Mold is a common problem that can affect homes and businesses alike, causing structural damage and potential health hazards. One of the most important steps in dealing with mold is identifying the type of mold present, which requires professional testing. There are several types of mold tests available, each with its benefits and limitations. In this article, we will explore the different types of mold testing, how they work, and when they are most suitable.

Air Mold Testing

Air testing is one of the most common types of mold testing, and for a good reason. This test uses specialized equipment to collect air samples from the testing area, which are then analyzed in a lab. The lab will look for the presence of mold spores, as well as the type of mold that might be in the air.

One benefit of air testing is that it can help determine whether the mold present pose a danger to humans. If certain types of mold are detected in the air, it may indicate a serious health hazard. Air testing is also useful in situations where visual mold growth cannot be identified.

However, air testing has a few limitations. It may not reveal mold growth if it’s hidden behind walls or furniture, and it’s not always accurate at determining the exact location of mold growth. Additionally, the results of air tests must be interpreted carefully, as the presence of mold spores in the air does not necessarily mean that there is a mold problem in the building.

Surface Testing

Surface testing involves taking samples of different surfaces in a building, such as walls or floors, to determine if mold is present. A swab or tape lift may be used to collect the samples, and the samples will be analyzed in a lab to identify the type of mold.

Surface testing is useful when there is visible mold growth, helping to determine the extent of the problem and whether it is spreading. It can also be more accurate than air testing in determining the location of mold growth.

However, surface testing is not foolproof. Mold spores can be easily transferred from one surface to another, and the results of surface tests must also be analyzed carefully. It is also essential to test all parts of the building, as there may be hidden mold growth in areas that are not easily accessible.

Bulk Testing

Bulk testing involves taking physical samples of materials that may contain molds, such as drywall or insulation. The samples are sent to a lab for analysis, where they will determine the type of mold present.

Bulk testing is useful when a large area of mold growth has been identified, as it can help determine the appropriate remediation method. It can also help identify whether a specific type of material is more susceptible to mold growth than others.

However, bulk testing has limitations as well. It can be destructive, as it involves physically removing parts of the affected materials. Additionally, it may not be useful in situations where mold is not visible.

PCR Testing

PCR, or polymerase chain reaction, testing is a newer method of testing that involves analyzing DNA samples to identify mold species. This method is highly accurate and can help identify specific types of harmful mold.

PCR testing is often used in combination with air or surface testing and can detect small amounts of mold that other tests might miss. While it is a newer and more expensive method of mold testing, it is highly precise and can help identify the presence of problematic mold even before it becomes visible.

Infrared Testing

Infrared testing uses thermal imaging to detect areas with elevated moisture levels. Because mold thrives in moist environments, infrared testing can be useful in identifying areas where mold growth might be occurring.

This method is non-invasive and does not involve taking samples or physically removing materials. However, it is not a substitute for other mold tests and may not be useful if mold growth is not associated with a visible moisture source.


In conclusion, mold testing is a crucial step in dealing with mold growth in your home or business. There are many types of mold tests available, each with its benefits and limitations. Ultimately, the choice of mold test will depend on the situation and the type of mold problem you are dealing with. Working with a professional mold testing company can help ensure that you get the most accurate results and identify the most effective remediation strategy.