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The growth and spread of mold is a serious concern for many New England homeowners, especially in the spring and summer months when rain and humidity are at a seasonal high. Since mold is typically a symptom of water-related damages, it’s important to maintain your home’s structural health and ensure any leaks in your roof are quickly patched, as waiting too long can leave you vulnerable to high repair costs and negative health effects. Old homes and commercial properties are particularly susceptible to this sort of natural hazard, so be sure to schedule a roof inspection with a licensed contractor before your mold problems get out of hand. The best way to prevent mold from taking over your attic is to learn about the specific conditions that support widespread growth and keep an eye out for the warning signs.

What causes mold growth?

Molds flourish in warm, damp and humid conditions, and spread by releasing spores into the surrounding environment. They grow in poorly ventilated basements, attics, and crawl spaces that are filled with excess moisture, and tend to develop on wood or drywall surfaces that have absorbed too much water. Mold growth is relatively easy to spot, appearing as black, brown or dark-green blotches that give off a musty smell. According to the Centers for Diseases Control, there are four common types of indoor mold: penicillium, aspergillus, cladosporium and alternaria. While each has it own specific characteristics, they’re often caused by similar home maintenance issues and natural hazards, including:

  • Hurricanes, heavy rainstorms and flooding
  • Poor drainage and groundwater management
  • Leaky dishwashers, water heaters and washing machines
  • Cracked pipes and plumbing fixtures
  • Missing or damaged roof shingles

Mold spores can survive in harsh conditions that would not otherwise support normal growth (such as cold or dry environments), which is why proactive maintenance is essential to long-term prevention.

Rotting interior roof

Why mold is dangerous

Mold can spread extremely fast in favorable habitats, meaning your attic could be overrun in a short amount of time. While it’s true that mold does not cause too much damage to building materials, it’s often associated to the development of wood deca, commonly called “dry rot”.  This type of fungus decay deteriorates wood and reduces its strength over time. If dry rot becomes widespread, it can force you to repair or rebuild your home’s major support structures and its roof.

While mold may only pose a minor risk to your home’s structural integrity, it can be a major threat to your health, as prolonged exposure can lead to severe respiratory problems. In most cases, homeowners experience mild symptoms, including wheezing, red or itchy eyes, irritated skin and/or a stuffy nose. However, those with mold allergies and asthma often have more intense reactions, from a fever and shortness of breath to anaphylactic shock. Even small scale outbreaks can significantly reduce indoor air quality, so it’s to catch mold in the early stages of its growth.

How to prevent mold from taking over your home

The surest way to avoid a mold outbreak is to maintain your home’s long-term upkeep and quickly respond to signs of water damage. If you notice water pooling in your basement or on your roof, it’s important to take corrective actions as soon as possible. Checking your attic for leaks is another great way to ward off mold growth, as a well-insulated roof is one of the most effective safeguards against this costly hazard. Keep in mind, professional mold remediation typically ranges from $500 to $6,000 on average, though severe outbreaks can lead to tens of thousands in repairs and property damage.

According to the CDC, the following strategies can help you control moisture levels in your home and avoid mold from developing:

  • Ensure your home’s humidity level stays between 30% and 60%
  • Replace missing, warped or broken shingles
  • Inspect your hoses, pipes and fittings on a regular basis
  • Clean humid rooms using bleach or a mold-killing product
  • Apply mold inhibitors to your walls, window frames and ceiling paints
  • Regularly inspect your hoses, pipes and fittings
  • Replace old or leaky home appliances

Proactive roof maintenance is particularly crucial for old or refurbished homes, such as those located in residential areas like Newton, Wellesley and Norwood. While Massachusetts is renowned for its historical landmarks, the humid summers make homes in this region a perfect incubator for indoor mold. If you’re concerned about your roof’s condition, it may be a good idea to schedule a thorough inspection by a licensed roofing contractor – calling in an expert can help you identify vulnerabilities you might have overlooked and may save you money on future replacement costs.

Flynn Roofing has helped families and commercial property owners around Massachusetts evaluate the health of their roof and resolve issues that could have led to a mold outbreak. Our team of roofing professionals operates across Eastern Massachusetts, from Scituate and Norwell to Jamaica Plain and South Boston, so don’t hesitate to lean on our regional experience.

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