Mold Testing vs. Mold Inspection:
What Is The Difference?
A mold inspection involves an inspector physically looking in all accessible areas of a house or building for visible mold and for moisture or water issues which could result in mold growth. Sometimes the mold growth is very evident and other times the evidence, such as water stains on ceilings or walls, presents the strong possibility of mold growth in areas which are not visible or accessible. Mold testing is helpful in these cases and the inspector will take either air or surface samples which are then sent to a professional lab for evaluation.
Air sampling is done by drawing air through a spore trap which has a sticky surface to catch spores. The air is drawn through the trap using a special small motorized air pump made for this purpose. The laboratory analyzes the spore trap and will provide a spore count and may even identify the types of molds caught in the trap. Air sampling is also known as Air Quality Testing but Air Quality Testing can also involve testing for more than just mold.
Surface sampling is another method of testing for mold. In this case the test involves analyzing surfaces in the home or building for mold growth or to determine the type of mold growth present. Bulk sampling refers to removing a piece of material from the house or building (such as stained sheetrock) and sending the material to the lab for testing. Using specialized lab quality sampling swabs, Swab sampling is done by swabbing a measured area and sending the swabs onto to the lab. Tape sampling is a more common method of testing surfaces for mold and is done using clear tape, specifically designed for mold testing, pressed against the suspected surface and sent on to a lab for analysis.