The question as to when mold testing is warranted is dictated by the goal or objective of the homeowners or building occupants. Many people who call for a mold inspection actually only need mold testing. Once we start asking questions about their objective, 95% of the time we will recommend mold testing over a formal inspection of the entire building.
We recognize that every situation is different and there are times when recommending an inspection makes sense, but most of the time mold testing will provide enough information about the situation, and it is cheaper. Based on the situation and objectives, the mold inspector will recommend various types of mold samples – ambient air samples taken in the middle of the room(s), surface or carpet sample(s), and wall cavity sample in one or more walls
Mold testing, also known as sampling, assesses the air quality at different locations and the degree of the contamination. Air samples will qualify and quantify the air quality in relation to mold and identify the rooms with elevated amounts of mold spores while exonerating other rooms. It also helps narrow down the location of a mold problem when a mold problem is not visible, then an inspection can be performed later to locate the contamination and the source of the problem if it is not immediately apparent.
What’s wrong with the above picture?
Real estate prospective buyers beware! Unfortunately, we sometimes see this type of deception by the seller in an attempt to hide a mold problem.
Examples of situations when a mold testing is warranted
- When a mold inspector recommends a certain number of samples in specific places based upon red flags found during a mold inspection.
- When a home inspector (in a real estate purchase) has found an elevated level of moisture in one wall and he recommends having the area checked and tested by a mold inspector.
- When the occupants want to know the extent of mold contamination in a suspected area.
- When an initial mold testing showed an elevated amount of mold spores in one room and additional samples are needed to help find the culprit wall or ceiling in that room or adjacent room.
- When a renter needs proof to convince his landlord that the visible mold-like substance growing on a wall is actually mold.
- When a prospective home buyer wants to make sure the residence does not have a mold problem before he buys it.
- When a family member suddenly develops allergies and it is suspected it is mold-related.
- When one or more rooms show ceiling water stains or discoloration on walls.
- When the owner of a company wants his building checked for mold because of complaints by his employees.
- When the owner wants the air quality checked once a year for prevention and peace of mind.
The above are just a few examples of when mold testing is warranted. The image on the left shows a bathroom wall next to the shower where a landlord had covered up a serious mold problem with fresh paint.