Paint Mildew Causes & Solutions

What is Mildew?

One of the worst problems when encountering post-painting issues is the tendency for mildew buildup; which happens when black or brown coloured spots appear on a painted surface or even on caulk, due to little ventilation, damp areas or no sunlight. Many rooms in the home can be susceptible to mildew buildup, such as the laundry room, bathroom, and even the kitchen. Areas where there is exposure to dampness or water can be a potential place for mildew buildup.

If unsure whether the buildup is dirt or grime, or whether it is actually mildew, there is a simple step to determine the cause of the problem. Applying a few drops of household bleach to the affected area can show whether or not mildew buildup exists. If the area becomes discoloured, it is probably due to the presence of mildew. However, this can easily be removed by bleaching away the mildew, and using proper protective gloves and goggles while doing so. High quality latex paints are the safest way to prevent against mildew; and also making sure bare wood caulking is primed before painting.

Proper ventilation, or installation of an exhaust fan or suitable windows can be helpful in preventing mildew problems in the future. As sunlight and areas free of dampness are key to avoiding mildew buildup in more secluded areas or rooms of the house, so is priming bare wood surfaces and using high quality latex paints before the paint application process has begun.