Fungus Amongst Us


I have noticed these little mushroom type looking things growing in my attic where the water is seeping in. Fungus? Part of the mold family? Harmful? I have cleaned up the area with an antibacterial spray but how good is that and what is the proper thing to do to clean up mold? Thank You!
vdough6382 - 10/31/06 7:14 AM

Fungus?  Yes!  Part of the mold family?  Well, it is sort of the other way around (mold is actually part of the fungus family).  But you have bigger things to worry about than whether the chicken came before the egg!

Those mushrooms are a sign that Mother Nature's army of wood destroying organisms is hard at work attacking your roof structure.  Not good!  The solution is a two-fold approach:

1. Fix the Leak.  Wood destroying organisms can only survive when the moisture content goes about 25%.  You need to fix the leaks first.  If you do, these organisms will "switch off" and go dormant.

2. Ventilate, Ventilate, Ventilate.  Most attics don't have enough attic ventilation.  To get yours up to speed, read my post: Drafty Attics are Good.

Small areas of fungus can be cleaned up with a solution of 1/3rd bleach and 2/3rds water.  Be very careful applying this bleach.  You'll need to wear safety glasses, gloves and old clothes, and work cautiously since attics can be unfamiliar territory.  For larger areas, you'll need to contact a pro.  The key here is fixing those leaks.  Once the leaks are gone and the humidity down, there will be no more fungus amongst us!

For more information on dealing with fungus and other members of the mold family, read the books by Jeff May including My House is Killing Me and the Mold Survival Guide, all published by Johns Hopkins University Press.  You'll also find great tips in the Mold Resource Guide on MoneyPit.com.

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