Whether you’re painting inside or outside, with oil-based paint or water-based paint, the most important decision that you must make is to adequately prepare the surface. So many do-it-yourself property owners devote a lot of time to choosing the perfect color and little time to making sure that the walls or other areas they’re painting are ready to accept the paint.
If you’re fortunate, a general cleaning will be sufficient, especially on an interior wall. But there are times when you must take extra care to get the surface clean before you apply the first coat of paint. Of course, you should pay particular attention to the dust and dirt that collects on walls. However, it’s essential to take the right steps to treat and remove mold and mildew before painting. If you don’t, you could be wasting time and money because those two “pests” will return to irritate you again.
Start by learning enough about mold and mildew that you can deal with it effectively. Both are natural growths generally found on damp areas of buildings. They not only have a distinct staining appearance; they also exude a strong smell (musty). Mold is fungi and is the cause of the condition called by the name mildew. You can expect to find mildew anywhere that you find mold.
When it’s time to start the preparation process, talk to your cleaning or hardware store professional about mildew removers, which can be effective on hard surfaces. It’s also possible to kill mold and mildew with a bleach solution. Once you clean this area, you must be sure to keep it clean until it’s time to paint. This can be accomplished with air circulation, dehumidifiers, and air conditioning.
It’s also important to understand that the discoloration that you see on the surface is the tip of the proverbial iceberg. Spores will be present deeper in the wood or in the already-painted surface. It’s essential to use a mold-killing product that will get deep into a porous surface, something that a basic wipe-down with bleach won’t accomplish. People have had success with borax, a natural mineral that will kill mold and stays present to prevent new mold growth. A cup of this cleanser in a gallon of water will be about right for scrubbing the surface.
Thorough cleaning with the right type of products can get you to the painting stage. But you must make sure that the surface is completely dry so you don’t trap moisture with the paint. You can also make some difference with an acrylic primer containing a mildew-killing ingredient. Talk to your painting expert to ensure that you’re getting the right paint, including a stain-blocking primer.
The bottom line with any painting project is careful preparation including the removal of all evidence of mold and mildew. But you must also take the extra step of killing this natural growth so it doesn’t come back and ruin your hard work. Bleach is an okay method but you’ll discover that it’s not as effective as more aggressive household cleaners. Try vinegar and, as mentioned earlier, borax.
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.