Solved! Can You Paint Over Mold?
If you paint over mold, you’re hiding the problem instead of dealing with it at the source.
Q: I just discovered mold on the walls in my bedroom. What is the best way to get rid of it? Can I paint over mold?
A: Painting over mold may cover up the dark patches where the mold is growing, but it will not eliminate the problem. Mold is a fungus that will thrive where there’s enough moisture to encourage its growth. Using mold-resistant paint works to prevent mold growth, but it won’t kill it once it’s started to grow. You can paint over mold, but it will always reappear if you don’t stop it in its tracks. Mold can cause severe respiratory issues for your family and pets. Before taking steps to clean and kill the mold, identify where the excess moisture is coming from and take steps to treat it. Contact a professional to remediate the mold issue if it’s growing in a continuously wet area or if the mold covers a large area.
Painting over mold will not destroy mold or prevent it from growing.
If you just paint over mold, you’re not fixing the problem. It’s a quick fix to cover up the ugly stains, but it won’t solve the issue at the source. Painting over mold will cause the paint to chip, peel, and bubble—a sign that the mold is still growing underneath. Painting over it will only prolong the issue and hide it for a short period.
Mold can be a health risk for family members (and pets).
Mold is a fungus that loves moisture. Mold growth commonly appears as gray, brown, or black splotches, but it can also be white, green, orange, or pink. Mold spreads quickly with spores that travel through the air. When humans or animals inhale those spores, they can cause serious respiratory issues. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), mold can cause many different health issues. Some symptoms of mold exposure are a stuffy nose, sore throat, skin rash, wheezing, coughing, and burning eyes. Those who are immunocompromised or have allergies or chronic lung diseases are at even greater risk when exposed to mold. This is why it’s essential to understand why mold is growing and get rid of it as quickly as possible.
Mold-resistant paint and primers only work proactively.
Some paints and primers advertise that they kill mold if you paint over the growth that appears in your home. These paints and primers only prevent mold growth after mold has been successfully cleaned and destroyed to avoid regrowth. Moisture-resistant or mold-resistant primer is important when painting high-moisture areas like bathrooms, kitchens, or laundry rooms. These paints are primers that can also be helpful if you live in a humid climate.
Remove the mold before painting, and ensure the surface is clean and dry.
When it’s time to treat the mold, make sure to wear protective equipment such as a respirator mask, gloves, and eye protection. Some people prefer to use a mixture of bleach and water to spray on the mold to kill it. This works on the surface, but it doesn’t kill mold growing deep in drywall or wood. Vinegar penetrates deeper than bleach, so it’s a more effective mold killer. Spraying vinegar on mold and saturating the area will treat the root of the issue. Remember never to mix bleach and vinegar since it creates a toxic gas. There are also fungicide products you can purchase and apply to the areas. If the mold patch is extensive or recurring, contact a mold remediation professional.
Once the mold is removed, use moisture-resistant primer or paint, especially in areas like the bathroom.
Once the mold has been removed, it’s time to choose a high-quality moisture-resistant or mold-resistant primer. These primers are not mold killers, but they will prevent mold growth in the future and prevent any stains from showing through. After applying the primer, paint the area with two coats of semi-gloss or satin paint that repels water. If you feel overwhelmed by the mold in your home, or if you have a pre-existing respiratory or immune issue, call a professional with the experience and knowledge to remove and clean mold.