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It’s easy to forget that we live in a world that is dominated by things other than ourselves. Although we might be at the top of the food chain in our eyes, there are things out there that have the capacity to make our lives very difficult if they needed or wanted to. Although most of us feel safe in our homes, things like spiders, snakes, ants, mosquitoes, wasps, and even snails exist around us every day, and we don’t pay them much attention until they’re inside our homes inconveniencing us. One organism we don’t think about much until we’re staring at our bathroom sealing for the first time in a while is mold, and most of us don’t know how to deal with it. Let’s have a look at what mold is, where it comes from, how to get rid of it, and whether you can get away with painting over it.
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Can You Paint Over Mold?
Can you paint over mold? Let’s face it, if you’ve ever come face to face with mold on a surface in your home that seems to be deeply rooted into a surface, you might have found yourself asking if you could paint over it. The answer to this question, like most others in life, isn’t whether or not you can paint over mold, but rather whether you should paint over it.
Before you whip out your brush and roller in an attempt to hide your infestation, you should probably know what mold is and more importantly why it’s taken up residence in your home. Mold is a micro-organism that thrives in moisture-rich or humid environments, and it spreads via the use of spores that float around in the air until they land on a surface capable of sustaining it, in which case it continues to grow and spread as per its life cycle.
Mold spores can be inhaled by people and/or animals which could potentially cause severe respiratory illnesses to those who have compromised immune systems or pre-existing conditions like asthma. This being said, painting over mold is not a way to get rid of it, in fact, it only serves as a temporary aesthetic solution to the problem.
Attempting to paint over mold won’t get rid of the mold itself, and it’s kind of a waste of paint too. You see, the mold will continue to grow underneath the paint you have applied, which will cause it to bubble up and eventually peel off, exposing the mold once more. In essence, it’s a pretty pointless exercise if you think about it, and it only allows the mold to grow and spread further thanks to the moisture and darkness provided by the paint.
Painting over mold then, is very much not an option if your intention is to get rid of it for good. It will actually make your problem significantly worse. This leaves you with one option, and a few methods, of getting rid of your mold problem before you paint over the infected surface. Like most crafting or DIY projects, painting over mold is a shortcut that only leads to more work, elbow grease, and money than needs to be spent later on.
What Paint Should You Use in Mold-Prone Areas?
As we mentioned previously it’s never a good idea to paint over mold regardless of how much time or effort it might be to remove it from a surface. In certain instances, though, it might be impossible to stop the mold from reforming due to the location of the surface or the climate you find yourself living in. In this case, what would be the best option for paint for these surfaces?
How to Paint on a Mold-Infested Surface
While this isn’t exactly a guide showing you how to blatantly use paint to cover mold (which you shouldn’t do for the well-being of you and your home), it is a short tutorial detailing how to adequately prepare and clean your surface for being painted in the event that you encounter some mold that needs to be gotten rid of. Remember that mold species like black mold can cause serious discomfort if inhaled so always wear the appropriate personal protective gear when working around any mold infestation. Here are a few of the things you will need:
- Paint graded for moisture resistance
- Sanding paper or a power sander
- Some clean cloths and a scrubbing sponge
- Mold specific cleaning products
- A paint sprayer or a brush and/or roller
- A face mask
- A set of gloves
Clean Your Surface
Before you get to painting, it’s of the utmost importance that you clean your surface as best as possible. Why? Well, as we mentioned previously there are serious risks associated with being in close proximity to mold, and even though your goal here is to get rid of the stuff, you will be getting up close and personal with the mold.
This being said, you should do your best to ensure that you have your personal protective gear on when working with mold. Get your gloves and face mask on and grab your mold removal disinfectant. Spray your cleaning product directly on and around the infected area and use your scrubbing sponge to rub the cleaning product into the affected area.
Some mold treatment products may advise you to allow the substance to soak into the surface for a while, and if it does, it is essential to follow the manufacturer’s instructions as closely as possible. If not, do your best to scrub away as much mold as possible from the surface of your work area and wipe any residue off with some of those clean clothes you have laying around.
Repeat this process until most (if not all) of the mold on the surface in question has been removed. You should see a visible difference on the surface in question with what’s left being a discolored surface, due to the way mold tends to eat away at any surface so that it has a chance to infect it. Once you’re satisfied with the cleaning use a clean cloth to dry off any residual chemicals before moving on to the next step in the process.
Sand Your Surface
Now that your surface is all nice and clean it’s time for you to get your surface prepared with some sanding. Whether you use sandpaper or a power sander you’re going to need to remove the existing paint and residual mold underneath said paints using either. Again, for this step, you will need to be geared up in your face mask and gloves to ensure you don’t accidentally breathe in any of those spores.
Using your sandpaper or power sander use circular motions to remove the paint from the previously mold-covered surface. You might notice that there is still some mold, either clearly visible or that’s presence can be clearly detected by smell. This is the reason you’re sanding; mold has the ability to grow both on top of and beneath a surface.
Once you’re satisfied with the sanding of your surface make sure to give it a once over with a clean cloth to ensure that any stray paint and/or mold particles are removed from the area that you will be applying the paint to. This is important as it has an impact on both the adhesion of the paint and primer going forward.
Prime Your Surface
Now that your surface has been sanded, you’re going to need to prime your surface for the moisture-resistant paint. There are paints that are self-priming (they contain a priming agent in their formula) but these are typically more expensive and in some instances aren’t quite as effective as a dedicated primer and paint coatings.
Applying primer is a lot like applying paint, all you need to do is get your brush and roller (or paint sprayer) and apply the primer evenly to the surface in question. The best way to go about this is to apply multiple coats of primer along the length of the affected area, and since the mold tends to grow on walls, it’s best to apply your primer from top to bottom the way you would conventionally paint a wall.
If you’re still on the fence about whether you’ve applied enough primer, don’t shy away from applying more than one coat to the surface you intend to paint. All that you need to do is wait for the primer to dry and set for the manufacturer’s recommended time period before applying another coat. Remember that the more primer that is applied, the better the adhesion quality your paint will have once it has been applied.
Apply Your Mold-Resistant Paint
Now that your surface has been prepared through sanding and priming it’s time for you to get your hands dirty with some paint. Get your paint, roller, or paint sprayer ready for the process by giving your paint a good mix to remix any of the heavier particles that have sunk to the bottom while it’s been sitting on a store shelf.
Once it’s been thoroughly mixed, pour some out into your paint tray or paint sprayer hopper and get painting. If you’re using a roller or brush, ensure that your strokes are even and consistent while following the length of the way in question. If you’re using a paint sprayer, ensure that each pass is applied with consistent pressure on the trigger and that your movements are as seamless as possible.
Once you’re satisfied with the application of your paint, allow the coat to dry for the manufacturer’s recommended time period which is usually 12 to 24 hours depending on the type of paint you’re working with, as well as the thickness and amount of paint applied to a given surface.
You can apply multiple coats of mold resistant paint, but like you did with the primer previously, ensure that your initial coat has dried completely before applying the next.
Can You Paint Over Black Mold?
Can you paint over black mold? Unfortunately, no. While it is physically possible to paint over black mold it is not advisable and isn’t conducive to the long-term wellbeing of your surfaces or personal health. Painting over mold does not remove the problem, in fact, it can be equated to sweeping dirt under a carpet, ensuring that the problem will not only get much worse but will inadvertently create a whole new set of problems for you in the future.
There is genuinely no means of simply painting over mold that would destroy it. Paint is inherently moisture-rich and conceals the mold, both of which allow mold to fester and expand in almost any environment. When dealing with black mold, the spores are toxic, which means that painting over it can cause harm to you and your loved ones.
Now that you know what mold is, why painting over it is a very bad idea, what paint can be used to paint over previously affected spots, and how to use these mold-resistant paints effectively, this time for you to get out there and put your newfound knowledge to the test. Remember to always wear the appropriate personal protective gear when working with mold and to never paint over it regardless of the circumstance.
Frequently Asked Questions
Does Painting Over Mold Kill It?
Does painting over mold kill it? Unfortunately, painting over mold does not kill the fungal infection and can actually exacerbate it. Mold thrives In dark, moisture-rich environments, which means that painting over an affected area will inadvertently create an ideal environment for mold to grow, which will cause your mold infestation to spread.
Can You Paint Over Black Mold?
Can you paint over black mold? This is a tricky question to answer. While it is possible to paint over black mold it is in no way a good idea. Certain species of black mold can be really harmful if you are constantly exposed to it, especially to people with respiratory illnesses. Paint will not kill the mold and might actually help it spread to other areas of your home given enough time.
How to Tell if Mold Has Been Painted Over?
Wondering how to tell if mold has been painted over? There are a few signs you can look out for that are usually a dead giveaway for mold being painted over. Affected areas will usually start to bubble and present a pungent smell as well as a yellowing of the surfaces in and around the spot. In some instances, the mold might even cause particularly thin coats of paint to crack.