Mold infestations represent a common problem in many homes. Left unchecked, they cause several issues that drastically affect the structural integrity of a house and the health of everyone inside it. Fortunately, there are just as many ways to fix a mold problem as there are causes.
Sometimes, however, sufferers of a mold outbreak find themselves wondering whether it is really worth the hassle of dealing with it. This may cause them to look for quick or short-term solutions. Today, we will explore the tempting question of whether you can and should paint over mold.
Should You Paint Over Mold?
Put simply: No, you should never paint over mold.
It can be tempting, as it seems like an excellent quick-fix to a very unsightly problem. Mold is a surface issue that looks horrible and ruins a room’s aesthetic. A quick lick of paint will easily hide the black splotches and render the case moot.
The problem is that this doesn’t address the root cause of mold formation. You may no longer be able to see the black and green streaks as they climb the walls, but that doesn’t mean they’re not there. Worse still, their presence is more than just one of aesthetics. Mold constitutes a much bigger problem than just an unsightly stain. Painting over it does not remove the issue. It doesn’t even slow it down.
What Happens if You Paint Over Mold?
Painting over mold ultimately achieves little. Much like bandaging a broken leg, it will hide the unsightly signs of damage but otherwise do nothing to fix the problem. The freshly-painted wall will look clean and new for a while. However, the mold will quickly grow through these new layers, and you’ll be right back to square one.
Mold is a fungal growth that settles into the materials of your home. It grows into cracks and seams or forms its paths to take root. The more significant problem has already spread deeper beneath the surface by the time you see the black circles and stains familiar with mold growth.
Painting over it will only hide the problem, as few antifungal paints are on the market. Even covered over, the mold can grow freely beneath the surface, surviving off the moisture in your home’s walls and other surfaces. Until you remove it, the mold problem will not stop. It will continue to grow back onto the surface again and again.
Locating Mold Before You Paint
If it has come time to refresh your home, you will need to be aware of the surfaces you are repainting. You don’t want your freshly decorated rooms spoiled by a recurrence of mold, so it is essential that you first check for any signs of it. Fortunately, there are many ways that you can identify mold growth in your home, such as:
- Patches of black, green, or white dots
- Damp, dark spaces
- Musty or damp unpleasant smells
- If you or your family have breathing problems or have experienced excessive allergy outbreaks
You should also take extra caution when checking a room if it has suffered from:
- Water leaks
- Is underground
- Or has an external wall on which plant life, such as vines, grows freely
If your examinations contain nothing, then you can safely paint the space. However, if you do find evidence of mold, you will need to handle it before you begin decorating.
Dealing with Mold Growths
Once you see signs of mold, consider taking the appropriate steps to remove it. You can use several different techniques to remove mold growths. Often, a few household cleaning products available at any hardware store or supermarket will do the trick. In more extreme cases, however, you may want to look at a Davis County mold clean up expert to handle it.
1. Identify the mold growth.
Once you have found signs of mold growth, you will need to determine where and how it forms. In most cases, such as in an unused or dark room or cupboard, the mold will cling beneath the surface in small patches. For others, especially those involving large leaks, the damage will be much more severe and require more work to remove.
2. Repair the cause of the mold growth
Mold typically grows in dark, damp rooms that aren’t ventilated properly. Opening windows and doors to encourage airflow will clear any lingering mold spores. A dehumidifier run over a few days for more moist rooms will draw the worst of it out of the air.
If the cause is a much more severe leak, then this will first need to be identified and repaired. It is often best to seek a professional plumber to correct pipework damage or prevent further water from entering the space.
3. Clean and dry the area
When the area is dry, mold can no longer grow. This is when you should apply antifungal cleaning chemicals to kill the surface growths and roots. Options such as small amounts of bleach mixed with detergent or vinegar/vodka and water solution will suffice, but what you need will vary depending upon the material of the surface.
For smaller growths, using a mixture of dehumidifiers and towels can stop further mold growth by removing its nutrition.
Once the mold growth reaches a large enough area, it runs the risk of severely damaging and weakening the integrity of your home. To repair this damage, you will often need to remove and replace large portions of your home, which is best left to a professional. With larger growths on critical surfaces, such as house foundations or retaining walls, you may want to get in touch with a Utah mold clean up company.
4. Allow to dry and then paint.
Once the mold is clear, allow it to dry completely. After a day or two, the surface will be dry and clean enough to be painted without fear of a resurgence. It will help keep the room ventilated or dehumidified during this process to ensure no further growths can settle.
While painting over mold may seem like an easy solution to a nagging problem, trust us, it’s not. Mold will always grow deeper than you might think. When it comes time to give your home an aesthetic update, we recommend that you look carefully and clear out any mold before you start.