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Question DetailsAsked on 1/18/2014

How much to check inside walls for mold in a bathroom? Building built in the 1970s.

For someone who's paranoid about mold, what is the cost for looking inside bathroom walls? Building is 70s vintage.

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1 Answer


You don't say why you are so afraid of mold being there - do you have specific cause in this room, or is this a general adversion to mold.

Will it put your mind at rest if I tell your there IS mold there ? The issue should not be if it is there (there is always mold everywhere - it is in the air and you are breathing mold spores in all the time, pretty much any towel or washcloth left wet for more than a few hours is growing mold in small quantities, and there will generally be at least a bit visible in bathroom and most kitchen walls or ceilings (and basements and attics and sheds and showers and poolhouses and ducts, etc, etc, etc), due to the moist environments, but the issue is whether it is getting into the house, and whether it is enough to worry about. Certainly, what is naturally in the air and carpets and such does not appear to have killed you yet (unless the zombies actually have taken over the world as Hollywood seems to think), and minor amounts in the ceiling or walls will not cause you more harm unless you are one of the very small number of people who is highly susceptible to mold - due to mold specific allergies, or severe asthmatic condition.

If there is no mold on the bathroom walls growing through the paint into the drywall, then you likely do not have mold created by the bathroom moisture in the walls. If your bathroom fan is sealed at the drywall, there is likely no significant mold up there. If there are outside siding leaks letting water in you may have local mold spots in the walls, but unless you have lots of water coming in and running down inside the walls, or open cracks around the drywall joints in corners or at the ceiling, it is not getting into your breathing space in measureable quantity.

What I am saying is, unless you have good reason to suspect mold, don't go looking for it.

If you still want to, three ways I can think of to check the situation out:

1) tear siding or interior drywall off and look - of course, this means a lot of cost. Could do piecemeal for a "statistical" look, but if you are paranoid about mold that would not not be enough to put your mind at ease, so you would want a complete tearoff - might as well make it the inside drywall and tile or surround, then do a complete remodel so at least you are getting something for your money.

2) if bathroom walls/ceiling are accessible from above, or walls/floor from below, or through walls/ceiling from bathroom, you could spend probably $1000 or so (with repair and repainting of drill holes) to have about 1/2 inch holes drilled into the walls and ceiling or floor every 16 or 24 inches (every stud/joist space) and a COLOR (B&W is useless for finding slightly wet spots or light mold) video inspection made. Only really useful in walls without insulation, so outside wall you might be able to push the insulation back for a foot or two from the hole to inspect, but nothing like a full view.

3) have your walls inspected from both sides with color-imaging infrared scanner - which will not show mold as such unless it is very heavy growth (more into fungus mode), but can show areas of high moisture which would support mold, leading you to more likely areas for a spot physical in-wall inspection - probably about $200 for a 1-2 room scan, plus $100-200 to remove select drywall areas (about 6-12 inch hole) to inspect inside of drywall and insulation for mold, plus about $250-400 to repair holes and repaint after wards, assuming you re not going to tear out entirely based on results.

Other alternative is to do some research and maybe talk to your doctor about mold hazards and how modl is eerywhere, but unless actively spreading spores in quantity into your breathing air, is not really dangerous. After all, if you are walking on lawns, take a walk in the woods, ever sprawled out on a haystack or bales of hay or worked in a barn, you have been exposed to far more mold than you will ever see in a house, unless the house has visible mold growth (usually black mold) on interior walls.

Answered 6 years ago by LCD

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