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What To Look For

What should I look for during an inspection?


A visual inspection is the most reliable method of identifying mould problems. The most common signs of water damage will be discolouration and staining. Moulds will most often appear as dark spots, stains or patches. If you find a suspicious spot, you can do a check to see if it is mould or fungi by dabbing the spot with a small amount of chlorine bleach. If the colour changes or disappears, the stain is "likely organic and probably mould" (Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation, 1999).

While conducting the inspection, be sure to look at, in, or under the following places:

  • ceiling tiles
  • walls including wallpaper, and condition of drywall (Sheetrock (R) [USG], gypsum wall board)
  • floors,
  • window sills
  • insulation,
  • carpet,
  • furniture (condition of fabric, upholstery, etc.),
  • if possible, look behind duct work and walls (a mirror will help)
  • condition of any cardboard or paper present

Also look for "standing water" - puddles of water around and under sinks, tubs, drip pans for dehumidifiers, air conditioners, and refrigerators that can be contributing to the moisture in the building and provide conditions where mould can grow.

Monitoring devices are available which can measure the moisture level of drywall, wood, etc. These devices will help indicate whether or not moisture levels exists that would promote the growth of mould.


Test kits are very useful to see the levels of mould in the air.