltimore, Harrisburg, and Philadelphia, our certified and trained team can be on-site within hours of an emergency. We are on-call 24/7 and have the equipment needed to help restore your home to its pre-loss condition. If your attic water damage is more than you can handle on your own, we are here to help.
While we hope you don’t need an emergency restoration services contractor like us, we are here when you need us. Contact us today!