Can You Paint Over Mold?

by Allied / Sunday, 15 August 2021 / Published in Mold Remediation

It’s a common scenario that plays out in countless households all over the world. Just when you’re getting ready to paint over a wall or a ceiling, you notice a bit of mold. Whether it covers a relatively small spot or a larger area, your first thought would probably be: “Can I just paint over it?”

The short answer is: “maybe.” If you are experienced in both painting and mold remediation and have access to mold-resistant paint or mold inhibiting paint additives, you could attempt to paint over a patch of mold. If you are lucky, that will be the end of your problem. If only dealing with mold was so easy…

Why You Shouldn’t Paint Over Mold

But in most cases, painting over mold isn’t a good idea. Why? For one thing, any mold you see is likely only a small part of the problem‒the tip of the iceberg, if you will. 

There is a good chance that there is a lot more mold that isn’t visible, either just underneath the surface or close by. So there is a high likelihood of the mold coming back, in either case, possibly even worse than before. 

Most homeowners also don’t have sufficient experience with the different types of mold to determine whether it is toxic or not. While most types of household mold can cause health issues ranging from allergic reactions to migraines and respiratory problems, some can be downright deadly. And if you or a family member has certain preexisting health conditions, painting over mold could have disastrous consequences. 

There are a few other reasons why painting over mold is a bad idea. In most cases, the mold will still be present even after you paint over most of the growth. They could continue to grow and spread and damage even more areas of your home. 

Covering up the mold with paint could also lull you into a false sense of security. For one thing, you might think that your problems are over. “Out of sight, out of mind,” right?  

But that is rarely ever the case with mold. If anything, covering up the problem could make it worse, as the paint will lock in the moisture. This gives mold a more conducive environment to grow and spread. 

Left unaddressed, a mold problem rarely ever goes away on its own. On the contrary, it will likely worsen and spread way beyond the initial point of infestation. Over time, you could be looking at extensive damage that would be more difficult and costly to repair than if you had dealt with the problem properly in the first place. 

Perhaps the most important reason not to paint over mold is the health risk that you could potentially be putting your family through in the future. Admittedly, removing the mold and thoroughly cleaning the area will require more time, effort, and expense. But that’s a small price to pay for the peace of mind of knowing your family is safe from mold. 

Detecting Mold That Has Been Painted Over 

Okay, so you realize now that painting over mold is a no-no. What if you had no say in the matter? How can you tell when a moldy surface has been painted over? Here are some telltale signs to look out for: 

  • Chipped, peeling, or ‘bubbly’-looking surfaces 
  • Darker spots on light-colored paint 
  • Warped surfaces 
  • Musty or moldy smells 

Remember that mold can grow almost anywhere. So even if you don’t see any of these signs, there could be mold lurking close by. Only a thorough inspection of your home will ensure that the premises are mold-free. 

What To Do Before Painting 

There is no getting around it: the only sure way to ensure that your home is safe is to address your mold problem before you begin painting. After thoroughly inspecting the affected site and nearby areas, decide whether you will tackle the job yourself or you will call in a professional to come remove the mold properly

If the mold is a fairly recent problem and hasn’t spread too much, you might be able to clean it out yourself with water and detergent. Otherwise, your best bet is to hire a professional mold remediation specialist. 

Mold growth can be a serious problem but there are ways to solve it. Rather than painting over an affected spot and hoping that the mold will go away, it is best to implement a workable solution as soon as possible.