Common Paint Problems: Mildew Buildup

Mildew is a problem, find out how you can get rid of mildew on paint by reading this informative article!

Mother Nature has made mildew buildup a problem for man since the beginning of time. Mildew is actually a fungus that can form on any surface, as long as the conditions are right for its growth. It can be in found seen in the form of many colors, but the most common are black, red, and green. This fungus can often be found on paint, either on the inside, or on the outside of a house. It needs warmth, moisture, and something to feed on in order to grow and thrive. The minerals and oil in paint provide mildew with the nourishment it needs.

Paint companies continually try to add different types of fungicides and other fungus retarders in their products, but there is still no paint made that will completely prevent its growth. Lead was originally added to many paints as a means to help it dry better until 1978. Numerous cases of lead poisoning caused paint companies to discontinue its use. Mercury was also added to many latex paints in order to help retard the growth of mildew. This practice was discontinued in 1990 when it was found that Mercury, a dangerously toxic element, was harmful to humans, as well as to the environment.

Realistically, a mildew build up can be found anywhere in or on your house. On the inside of your house, a mildew build up might be found in bathrooms, especially around a painted wall near the tub or sink. It can also be found in a damp basement, along the bottom of painted walls and on the floor. On the outside of your house, a mildew build up can be found on moist wooden areas that are blocked from the sun. Untreated wood is especially prone to this type of fungus growth, so avoid using it to build decks, new additions, et cetera.



If you are going to paint any of these areas, be sure to choose a paint that contains Zinc Oxide. Zinc Oxide has been found to slightly help guard against the growth of this fungus. You can also purchase a fungicide at your local paint store. This can be added to the paint to help restrain the growth of mildew. And, it has been determined that mildew can be found more often on water - based paints versus oil - based paints. An acrylic latex paint is the most mildew - resistant in the water - based paint family. Therefore, you should use hard enamel paint whenever possible.

If the area you are going to paint already has mildew build up, then you cannot just paint over it. This will not kill the mildew underneath. It will only serve to hide the fungus for a short period of time, until it reappears. You must get rid of the mildew first. To do this, wear protective eyewear and a pair of heavy rubber gloves. Open up window and doors and ventilate the area well. Then, mix up a cleaning solution of three quarts warm tap water and one quart of household bleach. Use an old, stiff brush and the solution, and scrub the mildew off of the floor or wall completely. Rinse the area with clean tap water, then allow it to dry completely before you proceed on.

After the mildew has successfully been removed, you will need to treat the area with a fungicide before you paint. Follow the manufacturer's instructions on the container in order to achieve the best results. Then, you can paint the area, but be sure that you use paint that has a fungicide added to it too for added protection.

On the outside of your house, you should remove any shrubs, trees, or plants that are too close to the structure. Remember, mildew thrives on areas where there is little or no air circulation; where there is heat, and where there is moisture. You can pressure wash the outside of your house to remove mildew, but you will still need to scrub the area with a solution of household bleach and tap water so the fungus is killed completely. Rinse the area completely with clean water. Then, let it dry before you paint it.

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