Visual Inspection and Mold Testing
A visual mold inspection is the most important preliminary step in identifying a possible mold issue and in developing a remediation plan. During the inspection the extent of any water damage and mold growth should be visually assessed and documented. The size of the affected building materials should be noted through photos and by calculating the approximate square footage of contamination. A visual inspection should also include observations of hidden areas where damages may be present, such as crawl spaces, attics, and behind wallboard. When inspecting crawl spaces and other areas that may have significant mold growth it may be advisable to use personal protective equipment such as gloves and respiratory protection (e.g. N-95 disposable respirator). Efforts should also be made to minimize the generation and migration of any dust and mold.
Carpet backing and padding, wallpaper, moldings (e.g. baseboards), insulation and other materials that are suspected of hiding mold growth should also be assessed.
During the inspection particular attention should be given to ceiling tiles, paper-covered gypsum wallboard (drywall), structural wood, and other cellulose-containing surfaces should be given. Ventilation systems should be visually inspected for moisture or damp conditions and/or mold growth on system components such as filters, insulation, and coils/fins. The overall cleanliness should be assessed.
An industrial hygienist and certified industrial hygienist utilize equipment such as a moisture meter or infrared camera (to detect moisture in building materials). A borescope (to view spaces in ductwork or behind walls) can be used in identifying hidden sources of mold growth, the extent of water damage, and in determining if the water source is active.