Mold Testing in San Diego

How much does a professional mold testing cost in San Diego?

In our experience, professional mold testing costs vary from $200-$400 depending on the scope. When mold testing is required or requested, we direct our clients to a third party lab for scientific analysis. The labs sends out a technician to collect the sample on site, and turns around the results in 24 to 48 hours. The labs report will identify what strain(s) were present in the sample. Traditionally, we refer our clients to the three leading companies in San Diego that administer mold sample testing.

We are happy to point you in the right direction, just email us and we will shoot you over an updated pricing sheet and contact list. We believe these folks are well equipped to do a great job for a fair price.  Their suite of services vary, along with their pricing. We believe there is a potential for conflict when a mold remediation company collects samples or is involved in any way with the economics associated with mold testing. We believe the prudent thing to do is remove ourselves from the entire mold testing process and let dedicated technicians and the labs they represent deal directly with the client or insurance adjuster. We would be weary of any restoration companies that remain keen on getting involved in the mold testing activities and/or economics.

Mold restoration companies and mold testing companies are not the same. We are a mold restoration company. That means we identify, remediate and refurbish mold contaminated areas. Alternatively, mold testing companies are essentially scientific labs that direct either their internal or third party technicians take samples and bring the samples back to the lab for analysis. These samples are then grown and evaluated, subsequently the lab remains equipped to issue a report within 48 to 72 hours that details not only the presences of mold, but what strains are present and in what quantities.

We recommend calling at least two (preferably more) mold testing companies to ask the following questions:

Questions to ask the mold testing company

  • What credentials do you have to perform mold testing?
  • What certifications do your technicians maintain?
  • How many mold inspections did the technician who will inspect my property conduct in the last year? How long he/she been in this line of work?
  • What are the costs associated with the initial inspection? (Is the cost structure the same for both the initial and final inspection?)
  • What is your philosophy regarding mold sampling? (Tip: You’re looking for conflicts of interest here. Does the mold laboratory always recommend mold testing? Or are there situations where he/she says mold testing is not needed?)
  • What are the costs of each air and/or surface mold sample?
  • How many mold samples do you normally take? (Tip: typically, no more than two samples are required)
  • Do you perform mold remediation? (Tip: Potential conflict of interest! If they also perform remediation, they have a vested interest in finding mold to remediate)
  • How long has your mold lab been in business and what are the lab’s qualifications?
  • Do you have references on Yelp! from the past year that I can review?
  • What are your payment terms? (Tip: Be cautious of paying up front for the entire job – in California, the state limits upfront payment to 10% of the total estimated job cost or $1,000, whichever is less! )

Can I Use Home Mold Test Kits Instead of A Mold Inspection? No, and here is why:

Seemingly all stand-up mold restoration companies strongly opposed to consumer grade mold test kits. In short, home mold test kits are a waste of money. Here is what our experience has led us to conclude:

Mold test results can be misleading, are sometimes flat out wrong. We cannot tell you how many times frustrated clients that are receiving both false positive and false negative results from consumer grade testing kits have greeted us at the door befuddled. In reality, these samples can only be accurately taken and interpreted in conjunction with a thoughtful sampling plan, augmented by a visual inspection conducted by a trained professional. A visual inspection requires an acute understanding of building materials that could likely moisture catalyst and many other factors that will not instantly occur to your average property owner. We have recently encountered some home mold test kits that encourage the property owners to take the sample and pay extra to mail it off to their lab for “full scientific analysis”. This approach has the potential to provide more accurate and meaningful results, however the conditions by which the sample was taken are rarely disseminated to the lab in their entirety and therefore creates a substantially increased margin of error, especially when compared to having the perceived contaminated area sampled by a trained professional.


Mold testing is a bit of a three legged stool, each leg needs to be acutely defined in order to be considered actionable information. The three legs incorporate:

  1. Presence
  2. Strains
  3. Density

It is not just about the presence of mold, it is not just about the strains, it is about the density of the mold spores. Obtaining an accurate report that details the density is critical and requires a trained technician to consistently take accurate samples.

Consumer Reports states that home mold test kits are “Not Recommended”.

Several years ago, Consumer Reports evaluated four different types of home mold testing kits and rated all of them “Not Recommended,” the commentary below explains their position on home mold test kits:

“In some samples, the vials with media leaked over entire kit. In one, an unopened kit was moldy. No expiration dates on the kit; old media could affect the accuracy and reliability of the results. Label claims that kit can identify toxic mold, but the report the lab sends can’t tell you this. One unused plate came back positive for mold growth, indicating contamination at some point; not very reassuring for post remediation use.”

Consumer based mold test kits appear to be ill equipped to provide consistent and dependable answers. The primary challenge with these kits is that they simply test for the presence of mold in the home. The mold testing kits that we are aware of are simply “settling plates”, which incorporates placing a petri dish open in the home for an undefined amount of time. This is comparable to placing a slice of bread on the counter and seeing if mold will grow on it. As we all know, given an adequate amount of time, mold will appear and start consuming any perishable good, in nearly any environment.  Therefore, a “settling plate” petri dish is only equipped to you what you should already know, mold, to some extent or another is present – it certainly will not verify the fact you have or do not have a mold problem with any amount of scientific accuracy.

It is important to remember that mold is omnipresent – it is everywhere! All residential and commercial structures have mold in them. Mold is present not just inside, but it is also in the outside air. Mold spores float around all day, searching for their next meal. If you open a petri dish that contains a moist medium that will serve as an ideal host for and a single mold spore, it is more than likely that you will get mold growing on the petri dish. Let us assure you, this is not helpful information!

The bottom line is that these mold test kits generate revenue for seemingly nefarious companies that choose to manufacture them and in our experience they simply create fear and do not provide any material value for the consumer. Moreover, the most important part of a mold inspection is not the mold sample itself; alternatively it is the inspection of the area in identifying the sources of moisture and confirming the presence of mold. What is particularly interesting to note is that, in most cases, mold testing (including black mold testing) is not even necessary!