Visual Mold Assessment and Mold Testing

Inspections Packed With Value

Visual Mold AssessmentMold is just another defect. It is similar to just about any other defect found during a home inspection such as a bad roof or an air conditioning system that has failed. The vast majority of mold we find is very isolated and requires only a small amount of work to clean up. The average mold repair is $1,500 – $7,500. This can be a powerful negotiating tool for home buyers and their real estate agent. As a buyer, you want to find out about mold during your inspection period, not after you move in.

The first step is finding areas of concern (AOC’s). While many home inspectors avoid mold at all costs, we include a Visual Mold Assessment at no additional cost with every full home inspection. This assessment can inform the home buyer (and seller) of AOC’s in the house that have either contributed to mold growth or can create an environment for mold in the future. Things such as bad grading, poor ventilation, below-grade walls, and of course leaks or other moisture sources will be documented. If justified, our home inspectors are all certified to perform full mold testing with results from an accredited, local lab. The results can be instrumental in negotiating for repairs.

Mold TestingOur inspectors have always been obsessed with finding moisture in the houses we inspect. That’s why our home inspectors are equipped with expensive Infrared Thermal Imaging cameras and electronic moisture meters. Finding moisture can be an indication of other problems. The most common moisture problems come from excessive irrigation, plumbing leaks, and roof leaks. But we have found significant moisture problems from ponds against the house, poorly finished showers, and lack of fresh air exchange.

You can learn a lot about mold from the U.S. EPA website.

When Should Mold Testing be Performed?

  • Apparent mold growth – When you can actually see mold-like growth or staining in damp areas.
  • Odors – When you smell odors that cannot be explained.
  • Moisture intrusion/water damage – Any leaks from plumbing or exterior can cause mold growth.
  • Health concerns – Someone who will be living in the house has allergies or other health problems.

Mold testing and evaluation by an accredited lab is the only way to confirm the presence or absence of mold spores in a house. If present, the mold-damaged material needs to be remediated – either cleaned or replaced depending on the material in question.

Air samples are used when odors are present or simply to determine the concentration of mold spores or allergens in the air. If a family member has health issues, the results of a mold test can be sent to a doctor to see if the samples contain allergens for the individual patient. Molds produce allergens (substances that can cause allergic reactions), irritants and, in some cases, potentially toxic substances (mycotoxins).  Inhaling or touching mold or mold spores may cause allergic reactions in sensitive individuals.  Allergic responses include hay fever-type symptoms, such as sneezing, runny nose, red eyes, and skin rash (dermatitis).  Allergic reactions to mold are common.  They can be immediate or delayed.  Molds can also cause asthma attacks in people with asthma who are allergic to mold.  In addition, mold exposure can irritate the eyes, skin, nose, throat, and lungs of both mold-allergic and non-allergic people.  Symptoms other than the allergic and irritant types are not commonly reported as a result of inhaling mold.  Research on mold and health effects is ongoing.

Thorough Mold Testing Services

mold testing san diego

Moisture Testing

We perform mold sampling according to the Standards of Practice of the International Association of Certified Indoor Air Consultants (IAC2).

Complete Mold Testing

Mold testing involves far more than simply taking samples. An experienced professional needs to inspect the entire house and find any areas that may be contributing to a potential mold issue.  Our home inspectors are all certified to perform these inspections. They are also equipped better than most “mold inspectors” who simply perform a brief visual inspection. Our inspectors have seen it all and know where to look for moisture. The physical evaluation is a critical step in determining if a house has a mold problem. This is the service you need if you want us to search the entire house for mold, or for your peace of mind knowing what levels of mold exist in a house.

The Black Mold/Toxic Mold Hype

There are many types of mold that all have varying effects on your house and on people’s health. There really is no such thing as “toxic ” or “black” mold. Those terms are used generically and are often used to scare people into expensive remediation. The truth is that different molds can have different effects on different people. But one thing holds true – it can physically damage a house by weakening the wood.

Why is There Such a Difference in Mold Testing Prices From One Company to Another?

While we can’t speak for other companies we can simply say that the varying pricing is simply a matter of marketing. Some companies do not charge for a visual inspection but charge a much greater price for each sample. Others charge a big inspection fee and slightly smaller per-sample charge. Our pricing is simply based on the additional time it takes to perform a visual assessment over and above the home inspection. We only recommend the minimum number of samples we think are required to get the results you need, as dictated by the Standards of Practice.


There is no charge for the standard Visual Mold Assessment when performed at a home inspection. We only charge for sampling at the client’s authorization. This typically requires a second visit to the house to provide adequate time. The mold inspector will thoroughly evaluate possible causes for the moisture, prepare the house for testing, and set up the equipment to collect air and/or physical samples. The samples are then prepared along with the chain of custody forms and delivered or shipped to the lab. This is a time-consuming process which assures the most accurate results possible.

Charges for additional samples will be billed at time of the inspection with client’s prior approval of the number of samples. The client will be consulted and will have the final say as to how many additional samples will be taken. Please see our pricing.