During the shelter-in-place orders, so many of us are spending more time at home than ever before. This has brought on a home improvement and decorating boom, along with another rather mixed blessing: the opportunity to uncover hidden problems. In my case, it was a slow water leak from a skylight.

For months, I’ve been ignoring some cracks and small bubbles in my bathroom ceiling near the skylight. After one of the recent rainstorms, the problem became more noticeable. I decided to poke a broom handle around the area and it was spongy. As my husband and I tore out the ceiling, we discovered mold in an area that extended several feet in all directions.

Before starting the repair process, we knew we had to test the mold. Companies will do this for you, but we opted to use a DIY mold test as a first step. After reading multiple reviews, I found a company called DIY Mold that makes an easy-to-use lab test. The kit explained how to safely take a sample using personal protective equipment (PPE) and send it back to the company. The instructions were very clear.

The DIY kit price (around $50) included lab fees, a written report (which was delivered within a week) and a follow-up telephone consultation (if needed). We were happy to find out that the two samples we sent in showed low and very low fungal growth. There were hyphal fragments (part of a spore’s life cycle indicating a mold colony) and basidiospores, which are usually found indoors and commonly called dry rot, according to the report.

So, it looks like we can go ahead with patching up the ceiling after treating the wood beams with a special sealant. We’re going to replace the old skylight with a better one, too!

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