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Wood Decay Fungi

Attic Mold Remediation - Use ANSI Standards as a Guide

While there is little regulation of the mold remediation industry in the U.S., keep in mind that there are standards that are based on solid science and are recommended, but they are not required. Many mold professionals say they use these standards, however, it’s important to know these procedural standards before hiring a mold remediation contractor. We find most Mold remediation / Water Restoration companies in Bellevue, WA area don't follow any standards and don't even have a scope of work in place.

Here’s more on that standard, including new changes that are worthwhile to know.

  • Wood Decay Fungi ( wood rot), are filamentous organisms that begin as microscopic spores that land on the surface of the wood and germinate to produce thin strand-like cells called hyphae. Hyphae grow through the wood and secrete enzymes that degrade and weaken the wood.

Decay requires: 

  1. adequate moisture
  2. ambient temperature (32º to 110º)
  3. oxygen
  4. a food source.

Wood moisture levels above 20-30% are considered conducive to wood fungal rot. Damaged wood typically will need to be replaced. Ultimately the source of moisture must be eliminated even if all of the fungal organisms cannot be eliminated.

Common types of wood decay in buildings:

  • Brown rot: This type of decay causes the wood to break down into brown cubes that split against the grain. Advanced stages of brown decay result in dry, powdery wood that is unable to support much weight and crumbles easily.
  • White rot: This type of decay appears whitish, stringy, and mushy, and tends to be more common in hardwoods.
  • Dry rot: A misnomer, this term has been used to describe decayed wood that has since dried and ceased decaying. Some people may erroneously assume that the wood is still in the process of decay. Moisture is required for wood decay to occur, so no literal “dry rot” exists.
  • Wet Rot: The two types of wet rot, brown and white can both be destructive to timber, they have a different effect on the wood depending upon the type. Generally, brown rots cause cuboidal cracking & shrinkage of the timber whilst white rots tend to reduce the timber to a stringy, fibrous texture. 

There are other things associated with wood decay such as mold. Although mold doesn't require moisture levels to be at the levels of decay it still can cause serious repair expenses and health issues. 

This is a concern for Attic moisture. Common issues with roof sheathing are wood rot due to poor building air sealing which contributes to condensation in colder months allowing the roof sheathing to reach dew point and cause mold.

What to ask the Mold Company:

  • Are the Treatment Chemicals EPA Approved?
  • What is expected for the Clearance Test?
  • Was toxic mold present?