Rachel Z
Rachel Z
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Asked on Feb 27, 2012

Our upstairs tends to get damp and cold easily. How do we fix this? Access to attic is through bedroom.

FloorNerdWoodbridge Environmental Tiptophouse.comRachel Z
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Answered

20 answers
  • You might need to add some insulation to that attic area. What sort of heating do you have in the house, and the upstairs specifically?

  • Rachel Z
    on Feb 27, 2012

    This house is not insulated well. There is no heating upstairs. It's more like a loft area. There is a heater that blows air up the stairs but otherwise nothing upstairs. Personally I cannot see any insulation in the attic area. If there is it's hidden from view.

  • In that case adding in the insulation to that upstairs area would be my starting place. After that I would look into getting some real heating up there. Do the insulation first, otherwise any heating you install will just leak out to fast to be of any worth, which would just make it a money waster.

  • Rachel Z
    on Feb 27, 2012

    I should mention there are ceiling tiles in the bedroom instead of a regular ceiling. Would it be wise to keep them or toss them? I notice black dirt falling from these tiles on occasion. I have my suspicions that this could very well be black mold. I've added pics of the ceiling tiles to show what I mean.

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  • Susan S
    on Feb 28, 2012

    Sweetie - when I zoomed your picture it sure looked like some kind of "fur" sticking out between those tiles. When was the last time you actually went up there? You might have some critters making their home in your attic. As to black dirt sifting down - mold doesn't usually do that. Also sounds like you need to add some insulation in attic. Think I would go up there (or have someone brave do it) to check out what's going on. If it is mold you gotta problem and it's best left to the pros. You & your family don't need to be breathing mold spores if you stir them up.

  • Rachel there is no such thing as Black Mold. But you could have mold none the less. It appears that moisture was present in which stained the tiles. This moisture can be the result of condensation from to much humidity within the home along with a ceiling/attic area that is not properly insulated or air sealed. Can you provide photos of the attic area? How old is the home? Style construction if you know? When doing insulation, you always first do air sealing then insulate 2nd. Air moving through fiberglass insulation removes its ability to trap air in fibers allowing the heat to be drawn out of the home. This results in poor indoor air quality issues and high energy bills.

  • Rachel Z
    on Feb 28, 2012

    That is alone the outside of the walls of the home, not necessarily near the attic. This house is very old. The previous owners bought it in the 50s and it didn't have a bathroom at all, still had the outhouse...so I'm assuming it's very old. We often scratch our heads when we investigate certain things in the house lol. There's no lighting in the attic so I tried to take pics of the attic with a flashlight... :( I know the roof leaked at one point but was fixed...but think everything needs to be redone as far as insulation in the attic. I've attached a pic of the door to the attic, and one of the current insulation in the wall of the attic, and the roof of the attack.

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  • What I see is old insulation that appears to be quite dirty. This is an indication of dust collection. This dust is the result of air movement in the attic area. also from what I can tell of the roof area it appears that there is stains or blacking of the wood? This is a sign of moisture being trapped within the attic. Both of these items can result in the complaints that your experiencing in the home. There is tons of things you can do to make this much better and many of these items are something a home owner can do on their own. I will email you all sorts of things that you can do if you contact me with your email address. Bob

  • FloorNerd
    on Feb 29, 2012

    How's the plywood on the roof? Shingles, Soffits, all need to be really checked well. How old is the roof?

  • If this is an older house in PA...you're probably seeing alot of old coal soot.

  • Terri J
    on Feb 29, 2012

    Rachel, just as a very temporary means to keep the cold from coming thru your attic access, have you considered taping plastic (similar to what they use for windows) over the access. I really do mean a VERY Temporary solution until you can get it fixed? The cost would be about $10.00, but at least you would be warmer.

  • Terri J is on to something. Air movement is the biggest robber of heat. When we do energy audits that is the major issue that always needs correction in most homes. As Terri said, putting plastic on the door for a temporary aid may offer some help. But you must be careful not to trap moisture when doing so.

  • Rachel Z
    on Mar 1, 2012

    Thanks for all the tips...very much appreciated! I will try the plastic on the attic door.

  • Rachel Z
    on Mar 1, 2012

    Ok well I was in the back shed getting some plastic. I came in and wanted to check out my closet, where the tiny door to the attic is. There isn't a wall! Dude serious...there's this plastic covering the wall with this cardboard/paper layer on the back side of the plastic. Behind that? I dunno...board planks. Not any type of plaster or anything resembling what we would use now to create a wall! I don't know what's on the other side of the wood planks but I seriously doubt that it's any type of insulation!

  • FloorNerd
    on Mar 1, 2012

    So beyond the insulation you have a plastic, then what color is the paper red, black? Could be asfault

  • FloorNerd
    on Mar 1, 2012

    Paper then your outside wall. Put the plastic over the insulation leave all that's there.

  • Rachel Z
    on Mar 2, 2012

    NO there's no insulation whatsoever. There's like a plastic wallpaper (backing is a brown paper) and then the wood planks. That's it. Nothing else.

  • Rachel Z
    on Mar 2, 2012

    Sorry...here are some pics. The first is my closet and the second is when I peel back the wallpaper.

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  • Rachel, when taking photos with camera phone or any camera for that matter, the flashlight should be not focused directly onto the subject as it washes out all the photo.

  • FloorNerd
    on Mar 2, 2012

    Correct bring a lamp in there and make shore it's not Infront of the camera when shooting.

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