Specific Areas to Inspect
As you being to visit homes that you are interested in buying, think about the fact that mold thrives in dark, damp areas. It might be wise to bring a flashlight (or use the flashlight on your phone) with you so you can detect the presence of any visible mold. This will let you be able to peek into those dark corners and tucked away spaces, like closets and beneath stairwells.
- You will want to walk around the outside of the home before you even enter the house. You want to look at the roof and see if you notice any missing or curled up shingles. You will want to find out when the roof was inspected last. Also look at the grading around the home. Does the ground slope away from the foundation?
- Look at the gutters and notice if they are firmly attached to the house. Make sure the downspouts are directed away from the foundation.
- You also want to notice if there are any foundation cracks. Is any of the siding or trim missing?
Home’s Interior Walls and Ceilings
- As soon as you walk into the home you want to notice if there is an odor. Does it smell musty? It can sometimes be easier to determine a mold problem by smell than by sight. If you smell an earthy, stale odor then this could be an indicator of a mold issue.
- Check for stains or even patches on ceilings and walls, specifically exterior walls. Look and see if there are any discolorations around the windows and door trims.
- Keep an eye out for of any uneven texturing this could be an indicator of problems in the past.
Bathrooms should be given special attention on your mold inspection checklist before buying a home:
- Inspect under the vanities. You want to look for visible mold. Also pay close attention to the vanity floors. Make sure to look for any discoloration that might be caused by leaky faucets, drain lines or water supply lines.
- Check the bathtub, shower enclosures, and toilets for water staining on the caulking.
- You want to then turn on all bathroom exhaust fans. You not only want to make sure they are operational but also look for any ceiling stains around the exhaust fans. This could be a good indication of water intrusion caused by leaky roof stacks.
You should give the same attention to the kitchen as you did the bathroom.
- Inspect under the sink. You will want to check closely for any visible mold or water stains.
- Pay close attention to the floor near/around the dishwasher and refrigerator. Yuu want to look for any staining or warping of any kind.
- If the kitchen has a separate beverage cooler or wet bar, then you will want to check the flooring near them as well.
- Check the kitchen exhaust fan. Because cooking creates a lot of excess humidity, it is important that the kitchen exhaust fan is properly located above the cooking area and it functions properly.
- Not all roof leaks cause damage to the ceilings or rooms below. It is necessary to check for mold or staining on the plywood sheathing, rafters, or roof trusses.
- Also be sure the exhaust fan isn’t vented into the attic. No exhaust fan should be vented from the house into the attic. They should all be ducted out through the roof.
- You want to inspect the floor joists. Look closely around any plumbing coming through the floor. If there is copper water lines then they should be free of any condensation.
- Also inspect the furnace ducting. You should see no signs of rusty areas. There should also be no condensation visible on them.
- Look for cracks in the foundation. You shouldn’t see any cracks that are larger than normal (bigger than hairline cracks) on the concrete floor.
- If the basement has any finished areas, then you want to look for signs of mold on baseboards or in the closets. Check for any discoloration on drywall around windows.
- Be sure to open the access panel on the furnace. You’re checking for any rusty components that are inside the unit.
- If you notice any excess moisture inside the furnace, then there may be excess moisture in the furnace ducts.
- Check at the metal register and cold air return covers in every room for signs of visible mold or rust.
If you want to be a smart homebuyer, then you need to be using a mold inspection checklist when checking out the home before you buy. Now this list should not replace a qualified home inspector, but it will give you a better overall idea of the condition of the home. This list could help you decide if the home is worth further consideration before going too far.
If you are looking at a home and you see large amounts of visible mold, unless it is an unreal deal, then walk away. You will find another home for sale. No home is worth dealing with the problems that surrounds mold infestations. However, no home is perfect, and minor issues can be safely and effectively dealt with by contacting Anchor Home Inspection. Just make sure to do it BEFORE you buy or make an offer on a house.