Mold & Mildew: The Hidden Hazards of Springtime Painting

Posted on: April 9th, 2015 by M Carlson Painting No Comments

Spring is here! Time to spruce up the house with a bright new paint job. But take care – April showers may bring May flowers – but they can also bring mold, and other kinds of damage beneath that beautiful coat of paint. Wood panels can stay wet for several days after the wet season, especially in areas with a good deal of ambient moisture.

What can go Wrong?

Even an imperceptible amount of moisture in the siding can spell disaster for your new spring paint job. Low temperatures can prolong the time it takes for paint to dry. Rain and humidity cause poor adhesion. Wind can cause debris to blow and stick to wet surfaces. And even wood that seems dry can contain moisture.

Just prepping the surface to be painted while it is still wet can cause damage. You may think it’s safe to scrape off the old paint before the skies have cleared and the walls have dried. But if the wood is still soft, a scraper or sander may bite in and cause gouges. The resulting mess can delay your project and cost hundreds of dollars to repair on top of your original investment in paint and supplies.

The Dangers of Mold and Moisture

Mold can grow on any moist, dark surface. It can be especially dangerous for small children, the elderly, persons with health conditions or serious allergies. Even those in good health can become seriously ill from overexposure to airborne mold spores.

While it’s impossible to get rid of all of the mold in a house, you can eliminate dangerous and damaging mold growth by keeping rooms and surfaces as dry as possible. Indoors, use dehumidifiers and keep air conditioners in good working condition. Do not allow moisture to stand or permeate surfaces. Open doors between rooms as much as is practical, and keep windows open to promote air flow. Most importantly, take care not to seal in moisture by painting any surface before it has dried thoroughly.

How to Avoid Painting Over Moist Wood

Before you roll your eyes and say you know it’s a bad idea to paint in bad weather, remember that spring, like autumn, can be unpredictable. It’s important to thoroughly review the local weather forecast, and to start your project at the right time. Ideally, you’ll want to have two warm and dry days before starting to prep your project. Use a reputable, national source of weather news like NOAA (the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration), or the Farmers Almanac. The odd Internet weather service may seem handy, but many of them are unreliable.

Above all, give yourself a good one-week window of warm and dry weather for your outdoor painting project: two days for the panels to dry, one to three days of work (depending on the size of your project), and another two days for the paint to dry. And remember, when it comes to painting at the end of the rainy season – the waiting is the hardest part.

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