Dealing with Mold and Mildew Before you Paint

Deal with mildew

A fresh coat of paint will certainly make the home look new and clean, but it will not help overcome the most common cause of discoloration: mildew.

Mildew is parasite fungus that often appears as a dark color, such as black, green or brown and is rather fuzzy as well. Its body can digest right through painted surfaces and destroys the integrity of the paint itself. Mildew can also cause the underlying wood to rot and even cause masonry to crumble.

Mildew thrives in warm, moist or humid places with poor ventilation such as kitchens or bathrooms. Plus, mildew can exist outside as well in shady areas usually on the north side of homes. Before you repaint a surface that is clearly discolored, you will need to determine whether it is mildew or not. You can tell by a single drop of household bleach, if the surface is covered with mildew it will bleach out in two minutes or less as dirt will be unaffected.

How to Rid the Surface of Mildew

Once you know its mildew, the easiest way to rid the area is to mix three quarters water with one quarter bleach and apply it to the area with a sprayer or sponge. Be sure to use eye protection and rubber gloves when applying the bleach and cover any nearby vegetation as well. After a half-hour, rinse the area with plain water to get rid of any remaining bleach.

Use the Right Paint

If you are hiring a residential painting service, then you should inform them about the presence of mildew. If you are going to repaint the area yourself, then you will need to use a paint that contains midewcides, a chemical that makes the paint resistant to mildew.

Remember to not use this type of paint on windowsills, doorframes or where small children could ingest it. Plus, paints with zinc oxides are more mildew resistant as well. You should avoid paints with linseed oil and water-based or latex paints that have a porous finish as they are very susceptible to mildew intrusion.

How to Prevent Mildew and Mold from Occurring

There are a number of simple preventative steps you can take to keep mildew and mold from forming on the inside or outside of your home.

–       Keep surfaces clean of dirt, greasy film and soap scum.

–       Reduce humidity levels in the home.

–       Keep shrubs and trees away from the exterior of the home.

–       Use darker paints which supply more heat and dry out faster.

–       Heat rooms evenly to prevent condensation.

–       Use exhaust fans to vent out the moisture in the home from cooking, bathing or laundering.

–       Use exterior painting services on a calm day to keep mildew spores from blowing into the paint.

By following these simple maintenance steps, you can keep your home free of mold and mildew. Taking a few moments a day in preventative maintenance can save you hundreds, if not thousands of dollars from mold or mildew damage.