In terms of the home environment, mold (mould) that is often observed and referred to is actually a type of fungus.
There are thousands of species of mold, each with its own characteristics and potential issues.
Since the role of mold in nature is as "decomposer" of organic materials, this may mean that certain species of mold could cause respiratory/health issues in sensitive/compromised occupants, causing decay and damage to the structure of your home, or even causing damage to your belongings!
As pervasive and common as mold can be, its growth is very sensitive to its environment, and requires high levels of moisture to thrive.
Mold Inspection and Testing is available as a stand-alone service, or an add-on to any home inspection. Air samples within the home are obtained using specialized equipment, which is then sent to an accredited laboratory for analysis, and a MoldReport™ is issued within a few business days.
The term "toxic mold" gets thrown around quite a lot, often without being placed in proper context. The fact is that mold itself is non-toxic and non-poisonous, but certain species may produce toxins (mycotoxins).
All mold species present themselves in a wide variety of colors, which often leads people to mistakenly believe that they have a "toxic mold" problem, when in fact they may not.
The "toxic mold" that is generally referred to, is a specific, and extremely rare species of mold called Stachybotrys chartarum.
For more information, please visit the CDC website that provides greater detail regarding mold.
Most often, mold presents itself on surfaces, and can simply be cleaned up with detergent and water.
The EPA has some great information available for DIY mold remediation:
If you believe that you have a mold problem that may be invasive, and you are looking for questions to be answered, then reach out today and see how we can help!
The short answer is yes you can, but due to the sampling methods required by off-the-shelf test kits, it is highly advisable to leave sample collection to professional inspection and testing companies. Mold testing can be performed by yourself, but the EPA recommends avoiding this practice, as you may subject you or your family to exposure through mold sampling.
Off-the-shelf test kits generally required you to send a physical sample of the mold in question to a certified laboratory (at an additional cost). There is also plenty of consumer feedback and information available that suggests that these types of kits are highly unreliable.
There are specialized pumps and meters available for purchase that can collect spores in the environment for laboratory testing, but these pumps are generally very expensive.
Hiring a 3rd party to perform your sampling removes your risk of direct contact and exposure, and affords you the peace of mind in knowing that your testing has been performed by professionals every step of the way.
Mold remediation can be a predatory business. There are many companies out there that will prey on nervous home owners, and simply rely on the scare factor surrounding the "toxic mold" myths.
Securing basic mold inspection services, or simply adding mold testing to a standard home inspection are a couple of very inexpensive ways that Structural Integrity Solutions can answer the lingering "what ifs" and provide you with the information necessary to make a healthy, informed decision.
SIS uses specialized air pumps, collection cells, and 2 samples (1 exterior, 1 interior) to determine what your exposure risk is. These samples are then sent off to a reputable, accredited laboratory for processing. The data provided through the written report will tell you what species of mold your household is being exposed to, what quantities, and what your overall exposure risk is.
The off the shelf price for the mold test kits are relatively inexpensive, but the cost of the test kits do not generally include any laboratory processing fees.
We have two different pricing models for mold testing, which can be found on our pricing page located HERE.
Please note that stand alone mold inspections differ from a standard home inspection, in that the scope is limited to observing and reporting of defects within systems that contribute to an environment in which mold/mildew will thrive, but will not identify defects that are of safety or material concern.