View Full Version : Mold reporting

Steve Meyer
03-06-2008, 01:26 PM
Do any of you test for mold, report mold or don't even mess with it at all.
I have someone in the neighborhood that thinks they have mold, he wants me to look at it or refer someone who will test for it.
Is this to much liability ?


Gunnar Alquist
03-06-2008, 01:47 PM

Some of the E&O companies do not cover for mold. I know my insurer does not. There are several ways to test for mold. One is to go to a home improvement center and get a test kit. Some of the labs also sell them direct or online. Not sure how reliable they are, but as far as I know, the kits do not provide air sampling. The most thorough and expensive will be an industrial hygienist. You should be able to find one in the phone book. A local cleanup/mitigation company may also be able to give referrals. Be warned, they are not cheap.

Scott Patterson
03-06-2008, 02:04 PM
Do any of you test for mold, report mold or don't even mess with it at all.
I have someone in the neighborhood that thinks they have mold, he wants me to look at it or refer someone who will test for it.
Is this to much liability ?


Doesn't Texas have some sort of mold testing law now? For some reason I seem to recall a mold law in TX.

Anyway and for what it is worth, you really don't need to test for mold. If you see mold, smell mold then you have mold. Stop the moisture and clean up the mold. Try this site for more information. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (http://www.epa.gov)

Jim Luttrall
03-06-2008, 04:55 PM
Scott is right on the money, Texas does have a license required for mold.
He is also right about the EPA site.
They (EPA) takes the position that there is no need to test for mold if you can see the mold, take steps to get rid of the cause (moisture) and clean up the affected area. They even have directions on how to do it and when you need to call a professional.
I always refer to this site anytime I have a client question about mold.

Patrick Norton
03-06-2008, 07:14 PM
I agree with the idea that there is no need to identify the type of mold growth when you can see it, just remove the mold and the reason for it but when you can't see any mold or any potential for it, performing air sampling for mold can discover hidden mold in some cases. I have been involved in several situations where there was no visible mold or any risk factors for mold that I could detect and the buyers had air sampling performed by a local lab and they found high levels of toxic mold. The lab report stated that there was a hidden source of toxic mold growth. Now that will kill a deal!

I always discuss with my clients the availability of air sampling to detect possible hidden mold growth and recommend local lab technicians that are microbiologists (better to let them answer all the questions about mold).

Michael P. O'Handley
03-08-2008, 08:03 PM
I tell folks before the inspection that I won't be testing for mold and that, as far as I'm concerned, home inspectors who charge people to "test" for mold are scamming people and have no business dabbling in it.

I tell them I'll be looking for water intrusion issues, and that water intrusion, combined with organic materials, the right temperatures, and oxygen will produce mold. I tell them that if I find water intrusion. I'll show them where it is, tell them why it's bad for the house, and tell them how to get the water intrusion fixed, but I won't be testing for mold - even if I see something that could be mold.

I tell them that if I see something that I think could be mold, I'll inform them of it, at which point it will be their decision as to whether they want to hire someone to test it to see what kind it is or abate it.

Then I do the inspection. If, in the course of the inspection, I find what I think might be mold, I'll point it out to them, tell them I don't know what it is - it could me mold or it could be dirt or candle soot for all I know. I tell them that if they decide that they want to get it tested, not to hire one of me - namely a home inspector - to test it, because I don't believe there are any home inspectors on the continent that are competent when it comes to mold. I tell them they should hire a good reputable indoor air quality firm - one that has real scientists on its staff and not home inspectors that have a 3 to 7 day seminar under their belt - and let that firm decide whether there's any point in testing the substance to see what it actually is, or if it makes more sense, once the water intrusion or moisture issues that caused it are corrected, to just clean it up so they can go on with their lives.

If I find a water intrusion issue where I know there's probably moisture in an interstitial cavity. I'll tell them that they should have the water intrusion issue fixed and get the cavity opened up to ensure there's nothing like mold or rot growing in the wall. I tell them that if at that point their contractor finds what could be mold, they should contact a good indoor air quality firm, yadda, yadda, yadda....

When I email them the report, I reiterate everything that I told them in the report and direct them to the EPA website (http://www.epa.gov/mold/) for more information about mold.

It's worked well for me for nearly 12 years. I've never had a complaint, not even a peep, from any client about mold and I've never been sued or even been to arbitration.

It's all about managing their expectations of what you can and can't do for them and giving them clear directions.



Nolan Kienitz
03-09-2008, 09:09 AM
I'm chiming in with Mike O, Scott, Jim, Pat & Gunnar ...

If you see mold advise client and advise of the moisture intrusion that is the basis for same.

The EPA site (as linked in above posts) has a good guide. I attach that with the HI report to my client for additional education.

As noted ... Texas has yet another state agency that licenses "mold inspectors".