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Mold in Attic

Terence McCann

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In the attached picture you can see mold on the roof sheathing (the picture doesn't do it justice, it was loaded). My question is about the grey paint that was applied, is it paint or is there a product out there that's applied to combat mold that is grey in color. I checked for signs of fire, none were present.


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Hi Terry,

Unless I'd seen surface bloom with mold colony spread patterns, I don't think I would have called it mold at all and would have simply termed it mildew or fungal growth. Mildew and mold are both a type of fungi, not good for the roofing and, as you know, caused by excess moisture in the attic, but I think calling sheething mildew "mold" only contributes to this bizarre mold paranoia that we're seeing.

Don't get me wrong, I do see attic mold occasionally. I saw some over the weekend. It covered about 85% of the underside of a roof and looked like that attic was competing with an adolescent boy to see which could develop better peach fuzz. I just think we in this profession need to exhibit more restraint in how we describe this stuff, lest we bolster the "mold is gold" folks' credibility with the public.

Your question went to the paint. It looks like it could be pigmented shallac (B.I.N.) or Kilz, a pigmented shellac substitute, but it might be something like Zinsser's Shield® which is a special primer used to seal mildew prior to painting with special mildew resistant paint. Then again, it might be ordinary white primer.

There's this belief out there that pigmented shellac somehow stops mold and mildew when all it does is perform a stain-blocking mission. Whoever did this probably thought they were stopping the spread of that organism. It won't work. They need to kill it. For that, borates, specifically BoraCare®, are ideally suited. Of course, now that someone has applied a surface sealant to that sheathing and framing, I'm not even certain that BoraCare will be able to reach the wood, diffuse into it and do its thing.

Sorry if I sounded preachy about the discoloration, I'm just fed up with everyone running around screaming mold at the slightest discoloration seen anymore. I was in the orange box the other day and I heard a fellow chastising one of the HD guys for selling toxic mold-infested lumber to customers. I walked over to see what he was talking about. He was pointing to a piece of lumber that had one spot of pocket rot and a few streaks of wood blight discoloration in the grain of the wood. It is perfectly harmless and before the media began screaming "toxic mold" everywhere nobody would have given it a second thought.

I had to force myself not to say something that probably would have gotten me thrown out of the store, or, worse yet, from slapping the guy for being stupid in public.

Bah, friggin media reporters and their "toxic" mold hype.



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Originally posted by kurt

It is kind of funny that black mildew in the attic is now causing such a ruckus. Stuff that used to barely get talked about now ends up getting the half hour discussion.

I wonder how the people who live in Venice feel about our mold-fever in this country.

- Jim Katen, Oregon

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