A lot of questions are fielded on which form of testing would be more suited for an individuals needs for their home. But there is many factors that go into answering this question. First let’s take a look into each form of mold testing.
Air Sampling’s function is to capture and quantify a broad spectrum of fungal spores (both culturable and non-culturable) present in the air. To assess whether the levels present suggest a fungal problem in the indoor locations. Spore trap samplers are capable of capturing a majority of spores and particulate matter in the air. Consequently, it is possible to accurately characterize problem environments where spores are present but either are no longer viable or are species that do not culture well.
Surface Sampling is taken by tape lift imprint, by swabbing the suspect surface with a culturette swab, or by submitting a bulk sample of the suspect surface. While culturing a surface sample may help resolve a specific identification problem, used alone such a culture may result in an inaccurate characterization of the surface sampled. A direct microscopic examination of a surface shows exactly what is there, without being affected by an organism’s ability to compete and grow on sampling media.
So without getting technical and making it too confusing, here’s some basic principles:
If you suspect mold but cannot see it, or are having respiratory issues in your home without the presence of mold, Air Sampling is beneficial. If you see something on a surface that looks like mold but are unsure or want to know if your attic/basement joists have any growth, then Surface Sampling is the better choice.
Obviously choosing both is the ultimate option as it will better your chances of getting the most accurate test for any surface or situation.