Can a Leaky Roof Cause Mold?

Jul 16, 2019

If you’re like most homeowners, you know that your roof should perform for years – but what if something goes terribly wrong? Can a leaky roof cause mold, and if it does, what can you do about it?

Here’s the inside scoop.

Can a Roof Leak Cause Mold?

A roof leak can cause two separate types of mold growth: systemic and limited. Both can be hazardous to your health (more on that later), and both are definitely emergencies.

Systemic mold growth occurs when a leaking roof lets in so much moisture that mold can thrive in your attic. The mold will spread everywhere, and it’s incredibly hard to eradicate.

Limited mold growth occurs when your attic is vented well enough to prevent condensation, so moisture only builds up near the leak. The mold that grows stays in a smaller space, so it’s easier to get rid of than systemic mold growth is.

Related: The 5 most common roofing problems

How Long Does It Take for Mold to Grow Because of a Leaking Roof?

Any roof leak can lead to mold growth after just a few days, especially if your attic is poorly vented. Mold spores are in the air everywhere, but in order for them to take hold, the right conditions have to be present. Those conditions include moisture and food – and mold thrives on any organic matter, including wood. As soon as water begins to stagnate, mold spores latch on to the damp area and start growing.

Mold and Health Issues Leaky Roof Leads to Mold - High Performance Restoration

Mold has been linked to several health issues, including the development of asthma in otherwise healthy people. The elderly and very small children are most susceptible to the health issues mold can cause, as are people with compromised immune systems.

If a leaky roof causes mold growth in your attic or elsewhere in your home, these are some of the symptoms you might experience:

  • Asthma-like symptoms
  • Coughing and wheezing
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Nasal stuffiness
  • Skin irritation
  • Throat irritation
  • Respiratory infections

People who have mold allergies often have more severe reactions. So do people with chronic lung problems.

Related: 3 problems you need professional roofing contractors to handle

How to Spot Mold in Your Attic

In many cases, you can smell mold if it’s growing in your attic. However, you can usually see it, too.

Mold can be a variety of colors, including white, green, brown, gray or black. Sometimes it’s a mixture of several colors. Often, it forms spots and streaks that you can see on wood, inside insulation or on ceiling materials.

Some molds are more dangerous than others, but unless you’re a certified mold remediation expert, you shouldn’t try to remove it yourself – even if you think it’s relatively harmless. Stirring up mold when you’re trying to remove it can be really dangerous to your health.

Can You Prevent Mold From Growing in Your Attic?

Mold thrives in humid conditions, so if your attic isn’t vented properly, it may be a ticking time bomb. For most people who are concerned about mold growth, a roof inspection (you can get one free here) is a good idea – the inspector will be able to check the vents on your roof to make sure they’re promoting good air flow.

You can also prevent mold by repairing leaky roofs immediately. The sooner you address a leak, the better off you’ll be – and the lower your chance of growing a mold colony will be, too.

Related: 5 roofing emergencies you need to know about

Do You Need a Free Roof Inspection?

Experts recommend having your roof inspected at least once a year, particularly if there’s been a big storm or you suspect there’s something wrong. We’ll be happy to provide you with a completely free roof inspection – just let us know when and where to show up and we’ll create a detailed report that shows you whether your roof needs a little extra TLC.

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