Often, clients will express concern over various stains in a property, but will be unsure of the nature of the stain or if it is some type of mold growth.
This is where experience becomes paramount. Mold inspectors can typically deduce if the growth in question is a concern (based on how three dimensional it is, the color and the shape of growth), which would then segue into mold testing to see if there are toxic properties present, as well as if the mold is reproducing into the air.
The following considerations should be taken into account with potential mold growth:
1. Are the conditions conducive to mold growth? Mold requires nutrients (such as drywall), moisture and the right temperature to grow.
2. Is an odor present? When molds metabolize materials, they can produce volatile organic compounds (VOCs), which is what people generally report as being a musty odor in the property.
3. Are there visible signs of mold growth? Mycelia or mold growth can be present in a plethora of colors, not just black and green as most people believe. These colors could include a blueish green, green yellow, black, brown, orange and white. Water stains can also indicate potential mold growth (such as in a wall cavity) since this indicates an ideal environment for mold.
4. Structural damage. This could include peeling of wallpaper or floor swelling, since this can indicate a moisture problem.
Finally, sometimes there may be efflorescence, which is the white/chalky calcium deposit left by water (such as in a crawlspace or one bricks), this can be distinguished from mold due to the chalky texture.
If you are unsure about potential growth, it is always best to check with a certified mold inspector to confirm whether or not there is further concern in your property.
MOLD HEALTH EFFECTS BLOG AND RESEARCH