Can You Paint Over Mold? – How to Fix Mold Damage for Good
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It is easy to forget that there are other elements than ourselves in this world. While in our eyes, we as humans might be at the top of the food chain, there are elements out there that can make our lives harder if they want to or need to. While most of us feel safe in our own homes, creatures such as ants, spiders, wasps, snakes, mosquitoes, and even snails exist around us every day. We tend to not pay them much attention until they inconvenience us. One organism that we do not give a lot of thought to until it affects us directly, is mold. Unfortunately, the majority of us do not know how to deal with mold. In this article, we will address what mold is, what causes mold, how to remove mold, and whether you can get away with painting over it.
Table of Contents
- 1 Can You Paint Over Mold?
- 2 What Paint Should You Use in Mold-Prone Areas?
- 3 How to Paint a Mold-Infested Surface
- 4 Can You Paint Over Black Mold?
- 5 Frequently Asked Questions
Can You Paint Over Mold?
Can you paint over mold? Let’s be honest, at some stage in our lives we have all come across mold in our home, that seems deeply rooted in a surface, and you may have wondered: can I simply paint over the mold? The answer to that question is not really if you can, but rather, if you should.
Before you pick up your roller or brush and try and use paint to cover mold, you should have an understanding of what mold is and more importantly, why has the mold grown. Mold is a micro-organism that needs a humid, or moisture-rich environment to thrive. Spores from the mold float around in the air until they land on a surface that is capable of sustaining their growth, and it then continues to spread and grow.
People and animals can inhale mold spores which have the potential to cause severe respiratory illnesses, particularly to those with compromised immune systems, or pre-existing medical conditions such as asthma. Unfortunately, simply painting over mold will not get rid of the mold, instead, it will only offer a temporary aesthetic solution to the issue.
You will not be able to get rid of the mold by simply painting over it is just a waste of paint. Sadly, the mold will continue to thrive and grow underneath the paint you have applied. This will result in the paint bubbling up and peeling off, and the mold will be exposed once again. It is a fruitless exercise and it will only create an environment for the mold to spread and grow more thanks to the darkness and moisture offered by the paint.
So, painting over mold is not a good idea if you are hoping to get rid of the mold for good. At the end of the day painting over mold will cause the mold to grow further. This leaves you with only one option, but a few methods, of removing the mold before you begin painting over the infected surface. Like a lot of DIY projects or crafting projects, painting over mold is a quick solution that ends up creating more work, and will cost more money in the long run.
What Paint Should You Use in Mold-Prone Areas?
As we have already mentioned it is never a great idea to simply paint over mold, regardless of how much effort and time you will need to remove the mold. In some cases, it can be impossible to stop the mold from re-growing as a result of the location of the surface or the climate you find yourself living in. If you find yourself in this situation, what products will be your best option to use to paint the surfaces?
Best Paint for Mold-Prone Areas: ZINSSER Satin-Gloss Perma-White Mildew-Proof Bathroom Paint
Once you have removed the mold and you need to then paint the surface, we recommend using a paint that does not allow mold to form, to begin with. This is particularly important if the surface is located in a moisture-rich space such as a sauna or a bathroom. Zinsser manufactures a great product, the semi-gloss perma-white mildew-proof bathroom paint. This paint has been specially designed to stop and reject mold from forming on surfaces it is used to coat.
Paint that prevents mold is one of the best methods to ensure that mold will not grow on a surface that has previously been infested, or on a surface that is most likely to form mold. Zinsser falls under the Rust-Oleum company, which is a well-established brand in the paint industry, that has been around for more than 100 years. So, it is expected that they know what they are doing!
What makes this mold paint ideal for use in moisture-rich spaces? Thanks to the formula that Zinsser has created the paint repels moisture and does not allow it to settle ad fester, which would normally result in mold growth. It is the perfect product to use on surfaces such as outdoor sheds, open-door garages, saunas, and bathrooms. The paint will dry within 24 hours once applied.
Another great feature of this mold paint is that it is self-priming, and has a real low odor. This is perfect if you do not feel like sanding down and priming the surface before applying paint. The color is fairly decent, a soft, calming white color that works well with most looks.
You do not need to worry about maintaining the mold painting, as the coating is relatively maintenance-free and can be cleaned using just soap and water and scrubbing as it will not impact the mold-resistant characteristics. Thanks to the paint’s semi-gloss finish, it will not lose its finish too quickly, even if there is consistent exposure to running water or the surface experiences constant friction.
- Well priced
- Well-known, and reputable brand
- Simple to use
- Long-lasting, semi-gloss finish
- Offers protection from moisture
- Only comes in one color
- Applicator not included with the product
- Sold in limited volumes
How to Paint a Mold-Infested Surface
While this article is not trying to encourage you to use paint to cover mold (which is something you should not do as it is not good for your or your home’s well-being), we have put together a short guide explaining how to correctly prepare and clean the surface before you being painting, in the event you come across mold that needs to be removed. Keep in mind that certain mold species such as black mold can cause great discomfort if inhaled. It is, therefore, necessary to always wear the right personal protective gear when handling any mold infestation. You will require the following:
- Paint that is graded for moisture resistance
- A pair of gloves
- A face mask
- Power sander or sanding paper
- A brush and/or roller or a paint sprayer
- Scrubbing sponge and some clean cloths
- Mold-specific cleaning products
Clean Your Surface
Before you start painting, you must clean the surface as well as you can. Why? As previously mentioned, there are potentially serious risks when being near mold, and while you are aiming to remove the mold, you will need to get up close and personal with it.
You will need to therefore ensure that you are equipped with the necessary personal protective gear when dealing with mold. Once you have your face mask and gloves on, you can begin using your mold removal disinfectant. Spray the cleaning solution around the infected area and directly on the mold and use your scrubbing sponge to rub the cleaning product into the affected area.
Certain mold treatment products may instruct you to allow the solution to soak into the surface for some time, and if it does, you must follow the manufacturer’s instructions as closely as possible. Otherwise, you can try your hardest to scrub away as much mold as you can from the surface you are working with. Be sure to wipe away any residue using a clean cloth.
Repeat the process until the majority of the mold, if not all of it, has been removed. You will notice a significant difference on the surface you are working on, with a discolored surface being left, as a result of the mold eating away at the surface. When you are happy with the cleanliness of the surface, take a clean cloth and wipe away any residual chemicals before you continue to the next step.
Sand Your Surface
Now that you have a clean surface you need to sand down the surface to prepare it. you can use either a power sander or some sandpaper to remove any existing paint and any residual mold that is found under the paint. You will need to wear your gloves and face mask when sanding the surface, to ensure that you do not accidentally breathe in any mold spores.
Take the power sander or sandpaper in a circular motion to remove the paint from the surface. You may see once the paint has been removed that there is some mold remaining, it may be detectable by smell, or it could be visible. This is why it is necessary to sand down the surface as mold can grow both on and below the surface. If you fail to completely eradicate the mold, you may find your new coat of paint peeling with a growth of mold in no time.
When you are happy with the sanding of the surface you will need to wipe it down using a clean cloth. This will ensure that any stray mold and/or paint debris is removed from the surface. This is imperative as it has an impact on both the adhesion of the primer and the paint.
Prime Your Surface
The next step, once your surface has been sanded, is to prime your surface to ensure it is ready for moisture-resistant paint. Certain paints are self-priming, thanks to their formula containing priming agents, but these tend to be quite expensive and in some circumstances are not as effective as using a dedicated primer and paint coating.
When applying primer, which is a very similar process to painting, just take your roller or brush (or even a paint sprayer) and evenly apply the primer to the surface you are working with. We suggest you apply multiple layers of primer along the length of the surface. As mold often grows on walls, we suggest applying the primer from top to bottom much like how you would paint a wall.
If you are unsure if you have applied sufficient primer, do not hesitate to apply an additional coat. Make sure you allow sufficient time for the primer to dry and set before applying an additional coat. If you are uncertain how long the primer takes to dry you can consult the manufacturer’s instructions. Keep in mind the more primer that has been applied, the greater adhesion quality your paint will have once it has been applied.
Apply Your Mold-Resistant Paint
Now that you have finished prepping your surface by cleaning, sanding, and priming it you are ready to begin painting it. Get your paint sprayer, brush, or roller ready. Give your paint a decent remix to ensure any heavy particles that may have sunk to the bottom are mixed through the paint.
When you are certain that the paint has been mixed thoroughly, pour some of the paint into either the paint sprayer hopper or your paint tray and start painting. If you choose to use a brush or a roller, make sure that you apply the paint using even and consistent strokes while following the length of the surface. If you have selected to use a paint sprayer, make sure that each pass is applied using consistent pressure on the trigger and that you use seamless movements.
When you are happy with the finished application of your paint, allow time for the coat to dry. Paint takes between 12 and 24 hours to dry, depending on which brand of paint you are working with, as well as the volume of paint used and the thickness of the paint.
You can apply several layers of mold-resistant paint, but similar to the primer, be certain that your initial coat has completely dried before you begin to apply the next layer.
Can You Paint Over Black Mold?
Can you paint over black mold? Sadly, no. While it may be physically possible to apply paint over a black mold, we do not recommend it, as it is not conducive to the long-term wellbeing of both your health and the surface. Painting over mold does not remove the mold; in fact, it can cause the problem to get significantly worse.
There is no option where just painting over mold will destroy the mold. Paint is a moisture-rich substance and conceals the mold, and both elements cause the mold to thrive and grow further in almost any environment. When handling black mold, their spores are extremely toxic, so by painting over it, you may potentially cause harm to you and your loved ones.
You should now have an understanding of what mold is, why you should not just simply paint over mold, and what paint to use to paint over a surface that has been previously affected by mold. You also now have an idea of how to use these mold-resistant paints effectively, you can now get started on using your new knowledge. Keep in mind when dealing with mold it is imperative that you wear the relevant personal protective gear, and never paint over mold regardless of the circumstances.
Frequently Asked Questions
How to Tell if Mold Has Been Painted Over?
Wondering how to tell if mold has been painted over? There are several signs you can look out for that are normally a good giveaway that mold has been painted over. The affected area will begin to give off a pungent smell and begin to bubble, and the area around the spots of mold will begin to yellow. In certain cases, if you are working with a particularly thin coat of paint, the mold may cause it to crack.
Can You Paint Over Black Mold?
Can you paint over black mold? This is a hard question to answer. While you can apply paint over black mold, it is not advisable to do so. Certain species of black mold can be very toxic and are harmful if you have constant exposure to it, especially if you are someone who suffers from respiratory illnesses. Not only will the paint not kill the mold, it may even cause the mold to spread to other areas of your home over time.
Does Painting Over Mold Kill It?
Does painting over mold kill it? Sadly, painting over mold will not kill the fungal infection and can actually result in it getting worse. Mold thrives in moisture-rich, dark environments, which means that painting over an affected area will create the perfect environment for mold to grow, and therefore your mold infestation will spread.