There are many reasons why you might want to paint over a surface. Maybe it’s starting to chip or crack, maybe there’s a new color you like better, maybe you’re looking to refurbish your home before selling it, and maybe it’s just time.
But when it comes to painting over surfaces, one question looms large – can and should you paint over mold? You definitely want to cover up and address mold the second it appears, but is painting over it really the right way to do it?
In a word, no – and here are several reasons why you should avoid simply painting over mold.
Paint Does Not Kill Mold
Maybe you think that painting over your mold problems can work the same as a proper mold remover. If so, think again. Paint does not kill mold. There is nothing in latex, oil, acrylic, or other types of paints that are commonly used on surfaces indoors or outdoors that can dry out or otherwise kill off your mold infestation once and for all.
We use “whitewashing” as code for trying to pass over a problem without actually solving its underlying cause for a reason. Painting over mold, as established above, doesn’t do anything to actually solve your mold problem. In fact, as with many “whitewashing” solutions, painting over the issue may actually make it worse, because the mold is likely to persist even while it’s out of sight, making it that much harder to track its progress.
What’s more, the mold you see is likely to be only a small fraction of the actual problem your home faces. Much like an iceberg, mold infestations tend to extend far below their visible surface.
Just because you’ve “whitewashed” over the top few centimeters of mold doesn’t mean that there aren’t inches or even several feet of it buried deep within the walls themselves.
Painting over mold isn’t just a bad idea from a home décor perspective, but a legal one as well. If you are a landlord and paint over mold rather than treat it and are found out, you may be served with legal action. Doing so is not just a breach of contract, but can put your tenants in danger. For example, if they do not know mold is present, they may be unknowingly breathing in particulates and causing damage to their lungs. What’s more, a mold infestation can severely damage the value of their property if you sold it to them, meaning you’ll have made your sale under false pretenses.
Needless to say, the affected parties would have several potential grounds on which to sue.
So What Should You Do?
Get rid of the mold first, of course! Applying mold-killing agents is always a good idea before painting. You’ll want to do a thorough inspection before painting anyway, so while you do, check to see if there are any spots of mold that need treatment. If there are, make sure you treat the root of the issue and not just the surface.
Don’t “whitewash” mold problems by simply painting over them. Treat them first so you can have a paint job that’ll last longer and look better and a home twill be mold-free.
Marc Poulos began his real estate and financial services career, but he soon realized that his true passion was beautifying homes. He started working with various small craftsman shops before serving an apprenticeship with the Ritz Carlton Hotel in Chicago. His commitment to excellence won him Top Apprentice from Washburne trade school in Chicago – the country’s premier school of its kind.