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How To's

If you would like us to test for mold or asbestos in your home, please follow the instructions below in how to collect a mold or asbestos sample.  Our analytical lab performs these tests for home owners, contractors, businesses, and government agencies. 

Located in Anoka, Minnesota, and Chesterton, Indiana, we service homeowners and businesses in the St. Paul and Minneapolis area, greater Minnesota, Iowa, North and South Dakota, Wisconsin, and the Chicago area.

How to collect and mail a mold sample

STEP 1 - CHOOSE THE MOLD SAMPLE AREA

Choose at least one spot of mold growth on a surface such as a wall, cabinet, ceiling or floor.

There are always multiple mold species present in any environment. We sample mold which looks different (color, texture), which is growing on different surfaces (drywall, paneling, wood trim, ceiling tiles), or which is growing in widely different areas of the building (basement, living area, inside a wall cavity) as often these will be different species. Don't collect and send 50 samples. You're looking for: 1.) the dominant species present and 2.) particularly allergenic or toxic species present in your environment.

Have ready: tape, medical gloves (optional), and new clean plastic Ziploc freezer bags.

STEP 2 - GET SOME CLEAR TAPE

Put on a pair of latex or medical gloves. This is to keep the tape free of skin.

Pull out 1" of tape. Use CLEAR TAPE! *NOT* the FROSTED, *NOT* the INVISIBLE type. Packaging tape will work, but the "Scotch" type is strongly preferred. The kind we use in the lab is currently called "Gloss Finish MultiTask Tape" by Scotch/3M.
Do Not Tear it off yet!
FOLD the tape under against itself, sticky-side to sticky-side to form a "tab." We need this tab later in the lab to pull the tape back off of the plastic bag described below.

Holding the "Tab", now pull out and tear off 2-3" of tape. Including the "tab" the total length will be 3-4". If the tape flops over and sticks to itself throw it away and start over with a shorter piece.

STEP 3 - PUSH TAPE ONTO SAMPLE AREA

HOLD the tape by the ENDS. If you don't have gloves, DO NOT touch the center of the tape – only the very ends! PRESS the tape GENTLY onto the mold to be sampled, using VERY LIGHT pressure. The best place to sample mold is the outside edge of the growing mass or dark area.

Press the tape into the mold hard enough to get a small visible amount of mold on the tape, but do not press so hard that everything is squashed into a solid gooey mass, as that will obscure important identifying characteristics of the mold structure in the sample. A few small specks of visible mold will be enough. If you're not sure, prepare two or more samples of increasing amounts of mold on each tape (label these extras as duplicates).

Remember – DON'T TOUCH the sticky side of the tape containing the mold.

STEP 4 - STICK TAPE ONTO FREEZER BAG

Press the tape, sticky-moldy-side down, onto the OUTSIDE of the CENTER of a NEW, UNOPENED, clear Ziploc freezer bag. Freezer bags work best as they are a bit thicker and will keep the tape flat. If you use thinner baggies, and if the baggie rips and sticks to the tape sample, we will not be able to analyze it.

As you press the tape onto the bag, try to keep it smooth and relatively free of large air bubbles or wrinkles. Don't cut off the "tab" as we need it later.

Do NOT turn the bag inside out; do NOT put the tape sample inside the bag.
Do NOT stick the sample onto the white-inked write-on label that might be present on one side of the bag - the ink will ruin the sample.
Do NOT stick the moldy (sticky) side of the tape to itself, as we won't be able to get it back apart to prepare the lab slide.

I repeat because people do weird things with tape and Ziploc bags: please just stick the TAPE sample onto the CENTER of the OUTSIDE OF THE BAG.

You now have 1-2" of moldy tape stuck mold-side-down onto the center of the outside of a Ziploc bag.

STEP 5 - FOLD FREEZER BAG INTO SECOND BAG

Fold the small Ziploc bag sides over to cover the tape sample and put that folded bag containing the sample INSIDE a second (larger is good) NEW Ziploc BAG. Press gently to expel air and close and seal the outer bag. LABEL the bag with the sample's location. Be specific, so you don't have to guess where it came from later! Don't write on the tape sample itself.

WASH YOUR HANDS if you got unknown mold or debris on yourself.

STEP 6 - MAIL THE SAMPLE

Fill out a Chain of Custody Form and include with the sample(s).

Include a check made to Techtron Engineering; $35 per tape sample (duplicate/backup samples must be labeled as such, and will not be charged for, and only analyzed if needed).

QUESTIONS??? CALL 763-712-9502

We do our best to have results to you within 48 hours!

How to Collect an Asbestos Sample

**This only applies to homeowners who OWN AND LIVE in the building.**

Commercial and rental properties must be sampled by a licensed Minnesota Asbestos Inspector.

Multiple layers are analyzed and reported separately and charged as such.

For example:

  • Floor tile and glue = 2 samples.
  • Plaster: White skim coat and gray plaster base = 2 samples.
  • Ceiling texture: layers separated by paint, or using different materials (mica vs. Styrofoam)

NOTE: While it is highly recommended to wet samples down to avoid any exposure, this significantly increases turn-around time. Wet samples must be fully dried before analysis.

Turn-around times are typically 24-48 hours. Reports will not be issued until payment is received.

Supplies:

  • Ziploc baggies (heavy freezer bags suggested)
  • Sharpie to label baggies
  • Rubber gloves (optional)
  • Spray bottle of water (optional)
  • Techtron Chain of Custody

Instructions:

  1. Select an area to sample.
  2. Spray the sample area with enough water to dampen.
  3. Collect the sample (recommended size below), making sure to get all layers. Distinct layers (like floor tile) can be separated and placed in separate bags.
  4. Place sample in Ziploc bag.
  5. Label bag and fill out chain of custody.
  6. Any holes created can be sealed with duct tape (optional).
  7. Any dust or debris left behind should be wet mopped with a disposable cloth, sealed in a Ziploc bag and disposed of. NEVER use a vacuum to clean possible asbestos debris.

Recommended Sample Volumes

  • Floor tile: 2"x2"
  • Linoleum with paper backing: 1"x1"
  • Glue/mastic: nickel sized
  • Ceiling tile: 1"x1"
  • Brown ceiling tile mastic: sliver dollar size
  • Cement siding: 1"x1"
  • Popcorn ceiling texture: best to keep it intact: cut out a sample, down to the sheetrock paper, 2"x2"; if you must scrape, 2 teaspoons (more is better).

Most Common Household Materials to Test

  • Floor tile
  • Linoleum (usually in the paper backing!)
  • BLACK glue/mastic
  • BROWN ceiling tile glue/mastic, or "puck"
  • Paper insulation on ductwork
  • Ceiling texture
  • Wall texture
  • Plaster
  • Joint compound
  • Cement board siding (trade name Transite)
  • Shingles
  • Tar paper
  • Caulk
  • Window glazing
  • Boiler insulation