As you probably can guess we get a lot of calls for mold inspections here at Pinnacle Property Inspection Services.  This is obviously a business and needs to make money.  Luckily for all my clients I believe a home should be qualified before doing a full mold inspection.  That is exactly what I explained to my new client from the Skokie home inspection.  Just because you want a mold inspection does not mean you need one.  Mold inspections can be expensive because of all the lab fees and such. I explained to my client that I would have my mold testing equipment on the truck if we needed it but I suggested letting me do my thermal home inspection before moving forward with the mold inspection.

While I was performing the home inspection in the Skokie, Illinois home I was looking for all type of tells that would lead me to informing my client that he might want to purchase a mold inspection.  The items that would alarm me would be ~

  • Mold like substance would be the biggest reason for purchasing a mold test.  Visually seeing any type of mold might be a good reason to purchase a mold test.
  • Water infiltration in an attic, crawl space, basement or any other area in a home is a good reason for moving forward with a mold test.
  • High relative humidity a.k.a. (RH) can be found in crawl spaces, attics, bathrooms and basements can be a a reason to get a mold inspection service.
  • Musty or foul smells coming from areas in walls may be a good reason to purchase a mold inspection.

If you are very sensitive to mold or mildew and your eyes water or you begin to cough that is the best result that might be from mold or mildew in the home that will need to be identified.  The Skokie home inspection has some seepage from the foundation walls that was allowing moisture into the home.  The drywall in the basement had a mildew like substance that was dry and could be cleaned off with soap and water.

The remedy of the mold removal to the areas that could be seen were  easy enough but the hidden made my client from the Skokie home inspection nervous and he wanted me to perform a mold inspection to give him as much information as we could.  Mold can hide in places that we can’t see so I believe his choice was the right one.

If you are wondering if you need a mold inspection follow this list prior to hiring a mold inspection service  to perform mold testing in your home.  Mold testing can cost anywhere from $100.00 to $750.00 depending on how many locations need testing.

If you need help with these issues any other issues pertaining to your home or building please contact me at ~ The Thermal Home Inspector or 312-961-4228.

Thanks for stopping by and stay safe.

Jim Kolke

If you are buying a condo and the unit has a balcony make sure that the proper flashings were installed to prevent water from entering under your hardwood flooring.  How do you know if you have water under your hardwood flooring?  The hardwood flooring seams will start to raise and crown.  This is generally a “tell tale” sign that there will be issues.  That was definitely the case at the condo home inspection in Chicago, Illinois’s Irving Park neighborhood.

Hardwood floors are installed on creepers (4″ strips of plywood that is nailed to the concrete base) in multi-unit condo buildings.  The concrete needs room to “breath” otherwise their will be issues with the flooring.  Also, it is impossible to assemble tongue and grove material on concrete and still nail it to the surface.  This process of installing the hardwood flooring properly was used at the home inspection in Chicago.

When I started to walk on the floor in the condo I didn’t notice an issue with the flooring until I walked closer to the balcony door.  There was a concrete balcony with a drain in the center.  The issue was the flashing.  I took out my Fluke thermal imager and started to scan the flooring.  The damage was larger than I thought.  The water was definitely entering from the balcony of the home inspection in Chicago.  The water pattern seen with the Fluke thermal imager was traveling under the flooring into the bedroom and to the living room of the condo inspection in Irving Park.  The only way we can be definite that this is water damage is to test the areas with a Tramex floor moisture meter.  The moisture meter’s alarm went off ,meaning that the water that was found was at above 30%.  This amount of moisture is a perfect breeding ground for mold.

On further review with other tenants of the building, I found that this was not an isolated incident.  Every tenant had the same issue!  In fact a contractor that uses thermal imagers was hired to scan the whole building to see if there were other areas water was entering.  It seems that the home inspection for the condo in Chicago had explained why thermal imagers are a must in ALL home inspections.

If you own a condo/home or you are getting ready to purchase a home or condo and have questions of how thermal imagers work please contact us at~

If this blog was helpful please leave a comment or question if  you have a question about your home or condo.  Thanks~ Jim Kolke

One of the most asked questions when I’m in a basement is “has this basement had water?”  A large percentage of the homes we inspect are 25 years old or more. So telling my clients that the property hasn’t had water damage in 25 years, I had better be real sure what I tell them.  This question did come up on the home inspection in Arlington Heights, Illinois.  My clients hired me to inspect a home that was built in 1967. The home was a solid built raised ranch that is frequently seen through out the Chicago land area.

We were in the basement and the water question did come up and I explained that it is almost impossible to tell if the home had water intrusion in 43 years. What I could tell them, was if there was any recent water damage in the basement of the  home inspection in Arlington Heights. I scanned the whole basement with a Fluke thermal imager to see if there were any areas showing temperature variances.  The next test was to do a visual inspection of the baseboards and drywall of the basement walls to see if there were any water stains that stood out.

In the case of the home inspection in Arlington Heights there were water stains 3″ off of the floor.  They were definitely old stains.  How old?  I couldn’t  tell, honestly.  I took out a radio wave moisture meter (tramex)  that I used to scan the basement foundation perimeter to see if there were any readings detected.  The meter came up negative for moisture readings. My clients from the home inspection in Arlington Heights were still seeking the answer to the “has the basement had water before?” question.

By following “due diligence” and probing deep into the basement the answer was “yes”.  The reason I gave was the sump pump gave out years past and there wasn’t any mold or water issues at this time.  My recommendation was to put a battery back up sump pump to insure that this didn’t happen again. The back-up pump will start up if the 1st pump fails.  This will provide protection also when the electricity is lost with the battery back up.

If you have questions on your home or a home you are buying has water intrusion issues, contact us at~  Jim Kolke

People seem to be scared about mold these days more than ever.  I totally understand!  Homes that people desire are deterred when mold issues come up and clients are not educated. We recently received a call for a home inspection in Rolling Meadows, Illinois by the owner of the home. We call this a pre-listing inspection.  ( This is an inspection you would do prior to listing your home to see if there are any major items that could possibly cause issues with the sale of the home.)

On arrival to the home inspection in Rolling Meadows, I met the home owner and she let me in to “do my thing”.  The first thing I did in this home inspection in Rolling Meadows was to scan the property with the thermal imager to see if there was any water issues that couldnt be seen with the naked eye.  No water intrusion came up.

I got my gear and headed to the attic of the home inspection in Rolling Meadows. As I started to head up into the attic, I saw a black coating on the roof sheathing.  My first thought was mold. I crawled over to see that it was not mold, but  just ordinary air contaminants that had landed on the sheathing.

Homes that are built near water ways can have a higher contaminant count due to the moisture from the water way.  In the case of the home inspection in Rolling Meadows that was the case.

I supplied a report for my client who asked me to come back and inform the potential buyer what the real issue was.  I scheduled a time and sat down with the buyer and educated them on the concerns that were misinformed to them.

The buyers bought the house and call us time to time for home tips.  If you think you have issues like this and need help contact us at —

Recently while doing a home inspection in Hinsdale, Illinois the deal killer word was brought up immediately on arrival-mold.  My clients liked the style of the home (Victorian, who doesn’t like this style?) but heard that there was a mold issue.  Now the question is active or not active?   We happen to use infrared thermal imagers for all of our inspections, so this was not a problem to diagnose.

I started to scan the home with the imager with no positive readings for water infiltration or any other anomalies.  My next place to look in at this home inspection in Hinsdale was the attic. Low and behold I find a bathroom fan not vented to open air( through the attic and through the roof line).

I start to scan the attic’s sheathing with the imager with no positives for water penetration.  With further review, I see that there is a surface mold starting to develop in this home inspection in Hinsdale.  My next question is -How bad is it?  I take a towel and see that it wipes off.  I inspect the whole attic with no other issues found.

When I come down from the attic, the listing realtor states that the home owner had  a new roof installed 1 year ago. My client informed the realtor about the issue with the bathroom venting and surface mold.

There were no other mold issues found at the home inspection in Hinsdale and the mold issues found were found before they became very costly repairs.

If you think that you might have issues similar to this please contact us for help at  Jim Kolke