The most common method to hide mold is by simply painting over it which also happens to be the absolute worst method. Unfortunately, this is exactly what most property managers, landlords and or homeowners do when they have mold on walls, ceilings, wood and or drywall. Many do it ignorantly and some do it purely for profit because it is the cheapest and fastest way to hide mold.
I can’t even count how many times I have seen painted over mold that was hiding a much bigger problem behind the wall.The facts are that painting over mold does not remove and or remediate the problem. It simply just hides the problem for a short period of time.
Obvious signs of painted over mold are:
- Bubbling, cracked and or chipped paint.
- White paint turning yellow which is a sign of water damage.
- Walls or ceilings that are not entirely flat, but seem to bubble and or bow which is a sign of water damage.
If you think that you have painted over mold in your property, it doesn’t mean that the whole wall is infested, but it could be.
Simply observing the area and thinking like a mold detective will most likely result in a satisfactory theory that can easily be proved. If you see mold, discolored drywall and or bubbling paint, you most likely have water damage in that area and there may also be mold if it was not properly remediated.
The first questions you need to ask yourself are what is behind that wall that may have caused mold to grow such as plumbing or could it be from a roof or window leak nearby. For example, if you have bubbling or discolored paint on the drywall that has plumbing and or a bathroom behind it, then a bathroom plumbing leak is most likely the cause.
If the drywall under a window is damaged, it may be from a window leak or possibly, the previous owners or tenants left the window open during a rain storm. Another example would be if you have peeling or the yellow paint on the ceiling, this was most likely the result of a roof leak.
In all these different scenarios, you will have to then investigate further to find the exact source of the leak and or mold. As I said above, you need to act like a mold detective.
If you do not have the physical energy, wherewithal and or skills to accurately pinpoint the cause and source of the mold, then it is best to hire a professional mold inspector who can do the detective and testing work for you. They can find the source of the water damage and mold and also tell you the type of mold that is causing the damage.
One last note for landlord or property managers.
There are even how-to articles on the internet instructing people how to paint over mold. If you decide to paint over mold rather than properly remove it and or remediate, this can result in a major legal problem if your tenants become ill from the mold exposure and decide to sue.
Whether you win or lose, it will cost money to defend yourself. Don’t let that happen to you.
Moe Bedard is the founder and CEO of Mold Safe Solutions. A full-service Indoor Air Quality (IAQ) company specializing in property water damage, mold inspections, consultations, and mold remediation. If you need help with a project, please call Mold Safe Solutions at 760-818-6830.