Surface Sampling in Ottawa and Montreal

The purpose of mold surface sampling is to determine whether or not a suspected surface (visible black spots, water stain, discoloration, etc.) is contaminated with mold—not to assess indoor air quality.

There are three main mold surface sampling techniques: tape, swab and bulk samples.

Video: Types of Mold

Tape sampling

Tape samples, or tape lifts, are often used to test one specific area for the presence of mold. They can identify the types of mold present as well as their concentrations; however, they do so only for the surface tested, not for the entire indoor environment. As such, they cannot be used to assess indoor air quality.

How it works

We position the adhesive side of a clear piece of tape (1 to 2 inches in length) over the suspected area and press firmly, without rubbing the tape back and forth. We gently pull the tape off of the surface and carefully put it onto a microscope slide. We then place the microscope slide into a box and immediately ship it to an accredited laboratory for microbial analysis.

Swab surface sampling

Swabs are a good option when the sampling area is difficult to reach, when a bulk sample is not practical, or when the suspected surface is very wet and the sample will not adhere to the tape.

Generally fast and inexpensive, swab samples will give you a definite, yes-or-no answer regarding the presence of mold; however, much like tape lifts, they cannot be used to assess or monitor indoor air quality.

How it works

We collect a sample from the suspected area by rolling the swab gently over the surface. Once the sample is taken, we place the swab in a media tube and close the cap firmly. The swab sample is then sent off to an accredited lab for immediate analysis.

Bulk surface sampling

Bulk sampling involves testing a physical piece of material (e.g. drywall) for mold. It can confirm or deny the presence of mold as well as identify the types of mold growing and the concentration of mold spores on the area tested.

How it works

We cut a 2 inch x 2 inch piece of the suspected material (e.g. drywall), place it inside a clean plastic bag and send it to an accredited lab for analysis. The results of the bulk sample will show the concentration of mold spores per cm2.

For more information about different mold testing techniques, contact the experts at Mold Busters.