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Why Do I Have Mildew and Mold Growth on my House or Decks?

By Kevin Dressel  -  May 18th, 2013

Mildew is NOT caused by paint. It is a fungi that grows on almost any organic surface including painted ones. Mildew discoloration, which resembles dirt, is actually caused by fungi feeding on oil contained in paints or on protein thickeners in latex coatings. Fungi also feed on nutrients in the substrate material, underneath the paint film.

Mold and mildew spores are microscopic and are fund universally in the air, transported by the wind and atmosphere. These mold and mildew spores can remain dormant on a surface indefinitely until conditions are favorable for their growth. Lengthy periods of warm, moist conditions can activate those spores on what appears to be a perfectly clean surface. Mildew-contaminated homes in any neighborhood can supply the spores for contamination of other homes in the area.

Moisture and warm conditions are the two most important factors in the growth of mildew. For this reason, mildew generally grows in warm humid areas with poor air circulation. Thick shrubbery planted in front of a painted surface can hinder air circulation and block out sunlight, making a perfect environment for mildew to grow.

Identifying and Solving Mildew & Mold Growth

To determine if mildew is present, drop a small amount of household bleach on the discolored surface. If mildew is present, bleach will destroy the fungus and whiten the surface. If the discoloration is simply dirt, the bleach will have no effect.

The mildew MUST be removed before the painting process begins. Painting over a mildew laden surface guarantees return of the mildew. Mildew will grow through any paint film very rapidly, and correction may well then require complete removal of the coatings! All mildew stained surfaces should be washed with a solution of one to two cups of household bleach per gallon of warm water shortly before painting. Commercial mixtures for washing the surface are also available.

We are experienced in cleaning and killing mildew from surfaces prior to painting. Contact Tualatin Valley Painting, Inc. for a consultation and estimate. Call 503-579-8201 or complete our Request an Estimate Form