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Inexpensive mold testing   PDF  Print  E-mail 
Posted by Susan Lillard  
Sunday, 07 October 2007

Sunday 8 October 2007

Are you renting and have found what you think it mold? Are you experiencing symptoms but canít provide your landlord/management company proof that you are being exposed to mold that has been shown to be harmful to human health?

This simple and cheap test for visible mold gives you the evidence you can take to your landlord. Go to Mould-Works to order a Mold Help test kit, or call 541-844-6236.

Are you buying a home or a money pit? Do you work in a school or office that you feel is making you sick?

This simple and cheap test can save you thousands, perhaps hundreds of thousands of dollars, just by the means of simple intervention. Go to MouldWorks to order a Mold Help test kit right here:


3190 Lakeview Drive
Beulah, MI 49617

              541-844-6236         541-844-6236  

Many water leaks lie behind wall cavities, behind appliances or in ceilings and are not obvious to home inspectors or even sellers. Before you close on a home, be it a new or older home, do your own investigation to ensure you are not buying a money pit.

Left uncorrected, water leaks can cause structural damage because over time, wet wood (beams, studs, plates, floor joists, etc?) can become degraded. Wet building materials also attract termites and cause mold to colonize and spread. Certain aggressive molds consume the materials on which they grow, further exacerbating structural damage. This is not limited to allergies. Mold exposure can lead to health problems, including neurological, immunological, and pathological health damage.

A $45 investment could also help you save thousands of dollars from the offer price on a new home purchase, determine if more testing is required, or answer questions related to health issues associated with mold exposure.

Dr. George Carroll, at the University of Oregon and Chief Scientist for MouldWorks, has graciously agreed to analyze samples for $45 each. Dr. Carrollís analysis goes to the point of knowing the species in your samples. From this, he can tell you what is known about the health risks of the species found, including the mycotoxins that are known to exist in the species found.

Dr. George Carroll has been a Professor of Biology and a Mycologist for 40 years. His lab not only analyzes your sample to the species level, but his report is easy to understand. And, you can call his customer service staff if you have any questions about his report.

If you are a home buyer, and toxigenic mold is present in the samples, you should send the findings to the seller and real estate agent representing the seller, via certified mail, so the seller and agent are put on notice and must disclose the findings to any buyer or make proper (and often, expensive) repairs.

Should toxigenic mold or mycotoxins be present in any serious quantity and you still want to purchase the property, you should get binding bids from Mold Help mold remediation professionals for proper repairs and deduct that amount from your offer.

What are the differences in doing this tape lift kit instead of swabs?

The goal in analyzing visible mold is to understand:

  • what is growing?
  • what species are dominant?
  • how long have they been growing?
  • how actively are they growing?
  • what moisture conditions have they been growing in?
  • what health risk does the mix of species represent (for the site sampled)?

Your choice for creating a sample from the visible mold is:

  • use an optically clear adhesive tape that, when pressed firmly against the visible mold, attaches a substantial portion of that visible mold to the tape
  • roll a Q-Tip over the surface of the visible mold that randomly picks up spores and hyphae. The Q-Tip is then placed in distilled water enabling some of the spore in the Q-Tip to be released into the water so that a culture dish can be made.

Which sampling method answers the above questions completely?

  • The Mold Help approved Tape Lift kit enables all the above questions to be answered accurately.
  • Any type of Q-Tip based sample (often called swab samples) can answer about 50% of these questions with serious questions about the accuracy. The information about what is going on at the mold site (how active, what is dominant, what condition is the mold in, how long has it been there, what moisture conditions are likely) is lost when the Q-Tip is rolled across the surface to pick up spore. In addition, an unknown number of spores get stuck in the cotton of the Q-Tip and therefore an unknown bias is create against spores that tend to be more sticky and less smooth.

For the same effort to collect samples, and the same cost to have them analyzed, why would anyone choose Q-Tips over tape lifts?

Tape lifts are always the best solution!

If you are interested in this low cost method for initial testing, call 541-844-6236 or visit Mould-Works to order the quantity of kits that you require. Complete instructions are included, as well as a germ-mask and latex gloves.


3190 Lakeview Drive
Beulah, MI 49617

              541-844-6236         541-844-6236

SAMPLING VISIBLE MOLD: usually on drywall or gypsum board, plywood, particle board, ceiling tiles, under carpet, on vents (if vents are discolored), etc.

TAPE SAMPLES FOR MOLD IDENTIFICATION: Put on new surgical gloves. Press sticky side of tape against mold. Remove tape and be sure you see visible mold stuck to the tape. If not, try again. Place tape in kit and seal. Label the kit with your name, property address, location of where sample was taken (i.e. under sink in kitchen) and date taken. Repeat this for every sample kit collected.

Put on new gloves for each sample taken and ALWAYS put only one sample in each kit package.

Results are available in one week or less.


If results are positive, this indicates that there could be serious water intrusion problems with the property. You should find out just how extensive the problem is (if, for example, the water intrusion has led to structural problems) and what it will cost to repair the problem BEFORE you close on the property as you might otherwise be purchasing a money pit. In fact, sometimes, the cost of repair equals or exceeds the value of the property.

Remember to ALWAYS send the property owner and their agent a certified copy of the results so they know the results and can make proper repairs or reduce the asking price accordingly. If the owner is reluctant to make needed repairs, get a binding bid from a qualified professional to repair the property and reduce the offer price by the amount of the bid. Mold Help may be able to assist with resources and provide assistance.

Also, always remember to never sign a binding arbitration agreement in the earnest money paperwork when your purchase a home. This can be severely detrimental to your rights should something happen against your favor in the purchase of your home later on.


Send a certified letter to your landlord with a copy of the results and a letter demanding replacement of contents and moving costs, plus deposits. If the landlord does not cooperate, please contact Mold Help and we may be able to help and provide resources. Mold Help will not be able to assist if we do not have positive test results.


Send a certified letter to the school district with the test results, demanding an action plan for correcting the situation. If they do nothing to rectify the situation, Mold Help may be able to assist and provide resources. Mold Help will not be able to assist without positive test results.


Send a certified letter to the owner of the company. Mold Help has a list of other resources to contact in case no action is taken. Again, Mold Help will not be able to assist without a positive test.

This testing method with documentation has been effective in renters recuperating funds from their landlords.

Remember, there is no substitute for a trained professional mold inspector to test and inspect possible water intrusion problems or mold infestation. This method of testing is only suggested as a stop gap measure until an expert can be brought in, or if that option is not a possibility.

For Mold Help Approved Professionals, please go to for the best professionals in the business that have been investigated and deemed worthy of the Mold Help Seal of Approval.


Last Updated (Tuesday, 03 November 2009)

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