DIY Network

How to Check for and Solve Mold Problems

There is a variety of equipment that can be used to check for moisture problems. Use these step-by-step instructions to learn how to check for mold and get rid of it.

More in Remodeling

  • Time


  • Price Range

    $50 - $100

  • Difficulty


Here's What You Need To Do:

Step 1: Check for Moisture and Mold

Use a wet-wall detector (Image 1), which works much like a stud finder and will read moisture up to 3-/12" deep inside the wall cavity.

A pen-type tester (Image 2) can also be used to check for moisture. This tester has longer probes to go into the wall cavity -- knock holes in the walls for probes, stick it into the wall and read the meter.

Drill a hole in the wall to put in a desiccant (silica gel) spike. Insert it into the wall cavity and run tape over the top. Check over several hours later and if descant changes from a yellow to a green color, then you have a moisture and possibly a mold problem.

Step 2: Bag Off the Area

Bag off the entire area with poly sheeting.

Set up a fan blowing out to create a negative pressure -- any dust created will be blown outside.

bag off entire area with poly sheeting

Step 3: Remove the Insulation

Tap a row of holes in the drywall with a hammer and break it off in chunks.

Remove the insulation, put it into garbage bags and tape them shut before discarding to keep the mold contained.

If you don't have more than about 2 square feet of mold you generally don't have a health hazard -- but you will need to clean up the mold.

Let the area completely dry for about three to five days.

removing the insulation

Step 4: Clean the Area

Use a putty knife and vacuum to remove any loose dirt.

Use a pressure sprayer (Image 1) with a mixture of 50 percent water and 50 percent bleach, which will kill any living organisms on the base of the studs and the floor.

Scrub the area with a stiff brush (Image 2) and clean it up with a mop.



  • Desiccant spike moisture indicator from Autumn River Inc.