in Asheville and the WNC area
About Our Mold Testing
Mold Test Pricing
Our basic Mold Testing Package costs $349 and includes three air samples and an interpretation of the lab results. The average cost of mold testing throughout the country is between $300 and $1000. Home Advisor (as of late 2022) claims that the average cost for mold testing is $644. The outdoor air sample is used as a control to evaluate the other samples– see below for more information. Larger homes may need more air samples. (We recommend that additional samples are taken for every 1000sf over 2000sf or for different foundation systems) Add $75 per additional air sample. Some sales-driven mitigation companies may offer cheaper or even free testing; however, their recommendations may not be unbiased.
Mold Test Scheduling
Our online scheduler is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Choose your inspector and find the next available appointment using our online scheduler. If you have any special requests or questions while using our online scheduler, feel free to leave notes in the comment section.
If you have any questions, give us a call or text. We have a full-time office manager available M-F, 9-5, to answer your questions. If no one answers, please leave a message, and we will call you back soon!
Mold Test Reviews
We are a highly-rated Mold Testing company in Asheville and WNC area and have over 130 5-star reviews on Google – find or share a google review.
Education is our passion which is why it is our mission to help people buy, sell or maintain homes. We are proud of our intuitive color-coded reports that help prioritize issues while providing recommendations and upgrade items. We use state-of-the-art HTML-based software that includes expandable pictures, videos, links, resources, articles, diagrams, and more. Our reports also include the Create a Repair List feature which creates HTML and PDF documents that can be shared with sellers, agents, and contractors. We have several different sample reports including videos of our sample reports that can be viewed here.
Mold Testing Service Areas
Is there a Mold Testing Company near me in Asheville and WNC area?
Builder Buddy offers Mold testing in Asheville and the surrounding area, which includes most of Western North Carolina (WNC):
Is there a Mold Testing Company near me in Buncombe County?
Builder Buddy offers Mold Testing in Buncombe County, including Asheville, Montreat, Biltmore Forest, Alexander, Black Mountain, Woodfin, Weaverville, Candler, and the surrounding areas.
Is there a Mold Testing Company near me in Henderson County?
Builder Buddy offers Mold Testing in Henderson County, including Hendersonville, Saluda, Fletcher, Laurel Park, Mills River, Flat Rock, and the surrounding areas.
Is there a Mold Testing Company near me in Haywood County?
Builder Buddy offers Mold Testing in Haywood County, including Canton, Clyde, Maggie Valley, Waynesville, Lake Junaluska, and the surrounding areas.
Is there a Mold Testing Company near me in Madison County?
Builder Buddy offers Mold Testing in Madison County, Hot Springs, Mars Hill, Marshall, and the surrounding areas.
Is there a Mold Testing Company near me in Yancey County?
Builder Buddy offers Mold Testing in Yancey County, including Burnsville and the surrounding areas.
Is there a Mold Testing Company near me in McDowell County?
Builder Buddy offers Mold Testing in McDowell County, including Marion, Old Fort, and the surrounding areas.
Is there a Mold Testing Company near me in Polk County?
Builder Buddy offers Mold Testing in Polk County, including Saluda, Columbus, Tryon, and the surrounding areas.
Is there a Mold Testing Company near me in Transylvania County?
Builder Buddy offers Mold Testing in Transylvania County, including Brevard, Rosman, and the surrounding areas.
Frequently Asked Questions
About Builder Buddy Mold Testing in WNC?
Our company is insured for Mold testing and has performed hundreds of mold tests over the years. All of our Home Inspectors are current State-Licensed Home Inspectors that exceed State minimum insurance and standard of practice requirements. All Home inspectors are full-time W2 employees (not sub-contractors) and meet or exceed our company’s additional continuing education requirements.
What is Mold Testing?
Typically Mold Testing is air sampling. We don’t do many ‘tape lifts’ because the most common types of mold can be visually identified.
An air sample is taken by using a specialized pump to pull a consistent volume of air through a mold spore trap- the trap is a small plastic container that is approximately the same diameter as a silver dollar. For tiny to medium size homes, typically, we take three air samples- one control sample from the outside, another one at the lowest level finished area (where we suspect the most issues), and another one at a higher level or where we suspect the minor air quality issues. For larger homes or for homes that have multiple areas with potential air quality concerns, we may take additional samples. After taking the samples, we send the traps with documentation to a lab to be analyzed. The lab will identify and count the number of spores caught in each trap and send the results back to us in a report.
Mold test results should always be interpreted as a home inspection or a mold inspection- which is why Home Inspectors specializing in mold testing are among the best professionals to consult for an unbiased evaluation of the air quality in the home.
When Should I Order a Mold Test?
Mold Testing is helpful when water penetration is suspected but can not be verified by other means or the buyer or homeowner wants additional confirmation of an issue that is already suspected. The best practice is mold testing with a home inspection or mold inspection.
- When musty smells are observed in the finished basement or other finished areas indicating water penetration from the outside
- When visible mold or water stains are observed in areas
- Water penetration issues found or suspected in the finished basement
- Water penetration issues found in an unfinished basement may affect the air quality of the finished levels
- Poor crawl space environment that may affect the air quality of the finished levels
- Elevated moisture readings observed at floors, walls, or ceilings of finished areas
- Homes that have experienced long-term active plumbing leaks
- Homes that have experienced long-term active roof leaks
- Homes that are distressed or have been neglected
What Causes Mold?
Fungi grow and reproduce in wet or moist environments. When an environment becomes dry, the fungi die or becomes dormant. The number of spores in the air will be higher during hot/humid Seasons (like Summer) or rainy periods. Mold thrives best in persistently wet environments.
What is the Problem with Mold?
When fungi reproduce, they send spores into the air. The spores of most species of fungus do not have allergenic potential. Some species, however, like Aspergillus Penicillium, Stachybotrys ‘black mold’, and others are known to cause allergic reactions in some people.
Is Some Amount of Mold in the Home Considered Normal?
Yes. Mold spores are found everywhere and especially in our forested humid subtropical climate with high rainfall (here in Western North Carolina). Fungi thrive on the decaying matter in our trees/shrubs/plants, and it’s normal for many of these spores to be brought into the home. We haven’t seen a mold test result with zero spores in the home yet, and if I did, I would likely retest because I would suspect an issue with the equipment. Most outdoor mold spores are harmless to people. We suspect a mold or air quality issue when the indoor samples are significantly out of range from the outside and contain many predominantly indoor species with fungi with high allergenic potential.
What is the purpose of a Mold Test?
The purpose of a mold test is to confirm that the air quality inside the home (especially in basements) is not significantly out of range from the outside environment. Mold thrives on decaying tree and plant matter, among many other things, which is why it is nearly everywhere. As Certified Mold Testing Experts, we do not expect to see a mold test result with zero spores in the home. If, however, we find mold in types and numbers inside the home that we do not see in its immediate vicinity, the presence of these spores could indicate an air quality issue.
Indoor Mold: is a type of fungus sometimes referred to as mildew. Molds thrive on moisture. Some Molds are known to have Allergenic and Mycotoxin potential.
Spores: are reproductive ‘seeds’ for mold that travel through the air
Mycotoxins: are toxins produced by fungi that can cause disease or death in humans or animals
Aspergillus/Penicillium: these are molds that are very common in basements and crawl spaces. In large amounts, they can be an indicator of air quality issues. Known to have mycotoxin and allergenic potential.
Stachybotrus: commonly known as ‘Black mold’ found in basements or crawl spaces, or other areas with active water penetration and wet surfaces. Known to have mycotoxin and allergenic potential.
Interpreting a Mold Test Result
The Test Result: Types of Spores
The test result will list the number of spores and the types found in each sample. Different labs will organize and present the information differently. Our lab separates the types of spores into three categories: PREDOMINANTLY OUTDOOR, INDOOR/OUTDOOR, and WATER INDICATORS.
- PREDOMINANTLY OUTDOOR: (No color)- as a general rule, these spores grow predominantly outdoors and are not good indicators of the general air quality inside the home
- INDOOR/OUTDOOR: (Yellow row) – These spores often grow in moist environments in the home and are excellent indicators of air quality issues in the home– especially aspergillus/penicillium. Aspergillus/Penicillium have mycotoxin and allergenic potential.
- WATER INDICATORS: (Red row) These spores grow on wet/saturated surfaces inside the home and can indicate a more severe/active/long-term air quality issue in the home with more severe mycotoxin and allergenic potential.
Some spores are known to have allergenic and mycotoxin potential, while others are not. A visual guide is presented in our report.
The Test Result: Raw Counts of Spores
When the raw counts of certain spores are significantly out of range from the outdoor sample, it may indicate an air quality issue– test results are best interpreted by a professional. In some cases, only a portion of the spores is counted in the lab, as there are too many to count individually. For example, if the Raw Count says ’60’ and only 10% were analyzed, that could indicate that there were ten times the amount of 600 spores (not 60). See the video for more information.
The Test Result: Calculated Spores Per Cubic Meter
In the report, the raw counts are then used to estimate a calculated number of spores per cubic meter; in other words, how many spores we would expect to find floating around in a cubic meter of air. These graphics can be helpful but also misleading- the test results are best interpreted by a professional. Remember that these graphs are not to scale, and the maximum amounts can vary per sample- see the video for more information.
How are Spores Per Cubic Meter calculated?
During our air samples, we pull 75 Liters of air through the trap or 15 Liters per minute for 5 minutes- this is an industry-standard. 75 Liters is about the same volume as a kitchen trash can. Air quality is typically measured in cubic meters– industrial hygienists want to know how many calculated spores per cubic meter there is. A cubic meter is about the same volume as a standard-size refrigerator. There are 1000 liters in a cubic meter which is 13.3 times larger than the 75-liter sample taken on-site. (1000 liters divided by 75 liters is 13.333) So to discuss our air samples in cubic meters, we need to extrapolate the data or estimate how many spores we might find in a much larger sample.
Example: If we find 1000 spores in a 75 Liter sample, we can assume there might be around 13,300 spores in a cubic meter. (1000 x 13.3= 13,300)
Is Mold Testing a Pass or Fail Test?
Mold testing is not regulated on the federal or state level, and therefore, it is not a pass-or-fail test. The EPA has particular guidelines on other environmental concerns like Radon gas, but no Federal guidance currently exists for Mold, Mold testing, or Mold mitigation. Because mold testing is un-regulated it is essential to find an unbiased professional that does not have an invested interest in the repairs– mold tests should only be taken with a full home inspection or mold inspection which is why Home Inspectors that specialize in mold testing are among the best professionals to evaluate the air quality in a home. The Inspector will interpret the results based on the observations made during the inspection and will use their experience analyzing other results as a reference to help inform the buyer.
Spore Sample results taken from the home are always considered for the outdoor control sample. If higher than typical spore counts were observed outside, then higher than typical counts will be expected in the home because people, pets, and objects are constantly being brought into the house from the outside. This is one reason why the test result is always relative.
Most Common Sources of Mold or Air Quality Issues
Air quality issues tend to manifest in the basement or crawl space (moist environments) more than in any other area. The upper levels of the home tend to exhibit fewer air quality issues because they tend to be dryer than the ground level.
- Basements: (MOST COMMON) Poor grading and drainage from the outside will force water through the foundation wall, which contributes to a wet environment conducive to fungal growth. Trapped moisture between the foundation wall and the finished can cause air quality issues in Finished Basements
- Crawl Spaces: (MOST COMMON) Poor grading, drainage, and ventilation will cause a moist/wet environment (especially in the warmer months) conducive to fungal growth. Moisture can seep upwards into the floor framing, finishes, and walls, which, over the long term, can cause air quality issues in the living areas.
Other Causes of Mold or Air Quality Issues
- Long-term Plumbing Leaks: Unaddressed plumbing leaks or flood events can cause air quality issues over the long term.
- Roof leaks: Un-addressed roof leaks can cause water penetration through the ceiling and cause air quality issues in the home over the long term.
- Deck Connections: Missing or improper flashing can cause water penetration into the wall framing and air quality issues over the long term.
- Patios: Installed over the siding/framing or sloped toward the home can can cause water penetration into the wall framing and air quality issues over the long-term.
- Siding/Trim: Poorly installed or maintained siding and trim an can cause water penetration into the wall framing and air quality issues over the long-term.
- Grading: Grading that slopes toward the home or that is above or too close to the siding/framing can cause water penetration and air quality issues over the long-term.
- Drainage: Improperly installed or maintained gutter systems can cause water penetration and air quality issues over the long-term.
- Heating/Cooling Systems: Poorly installed, maintained, un-insulated, or under-insulated ductwork can cause water penetration and air quality issues over the long term.
- Occupants: Habits of the occupants themselves can contribute to air quality issues over the long term (uncleanliness, neglect, not using AC/dehumidifiers, pet urine, etc…)
Tape Lifts vs. Air Samples
What are tape lifts?
If a section of mold was observed in a basement bathroom, for example, a tape lift could be used to identify the mold. A ‘tape lift’ is just as it sounds; we take a small piece of standard ‘scotch tape’ and ‘lift’ the spores from the surface mold. We send this sample to a lab to identify the species of molds found. Here at Builder Buddy, we rarely take tape lifts as they are not as helpful in evaluating the overall air quality in the home as air samples. The experienced mold inspector or testing technician can often visually identify the most common types of mold.
Air Quality Issues: Surface Molds vs. Hidden Moisture Damage
People that have less experience with air quality issues in the home often become fixated on surface molds or mold that can be seen with the eyes. The mold that we typically see in our kitchens and bathrooms are just ‘surface molds’ growing on moist surfaces that need to be cleaned or removed. Anyone can ‘mitigate’ these kinds of molds with household cleaning materials. Better cleaning and ventilation of these spaces will typically address these issues- read an article on bathroom fan vents and mold found on bathroom ceilings here.
More serious mold issues are found in finished basements, for example, where we might see mold growing on the drywall or other finished materials close to the floor. These molds can’t just be ‘cleaned’ on the surface because the real problem is water penetration entering from the outside and pushing through the foundation wall. This moisture gets trapped behind the finishes and starts to decay materials and cause air quality issues. The visible mold found, in this case, is just a symptom of a much deeper and more complicated issue. Many molds will spore or become more visible on drier surfaces meaning that conditions behind the visible surface may be much worse. In many cases, we don’t see any visual evidence of mold, but we still suspect an air quality issue based on smells, water stains, and moisture readings.
Determining the difference between surface molds and molds caused by hidden moisture damage can take time and effort. A home inspector specializing in mold testing is one of the best resources for homeowners concerned about air quality in the home.
What can affect a Mold Test?
We expect higher spore counts during Summer during periods of higher humidity. We also expect higher spore counts after rainy periods when basements and crawl spaces may experience more water penetration. We expect spore counts to be lower in the Winter when the air is dryer. Spore counts in the home can vary depending on the Season, Weather, pets/occupants and their living habits, and many other factors. Sometimes a wet piece of clothing from the outside can significantly affect a test result. Dehumidification can reduce moisture and the number of spores in the home (which is good); however sometimes dehumidifiers can be placed to hide moisture issues intentionally– unfortunately, this is always a limitation.
Can a musty smell indicate a mold or air quality issue?
The nose is an excellent tool for diagnosing air quality issues and often alerts us to look closer for other causes and symptoms.
About Builder Buddy Inspections & Testing
Builder Buddy is an Asheville-based inspection and testing company – our specialty is education, and our mission is to help people buy, sell and maintain their homes. Builder Buddy is known for inspections and testing of all kinds in and around Asheville and Western North Carolina. We have three home inspectors on staff and an office manager ready to take your call. We are licensed and insured and used state-of-the-art inspection and CRM software.
Why are we different from other home inspection companies?
Thorough and knowledgeable Home Inspectors.
We spend more time on-site, writing reports, and following up with our clients than our competitors. Our highly trained state-certified inspectors have been chosen for their construction experience, professionalism, communication, and passion for learning. Our home inspectors are full-time W2 employees (not subcontractors) and are trained extensively for one year within the company (even after licensing), and then continue with regular reviews and advanced training above and beyond state requirements to ensure all of our inspections and testing our performed to a consistent and high level of quality.
Relevant, timely, and intuitive Inspection Reports.
We always deliver our inspection reports the same or the next day. We know how to communicate the difference between cosmetic items and expensive repairs. We strive to bring important information forward in our reports and presentations– especially when it comes to safety, structural issues, water damage, and other expensive repairs or maintenance items. Our color-coded HTML reports include additional diagrams, blogs, explainer videos, and more to help our clients understand our findings better.
Our full-time office manager, three home inspectors, 24/7 online help desk, and CRM software are here to help. We pride ourselves on communicating before, during, and after the inspections. We will remain available to you until all your questions are answered. We are happy to set up video or phone calls after the inspection for clients that have more questions or were unable to be present at the inspection.
We focus on Education
Our passion is education, and our mission is to help people buy, sell and maintain homes in WNC and beyond. We have over 200 articles, videos, and other resources to help our buyers before, during, and after a home inspection.
Whenever I am asked what is the best training for a home inspector, I am bound to reply – house renovator. No other trade gives a person the breadth and depth of experience for looking at old houses – and learning to expect and anticipate anything. Even the builders are less experienced since they seldom see their productions ten or twenty years down the road. Perhaps if they did, they might build differently.
– Keith Peddie author of House Assessment and He Found What?
Asheville and WNC area Mold Testing and Mold Inspections
Builder Buddy has Certified Mold Testing Technicians on staff and is your resource for Mold Testing, Mold Inspections, Air sampling, Tape lifts, Air quality Testing and more.
Schedule online or call with questions.