Broadly speaking, most mold testing involves taking a sample of either the air or a surface. Essentially, a mold inspector "tests" the air or surface to find out what kind of mold exists and/or if the mold found is able to grow in the area tested.

Mold Testing: Air Samples

Air samples can be taken and analyzed in a variety of ways. The most common method uses a "spore trap" and is called a "spore trap sample." Spore traps work by having a known volume of air pass impact a sticky surface as it passes through the spore trap sampling device. Most of the particles in the air also impact this sticky surface and consequently adhere to, and are captured on, this sticky surface. Mold spores comprise a subset of these 'particles in the air' and also are captured on the sticky medium inside the spore trap. When the spore trap is sent to the mold testing laboratory for analysis, the mold laboratory opens the spore trap, applies some stains to the sticky surface that the mold spores can absorb, and then identifies and quantifies the types of mold spores captured during the sampling process. There are other methods of mold sampling, including culturing or growing the mold spores captured from the air, but these are less commonly used.

Mold Testing: Surface Samples

Surface samples can be taken in a variety of ways. The three most common methods are:

  1. Bulk samples. A piece of the sampled area is physically removed and sent to the mold testing laboratory,

  2. Swab samples. Something akin to a cotton swab is rubbed across the area being sampled, often a measured area, and subsequently sent to the mold testing laboratory, and

  3. Tape samples. A piece of clear tape is pressed against and removed from the area being sampled, presumably picking up and removing part of any mold that was present on the surface, and then set to the mold testing laboratory for analysis.

After the mold samples arrive at the AEML laboratories, there are many ways to analyze these mold samples. The most common methods involve transferring relevant sections (or all) of the submitted mold sample onto a glass microscope slide, adding a stain that mold spores can absorb, and then evaluating the sample for evidence of mold growth.

AEML provides quality analyses of Fungal Spore identification.  The company was founded by Chemists and Microbiologists with over 50 years of experience.

AEML Mycologists always read 100% of the trace at 600x with a standard turn around time of 24 hours.  In most cases results are available the same day.


You’ve Got Questions - I’ve Got Answers


It depends. Sometimes mold testing is not necessary. For example, if there is a known roof leak that led to mold growth in a known, confined area, you should take appropriate actions, including fixing the roof leak and having the mold removed in an appropriate and safe manner.

Aspergillus and Stachybotrys on support beams.
Source: Eurofins EMLab P&K

There are many situations where taking a mold sample does not add any value and is not necessary. However, if you are purchasing a new home and suspect that evidence of a water problem or a mold problem may have been covered up, then mold testing might be helpful. So whether you should have mold testing performed depends on your actual situation, your budget and other concerns. Here are situations for you to consider:

Situation #1
If the mold testing results will not affect what you do, then you probably don't need mold testing. From our two examples above:

  • With the roof leak, testing and identifying the mold would not change the fact that you should fix the leak and have the mold removed.

  • With the home purchase, having evidence of unusually high levels of mold spores in the house could significantly change the terms of the real estate transaction or even whether the transaction continues.

Stachybotrys and small amount of Alternaria on unpainted drywall.
Source: Eurofins EMLab P&K

Situation #2
Mold tests are not perfect. False negative and false positive results do somtimes occur. Mold testing results are one piece of information, sometimes an important piece. But other pieces of information are also needed and are often more important and should take precedence over the mold testing results. For example, a good visual inspection of the property is usually essential for a good mold investigation and often more important than the mold testing results.

Penicillium and Cladosporium colonization on subflooring and supports.
Source: Eurofins EMLab P&K

So sometimes mold testing is not necessary. But if you want peace of mind for your specific situation, you should consult with a Florida Licensed Mold Assessor


We are licensed and insured to complete Home and Mold inspections as well as Mold Remediations in the State of Florida. Insurance Documents and Proof of License available upon request. License information available at

Home Inspector   #HI9020

Mold Assessor     #MRSA3478

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