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  1. #1
    Joseph Barth's Avatar
    Joseph Barth Guest

    Default White Powder in Attic

    Found this in the attic. Based on it being on top of several items up there it seems like its either new or getting worse. Not sure what it is but it is at least loose enough to fall from above. Any ideas? Harmful to health?

    Sorry about the link to photobucket but my pictures were too big and the detail is important.

    Pictures by jabarth0 - Photobucket

    The photo of one whole side of the room is on the other "wall" opposite of the close-ups. Any ideas on what it is? Thanks for your help!


    J

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  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Santa Rosa, CA
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    2,479

    Default Re: White Powder in Attic

    That's pretty weird. Looks crystalline. If it wasn't on wood, I would have said efflorescence. Could the roof sheathing have been used as concrete form boards? Wild guess and probably not right.

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  3. #3
    Stephen G's Avatar
    Stephen G Guest

    Default Re: White Powder in Attic

    Joseph, you would do us all a huge favour by narrowing down your location. Stating the The USofA is nice,,,but, to assist in identifying the whites stuff location is gonna help.
    Maybe its salt and you live on the coast and that roof gets real wet...Alaska and its snow, was it snowing


  4. #4
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Location
    Southern Vancouver Island
    Posts
    4,546

    Default Re: White Powder in Attic

    It seems to be moisture related or at least it follows the pattern of the moisture stains.
    What is the roofing, and what kind of shape is the roof in?
    It's an older house. Has there been a recent treatment for moss growth, maybe?

    John Kogel, RHI, BC HI Lic #47455
    www.allsafehome.ca

  5. #5
    Joseph Barth's Avatar
    Joseph Barth Guest

    Default Re: White Powder in Attic

    The house is in central northern PA, and like many of the other buildings here, is very old. I'm guessing 1940's based on a lot of the fixtures. Judging by the shape of the rest of the outside of the house, the roof is likely in not very good condition at all, especially the structuring underneath the shingles. Knowing the owner, I also heavily doubt that ANY treatments have been made to the house, especially the attic, which has been neglected.

    If it helps, it rains a LOT here but beyond the moisture stains it doesn't seem like any actual leaks based on the condition of the flooring. What's odd to me is that it's built up in some areas to the point where it's falling out of the cracks but in others its nowhere to be seen; makes we wonder what the source really is.


  6. #6
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Location
    Southern Vancouver Island
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    4,546

    Default Re: White Powder in Attic

    I am not aware of any mold or mould byproduct that ends up looking like powdered lime.

    I will go out on a limb and say it is not mold.

    John Kogel, RHI, BC HI Lic #47455
    www.allsafehome.ca

  7. #7
    Stephen G's Avatar
    Stephen G Guest

    Default Re: White Powder in Attic

    Back to you Joseph,

    Please send pic, a nice one, of the roof....thanks in advance



    any other exterior shots would help as well


    steve


  8. #8
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    eastpoint fl
    Posts
    48

    Default Re: White Powder in Attic

    It was noted that it seemed to follow the pattern of water in the area that had the water stain. However, is it possible that it is salt that someone tossed on the roof to melt ice? What didnít run off with the melting ice would be hygroscopic, alternately absorbing moisture from the air and baking dry from the hot roof, slowly working itís way through any cranny. This would leave a white, somewhat crystalline powder.
    You could carefully put a little in water and see if it readily dissolves. If not, itís not just salt. If it does, it proves nothing, but if not it disproves the salt idea.
    It could (should) be chemically tested. In the meantime, treat it with respect, and donít touch it with your bare hands, or stir it up and breath it.


  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Location
    Snowbird (this means I'm retired and migrate between locations), FL/MI
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    4,086

    Default Re: White Powder in Attic

    WAG: gyp rock sandwich over/under board sheathing and below metal roofing, unventillated. Another WAG, carpenter bee or other insecticide/pesticide powder puffed in application residue... example rodenticide - ZP tracking powder having contact with water leaves behind zinc oxide (after phos. gas released).What type of roofing material was visable?


  10. #10
    Joseph Barth's Avatar
    Joseph Barth Guest

    Default Re: White Powder in Attic

    Out of town, be back in a few days to test those ideas out!


  11. #11
    Gilles Larin's Avatar
    Gilles Larin Guest

    Default Re: White Powder in Attic

    Weird and difficult to identify. A fellow inspector sent me these photos and I'm wondering if it's not the same condition...

    Any ideas?

    G

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