Mold is an all-too-common problem in homes and businesses. While many people are aware of the harmful health effects of so-called “Toxic Black Mold” even more seemingly benign strains can prove hazardous to your health. Especially if there are people in your home or office that have respiratory health issues, medical conditions, or chronic inflammation conditions.
This has a lot of people leaping to action when they find signs of mold in their home, office, or commercial property.
What Are The Signs Of An Indoor Mold Problem?
Indoor mold can present itself in a variety of ways that go beyond the obvious black splotches and slime-head associated with toxic black mold. Some mold infestations are very hard to see with the naked eye. Especially if the active colony happens to have developed in a lesser-used space yet still releases spores and mycotoxins that can cause skin and respiratory irritation. If you suspect there is a mold problem in your home or office, you might notice one or more of the following things.
- Discolored splotches of black, brown, orange, gray, or white
- A recent water problem with lingering odors
- A musty or earthy smell limited to one or two rooms
- Coughing, wheezing & sneezing
- Increased problems with respiratory allergies
- People with asthma having frequent asthma attacks
- Symptoms vanish when you go on vacation but manifest again when you return
Painting Over Mold
Some people subscribe to the “Out of Sight, Out of Mind” mentality. Rather than embracing mold abatement or professional mold remediation, they will simply try to paint over the signs of mold. It seems like a tempting proposition at first, though it could lead to more serious consequences later on down the line.
Problems From Painting Over Mold
There are a few problems to be worried about should you give in to the temptation to paint over mold. While it might look like you are saving time and money at first, the costs and time lost later could end up being far more significant. They include things like:
Mold Staying Alive & Active
It might seem hard to believe, but a mold colony can indeed live under a layer of even high-quality paint. While the first coat or two might cover up its visual appearance, the mold roots and much of the living matter can very easily continue to grow. This can cause blistering under the paint’s surface as well as damage to the underlying woodwork.
Home Structure Problems
When you paint over certain types of mold, especially those that have colonized previously compromised woodwork, it can spread deeper under the surface. The mold can continue to live on while weakening the underlying wood and other structural materials.
Family Health Issues
When you paint over mold and the colony lives on, it can often find other ways to escape. This might be through a tiny gap in the surrounding trim boards, permeating through the drywall or forcing a tiny crack in the surface of the paint layer. This allows potentially dangerous mycotoxins and mold spores to escape into the air, with little to no visible effect.
This can make you, friends, family members, and guests ill, while still remaining hidden. There have been some cases like this that have gone on for years before the painted-over mold colony was discovered. In a situation like this, you might notice things like headaches, coughing, sneezing, wheezing and increased issues with respiratory allergies. Then when you go on vacation, these symptoms might mysteriously seem to go away, only to return again shortly after you come back home.
Higher Repair & Remediation Costs
The “Out of Sight Out of Mind” mentality that comes with painting over mold might make you feel like you are saving time and money. Though the unseen damage that the active mold colony can wreak can very easily escalate the problem to the point where it will increase the inevitable repair and remediation costs when the mold comes to rear its ugly head again in the future.
Signs Of Painted Over Mold In Your Home
It’s a sad statement that many people who are trying to sell their homes quickly will take shortcuts on certain repairs. One of the most common things that hasty sellers do is paint over mold, which can be hard to detect in the first few days, weeks, or perhaps even months.
You might see the home, make an offer and purchase it in the fall or winter when the mold colony is in a dormant state. When summer rolls around the heat and humidity activate the colony and it starts to affect the surrounding surfaces as well as the ambient air quality of your new home.
If you suspect this is the case in your home, you might want to look for some of the signature signs of painted-over mold.
- Painted woodwork with bubbles under the surface
- Painted surfaces that are chipped or peel easily
- Discolored paint with light and dark splotches
- Trim work with mold in the seams
- Walls that appear warped or bubbled
- A mysterious musty or earthy odor in one room.
Where Is Mold Most Likely To Appear?
Mold spores need moisture and warmth to germinate into an active colony. This can be as simple as high levels of humidity or damp porous materials like drywall or woodwork. This means that places like the bathroom, kitchen, and laundry room top the list of places where mold colonies are most likely to develop.
Though it’s always worth noting that a recent water event like a roof leak, a damaged gutter, a leaky pipe in the basement crawlspace, or a local flooding problem in the past can leave damp spots. When mold finds these areas it can spread in attics, basements, and inside wet walls, and other less visible, less-visited areas.
What To Do If You Find Painted Over Mold In Your Home?
While you might be able to clear away a small mold problem with hydrogen peroxide and other sanitizing agents, chances are a colony of mold that has been painted over needs professional intervention. At Building Services we have access to professional mold testing equipment and highly-trained specialists with experience in mold problems. After a thorough inspection and assessment, we can help you understand the necessary measures to fully remediate and remove the presence of mold from your home or business.