Widespread media coverage has made mold a concern for many homeowners and business owners. It's also a hot topic for your customers in the real estate and building construction industries. As a painting contractor, you need to be informed so you can help your customers combat this challenge. Here are some of the most frequently answered questions about mold:
What is mold?
Mold is a rapidly reproducing microscopic fungus that feeds on decomposing organic matter.
Why is mold a problem?
Many molds are harmless, and are, in fact, a vital part of our ecosystem. But, if you've ever gotten food poisoning or suffered from allergies, you know that all molds are not benign. Some molds create toxins, which can seriously affect the health of plants, animals and people.
Where do you find mold?
Homes make an ideal growing place for mold. Molds thrive in temperatures between 60° and 100° F, where moisture and an abundant food supply are present.
Are certain surfaces more susceptible to mold?
Yes. Building materials like drywall, gypsum wallboard, wood, adhesive, ceiling tiles, paint, plywood, paper and cardboard all contain cellulose, which is a source of food for molds.
Is mold the same as mildew?
They are similar but not the same. Mildew is a mold-like organism that feeds on organic tissues. In homes, mildew thrives on damp surfaces, especially in kitchens and bathrooms.
Is there anything I can do as a painter to combat mold?
One good starting point is to use paints with anti-microbial properties, such as Sherwin-Williams Harmony and Duration Home.
What if I find mold growing in a project I am painting?
Mold growing on non-porous surfaces can be cleaned with a detergent. But the affected parts of porous surfaces such as drywall must be completely replaced, and the area must then be cleaned thoroughly.
What about wood trim?
A semi-porous surface like solid wood, if infected, may require a combination of cleaning and replacing, depending on the severity of mold growth.
Is there any other advice I can give to my customers on how to reduce mold growth in their homes and businesses?
Sure. Some good steps are to seal ductwork, to allow for proper drainage of rainwater, and to exhaust moist air and allow fresh air to circulate indoors.