Mold-resistant paint is mostly used in bathrooms, although kitchens and basements may have damp conditions that can harbor mold and mildew as well. A paint containing a chemical mildewcide or fungicide will help keep mold from recurring. Primers that block stains and mildew can be used along with the wall coating. Existing mold growth should be cleaned before painting, and good ventilation and maintenance is the best way to ensure it doesn’t return.
When choosing mold-resistant paint, check the label to see if it contains an approved mildewcide. Latex or acrylic paints are better because some species of mildew like to eat the oil-based paints. Quality paint tends to be expensive, and the cheaper varieties may be less effective. Many paints also come with a guarantee, which may be preferable. A separate mildewcide can be added to regular paints if the color and brand chosen does not have it.
Mold-resistant paint comes in a variety of sheens. In high-moisture areas or ones that may attract dirt, such as basements, a semi-gloss or gloss finish is easier to clean and resists staining. Eggshell or satin finish is less shiny than semi-gloss and more attractive in living spaces. Most mold-resistant paint is only available in lighter colors. It can be applied to walls just like other paints, and a primer can be used if needed.
Before using the paint, the surface must be completely free of existing mold and mildew, or it will eat through the coating. The surface should be cleaned with one part bleach to 10 parts water before painting and allow to dry thoroughly. A more environmentally-friendly solution to clean surfaces is one part vinegar to one part water and scrubbing with baking soda and vinegar. The vinegar and water mixture can be stored in the bathroom and sprayed after a shower.
Toxic varieties of mold will probably need to be professionally removed before applying a mold-resistant paint. The mildewcides in commercial coatings are too mild to kill the worst molds, and removal can be troublesome for people with allergies and asthma. If mold spores are present in heating and air systems, they will need thorough cleaning or the mold will recur.
Good ventilation prevents mold and mildew from returning. The use of mold-resistant paint will not eliminate the problem unless the damp conditions that spawned the mold are corrected. In bathrooms, a good ventilation fan should be run for several minutes after bathing, or a window should be opened to allow fresh air circulation. Carpets in bathrooms are not recommended because of their tendency to trap water and contribute to moisture problems. Leaks in pipes and outside water coming in need to be stopped or mold will come back.
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