Is That Mold?
August 31, 2022
Is That Mold?
August 31, 2022

Kensa Fans know that water is a big focus of every home inspection, second only to safety. In this latest (and overdue) Resource article, we look at a very common symptom of water, the dreaded m-word -- mold.  Every house has mold, because water. That’s just science, we don’t make the rules. But it's not really very scary.


Our pal Google tells us that there are over 100,000 flavors of mold.  Some are toxic, some are not, and some we even enjoy eating – show of hands, who loves gorgonzola cheese?  Point being to remember the context, which Kensa always provides with every issue found during every inspection.  There are a few types that are most commonly found in the home.

On a related note, technically the only way to be sure something is in fact mold is to have a proper sample taken and have it analyzed by a proper lab.  That’s why we never say, “Hey, that’s mold,” out loud or in a written inspection report.  At the same time, it’s also usually pretty clear that something is in fact mold.  For example, when you see a gross greenish growth on the piece of bread you just pulled out of the bag, you don’t need a lab to tell you it’s mold.  The EPA says, “In most cases, if visible mold growth is present, sampling is unnecessary.”  However, depending on the scale and scope of the problem, you may need professional remediation services to solve the problem.  This would be discussed during your Kensa Inspections home inspection by your inspection inspector named Ken who founded Kensa.

Tech Tip

On a side note related to the related note, one thing to point out about remediation is that the EPA says you can clean it yourself if the affected area is less than 10 square feet.  In other words, you don’t need a professional to deal with a few spots under the bathroom sink.  A sample scenario: First, you get a plumber to fix the leak that provided the water that caused the mold (root cause).  Next, you go to the hardware store and get some “anti-microbial” cleaner and follow the directions on the jug (symptom).  Then you keep an eye on it to see if the problem returns (monitor).  Simple.  Other situations may require a professional, such as attic and basement problems.  Just remember to always solve the root cause (water) before trying to clean up the symptom (mold).

Visual Aides

Without further ado, let’s have a look at some examples of mold -- aka microbial growth, aka the fungus is amungus -- found during Kensa’s inspections:

unfinished attic
This crummy photo is a great example of mold in an otherwise nifty attic that has a ventilation problem in which the insulation is blocking the soffit vents (get the details at your inspection :)
mold on drywall
This partially finished basement lacks proper ventilation; a dehumidifier might help!
stains and mold in attic
This is where the chimney outside connects to the side of the house and the roof. There is usually a problem with a thing called flashing at that intersection (get the details at your inspection :)
mold on insulation
No one had been in this crawl space for a long time, so the leaking water pipe went undetected. Side note: the insulation is upside-down, a classic oopsie.
mold on a wall
This location in finished space is a bit unusual.  Note the shadows -- the old light-from-the-side trick helps show it.
mold under a sink
There was a leaking sink in this wet bar cabinet. We look inside everything!
mold in an unfinished basement
This basement has a persistent water penetration problem from multiple sources
(get the details at your inspection :)
black mold on a wall
The black stuff on the wall near the basement floor looks like mold all day.  The water could be coming from the adjacent neighbor in this townhouse. The spray foam didn’t help…
black mod on a ceiling
This ceiling is below a bathroom, so the water source isn’t much of a mystery...
photo placeholder
No photo. Sometimes there’s just a musty smell or damp air -- intangible signs of insufficient ventilation and/or persistent water that could lead to mold. A thorough Kensa Inspection involves multiple senses, not just vision!


We follow the EPA guidelines for mold (and radon), and we follow CDC guidelines for things such as best practices around Covid.  This article isn’t meant to reinvent the wheel for giving extensive information about what mold is or what to do about it, so here’s what they provide:


Where will the mold manifest in your next new home? Let’s find out together! Get an overview of what’s included in a typical home inspection: