Before buying a home, you’ll want to inspect it for signs of moisture, which may damage the structure itself and support the growth of mold, a potential health risk. If the relative humidity, or volume of moisture in the air, is above 50 percent, then the home may have moisture problems, according to the University of Minnesota Extension. Though a professional home inspector will utilize thermal moisture measuring tools and fibre optic cameras, it is possible to identify signs of moisture yourself with no fancy technology.
Start looking for water stains on walls and flooring. Paint, wallpaper and flooring may be stained, cracking, peeling or blistered. Look behind cupboards, in crawl spaces, under carpets, in attics and on the exterior walls.
Assess inside windows for condensation, ice or frost. Also, start looking for sweating or rusted pipes, and evident water leaks like standing or seeping water around the plumbing.
Notice if the interior of the home smells musty or feels damp. Both are signs of mold, mildew or decay brought on by excess moisture.
Pay attention to deformed or rotting wood inside and out of the home. Wood swells when it suffers moisture damage, and cracks or cups as soon as it dries out. Rotting wood is a indication that the moisture problem is much more complex. Darker wood may appear lighter with dark veins running through it, while normally light-colored wood may have brownish streaks on the surface or finish grains. The surface of rotting wood can also feel delicate, or have a steel or blue gray hue to it.
Search for signs of mold and mildew, especially in bathrooms, kitchens, laundry rooms and utility rooms. Mold and mildew appear like brownish, orange, green, black or white discolorations.
Examine any masonry or concrete areas for chipping, crusting or powdery buildup. Excess moisture may cause deterioration as the freeze-and-thaw cycle happens. Search for damage both inside and out.