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Should I Get a Mold Inspection When I'm Buying A House

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Should you have the house you are about to buy inspected for mold before you pay for it or is doing this a complete waste of valuable time and money?

It costs a lot of money to buy a property and when buying a home, you want to avoid anything that adds to the financial burden of that acquisition. Quite naturally, every home buyer only wants to deal with those costs that are completely necessary and unavoidable, explains Pillar Management. In many buyers’ opinion, a mold inspection does not count as necessary and unavoidable.

However, looking at only the monetary costs of a mold inspection is the wrong way to approach the question. To make the right decision about whether a mold inspection holds any value when you are about to buy a home you should ask the following questions:

  • What will it cost to get a mold inspection?
  • What is the potential cost if you don’t get the inspection?
  • How does the risk of not getting a mold inspection compare to the cost of getting it?

In the end, you will only make an informed decision about the issue when you are properly educated about mold and what it can do to a home and its occupants. In this post, we help you gain that insight. Below we explain what mold is and why it is such a problem in modern homes.

What is mold?

What is mold

Mold is a fungus that compromises the air quality of homes. It usually appears as a greenish, whitish, black, or gray fuzzy growth. Mold can grow in a vast number of places in the home. But every location where mold is found will often have the following qualities:

  • It will have little to no sunlight exposure such as areas of the home that are rarely used by the home’s residents or are almost always in the shade.
  • It will have high relative humidity. Moisture present in the air or on surfaces, partly due to poor air circulation in that part of the home.
  • It will have a temperature of around 55-85 Fahrenheit, though some mold will grow below or above this temperature range.
  • It will have food sources that mold can survive on. These can be paper, asbestos shingles, wood, drywall, insulation, fabric, or even concrete.

The trouble with mold

The trouble with mold

There are two main reasons why mold is a problem in the home; it endangers human health and it endangers the physical structures of the home. How does mold do this?

  • VOCs: In the course of feeding and growing, mold releases volatile organic compounds (VOC). These volatile gases are responsible for the musty odor associated with mold. But VOCs don’t just cause a bad smell, they also irritate the mucus membrane and can cause or worsen respiratory conditions.
  • Toxins: Mold also produces mycotoxins. These are compounds that can be toxic to other organisms, including humans. Exposure to mycotoxins from mold has been indicted in a range of illnesses and symptoms; breathing difficulties; flu-like symptoms, fatigue, skin rashes and lesions, bleeding, and depression.
  • Mold spores: Spores are how mold propagates itself. These are released into the atmosphere to be transported by the wind. A mold spore is an allergen; it can trigger attacks in people who suffer from asthma and will worsen existing allergies.
  • Physical damage to the home: What mold grows on, it destroys. That is because mold is only able to grow on a surface when it is feeding on it. Over time, mold can work its way into the surface and completely destroy it. This can happen to walls, flooring, wood, and concrete.

Why mold inspection is a good idea

Why mold inspection is a good idea

First, despite of how damaging mold can be to a building and its inhabitants, mold is quite difficult to detect and even harder to get rid of. The areas of the home where mold loves to grow to make it easy for the organism to exist for a long time without being discovered.

Some of the favorite lurking places for mold are: beneath floor and ceiling tiles, inside the drywall, in the ductwork, beneath carpets and mats, inside closets, behind wallpaper, inside appliances (drains and trays especially), in the basement, attic and rafters, and in paper files/books.

Secondly, getting rid of mold is difficult and costly. Costs can range from $500 to $30,000, depending on the type of mold, its extent, how long it has been there, and where it is growing. Removing mold often involves opening up walls and floors, and replacing drywall, insulation, and other parts of the home.

Conversely, inspecting the home for mold and testing its air quality will cost between $300 and $1,000, with the average cost hovering around $550. The actual cost will depend on the size of the home and where it is located in Canada.

So back to our original question: should you get a mold inspection before you buy a home or not? It is fair to say that you can see some really good reasons why a mold inspection is a great idea.