Can You Paint Over Mold or Mildew?

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    Homes in regions prone to high humidity are always at a higher risk of developing mold. While it's tempting to think interior house painting or exterior house painting will solve the problem, it sadly won’t. Painting over mold is a waste of time and money because it’ll reoccur if you don’t treat the actual cause; excessive moisture. Instead of explaining how to paint over mold, let’s discuss how to prevent it in the first place, what causes it and what you can do to get rid of it.

    What Is Mold?

    Mold is a type of fungus that’s part of the natural environment. It plays an important role in breaking down dead organic matter and returning nutrients to the environment. However, mold growth in the home is a health risk.

    It can trigger allergies and causes breathing issues, eye and skin irritation, coughing, and respiratory infections. Painting over black mold, or any mold for that matter, doesn’t get rid of it. In fact, mold under paint will continue to grow even after the paint dries.

    What Is Mildew?

    Mildew is a specific type of early-stage mold that appears in white and gray patches. In the home, it's likely to grow in damp areas like basements, bathroom walls, and places with past water damage.

    The main difference between mildew and mold is that mildew can be removed with household products, whereas mold requires stronger cleaning agents because its roots penetrate beneath moist surfaces. Just as it is with mold, painting over mildew does not get rid of it either.

    Why Homeowners and Landlords Shouldn’t Paint Over Mold?

    mold under paint

    We’re often asked by homeowners, “Can I paint over mold?” Yes, it’s physically possible to cover mold with paint, but it will always reappear without proper remediation. Furthermore, painting over mold poses the following risks:

    Can You Paint Over Black Mold?

    Painting over black mold is unconducive to the well-being of your health or the structural integrity of your home. There is a commonly held belief that black mold — sometimes called toxic mold — causes severe health problems because it releases mycotoxins (toxic compounds).

    Those with underlying lung disease are more susceptible to fungal infections. And individuals with chronic respiratory disease may experience difficulty breathing when continuously exposed to black mold.

    What Happens If You Paint Over Mold?

    Painting over mold invites a host of issues. Opting for a cosmetic fix will only lead to larger (avoidable) problems down the line:

    • Covering mold with paint is a waste of resources because the mold will continue to thrive and grow underneath.
    • Eventually, the paint will bubble and peel off, and the mold will be exposed once again.
    • Mold and mildew are an indication of potential moisture issues that need to be remediated before painting the surface. So, can mold be painted over? Yes, but it doesn’t solve the underlying problem.
    • What’s more, the mold you see may only be a small fraction of the actual problem. Mold infestations tend to extend far below their visible surface. Painting over mold might conceal the severity of a mold infestation.
    • Lastly, a mold infestation can severely damage a property’s resale value.

    What Causes Mold or Mildew Inside the House?

    cover mold with paint

    Mold reproduces through tiny spores; these are invisible to the naked eye and float through outdoor and indoor air. Mold will only begin growing indoors when its spores land on wet surfaces.

    No mold will grow without the presence of water or moisture. So unless you eradicate moisture, painting over mold stains won’t help.

    Below are the leading causes of mold inside homes:

    • Persistent humidity: a high moisture content in the air causes mold to grow on walls, ceilings, in dark closets, and under kitchen sinks. This is common if you live in a humid climate or near a large body of water or the ocean.
    • Leaking pipes: one of the most common causes of mold behind drywall and under-sink cupboards is leaking pipes.
    • Condensation build-up: rooms where condensation can build up, like kitchens or bathrooms, are prime real estate for mold spores and the proliferation of mold growth. That’s why proper home ventilation is so important.
    • A leaking roof: over time, a leaking roof may lead to a backlog of moisture in your ceiling or attic, which can lead to mold on walls and ceiling cupboards.
    • Wet and damp clothing: mold only needs 24 hours to grow! Wet or damp clothing and towels lying around your home can contribute to mold problems, especially in bathrooms and mudrooms.
    • Flooding: after a flood, a home can take weeks to dry out, making it an ideal environment for mold to grow. In most cases, this is best handled by mold-cleaning experts.
    • A damp basement: basements are exposed to higher levels of moisture because they’re below ground level and lack proper ventilation. Water leaks also accumulate in basements, which may also lead to mold growth.
    • Foundation dampness: if water can’t sufficiently drain from your house, it can pool around its foundations, causing mold. Proper drainage will prevent this from happening.
    • Leaking HVAC systems: mold growth is a common issue with AC leaks. As the water builds up, the mold gets the moisture it needs to grow on the walls of your home. This is especially common with leaks that begin within an AC closet or interior wall.

    The Perfect Finish Starts With You

    Breathe new life into your space. Entrust Oahu Pro Painters with your property and expect results of the highest quality.

    When to Call on Professionals

    You should seek professional help if the mold in your home is bigger than ten sq. ft or if it has spread to another part of your house, or if you’re dealing with toxic mold. Of course, if you’d just prefer that professionals take care of it, that’s perfectly fine too.

    Oahu Pro Painters has experience in apartment painting as well as painting homes that have suffered from mold infestations. Not only that, but we’ll be able to tell you whether you need to replace drywall or call in mold removal experts. Contact us today to deal with mold and get your home looking good as new!


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