A mold inspection is a visual and non-intrusive inspection of a building performed by a licensed mold inspector, also known as a mold assessor. The purpose of a mold inspection is to identify and to document any red flags that are present or conditions that could lead to mold growth. If a mold contamination is found, the mold inspector will formulate a hypothesis about its origin, so that he can outline solutions in his mold inspection report.
What is a visual and non-intrusive inspection?
A non-intrusive inspection means that the inspector does not cut or drill into any building materials to look inside walls or ceilings. He tests all the walls for moisture using a moisture meter, and notes anomalies he finds. He takes pictures of red flags to include them in his report, and he takes the temperature and the relative humidity (RH) of the air throughout the building.
What are red flags?
Scope of a mold inspection
A mold inspection can involve the entire home or building, inside and outside, or a particular location within the building. For a single family home the mold inspection may simply involve one room or floor. In the case of an apartment or condominium complex it may involve one or more buildings, a single floor, one apartment/condo, or one or more areas within a single unit. The mold inspector is not required to check the attic or crawlspace. The inspector should discuss with his client the scope and limitations of his mold inspection, verbally and in writing, so that there is no surprises later.
Areas of concern inside the building:
- Windows, doors, sliding doors, and skylights,
- Ceilings, walls, baseboards, and flooring,
- Bathrooms, kitchen, laundry room,
- Hot water heater, water softener, water purifier,
- Around any appliances requiring plumbing,
- Ventilation and exhaust fans (or lack thereof) in bathrooms, kitchen, laundry room, and closets,
- Look inside the air handler(s),
- Note the placement of the HVAC thermostat(s),
- Chimney ceiling area,
- Attics and crawlspaces – not required.
Areas of concern outside the building:
- Grading – ground and decks,
- Cracks in the exterior walls – stucco, siding, EIFS, etc.,
- Pool enclosure or porch affixed to the building,
- Planter box built as part of the building,
- Vegetation less than 2 feet from the building,
- Sprinkler heads less than 2 feet from the building,
- Vines and other plants growing on the building,
- Debris in gutters and on the roof.
Besides conducting a mold inspection, the mold inspector should recommend collecting air samples, even in the absence of red flags. It establishes the air quality of the building in relation to mold, and in some instances, it helps uncover a mold problem.
The authors of this blog are licensed mold assessors and operate in Central Florida.