Can You Paint Over Mold? – (Here’s How) Complete Guide

Mold is a fungus that can grow anywhere with moisture and organic matter. It often appears as black or green patches on walls, ceilings, and floors. While mold is not always harmful, it can cause health problems for some people.

The good news is that you can paint over mold. The bad news is that your first coat should be a primer before you paint the area with normal latex or oil-based paints. You can cut back on the number of coats if you use oil-based paint, but it’s best to use two coats of regular paint for any painted surface.

Painting over mold will not kill or get rid of it, so it’s best to take more appropriate measures. Read on for tips on how to get rid of mold for good! Here’s what you need to know about painting over the mold.

What Happens if You Paint Over Mold?

Do not paint over mold without first killing the spores on your walls. The new paint will sit on top of the mold and keep moisture in, which can cause it to grow even more later.

According to experts from the University of Texas, “A great majority of common molds will discolor or stain surfaces, but they will not destroy the paint or cause structural damage.” The real problem that comes from mold is often a sign of other problems. If you have mold on your walls, there could be a leak in your ceiling or your home’s pipes somewhere.

Mold can even be a symptom of a more serious problem with humidity levels within your home. If you have a humidifier, try turning it down or off if the mold is only on your walls and not on other surfaces.

If you have a leak or too much humidity in your house, the mold is going to keep coming back until you fix those problems. Your first step should be finding and fixing what’s causing all this mold.

However, if you paint over mold, know that your best bet is to use oil-based paint. At the very least, this will take longer for the mold spores to become active again after painting than if you used latex or other water-based paints.

Since mold needs dampness and organic matter to survive, this layer of paint should prevent the mold spores from growing until you care for the problem.

Why Painting Over Mold is a Poor Choice

Find Out Root Cause

If you have a leak or humidity problem, painting over the mold will only do so much good. You need to find and fix the root of the problem to keep it from coming back. Painting without first killing the spores may slow down their growth, but it won’t stop them entirely. They could even begin to grow again once you paint over them since the mold will still be just beneath the surface.

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Can Ruin Paint

Painting over mold spores might create a smooth surface that looks nice to the eye, but it won’t allow your paint job to breathe. This can lead to moisture building up within the walls or ceiling of your home, which could do more damage than the mold itself.

Won’t get rid of Mold.

Remember, the paint job won’t get rid of the mold or keep it from coming back. You need to find and fix whatever is causing the dampness and humidity so that you can prevent any future problems with mold growth.

Look Dirty

Of course, if you plan on selling your home, you can take steps to make sure it doesn’t smell like mildew or look dirty if you are worried about having to disclose an issue with the past owner’s mold problem.

How to Paint over Mold Safely

Remove any furnishings

Remove any furnishings, cloths, carpeting, and anything else not needed for painting before starting your project. If there is still mold on the walls after all this, you’ll need to find and fix the problem first.

Remove any moldy drywall.

Remove any moldy drywall or support beams that might be affected by the mold. You then want to clean the entire area with a bleach solution (one cup per gallon of water). Be careful not to breathe in the fumes, and make sure to wear gloves and goggles before working with bleach.

Dry Walls

If the walls are wet, dry them thoroughly. You can also use fans to speed up this process. If possible, open windows for ventilation until the area is completely dry.

Sand walls

Sand down any bumpy or rough areas on your wall if you see mold staining that could affect your paint job later. Just be careful not to create holes in the wall where spores can get through and cause more problems later.

Apply Oil-based primer

Once everything is nice and dry, go ahead and start painting. Painting over mold will work best if you apply an oil-based primer first. This will help trap mold spores under your topcoat so they won’t cause future problems for you later on down the line.

Hire Professionals

If you are still worried about the safety of painting over mold, there are other ways to go about getting rid of it if it is on your home’s exterior instead. You can have professionals come in and remove any affected areas or paint over them without priming first.

Not having an expert take care of the problem might save you a little money, but be aware that this won’t get rid of the mold for good.

Signs of Paint Over Mold Problems

If the mold is still visible and growing, you’ll need to find and fix the root cause of your problems to prevent future growth. These signs could be an indicator that there are still moisture issues within the home:

  • Dark or black spots on your drywall or paint
  • Other areas with discoloration (near air vents, windows, and doors, for example)
  • Musty or mildew smell coming from somewhere within your home.
  • Discolored patches of paint on the ceiling, walls, or other areas throughout your home.
  • Water damage on your ceilings and walls. Sometimes mold can show up as a black line along the top of the wall that may look like an old watermark or crack.
  • Mushrooms are growing in your yard, around your foundation, or near the roof of your home. This might be a sign that there is too much moisture within the walls, leading to mold growth at ground level.
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Be sure to check areas throughout your home for any signs of growth before painting over the mold. This way, you can be sure that your paint job will last a long time and keep future problems from happening simultaneously.

How to Prevent Mold in Your Home During a Paint Job

If you find any mold during your paint job, use an eco-friendly cleaner spray to get rid of it without causing any damage to the surrounding area. If this doesn’t work or isn’t enough to remove all traces of growth, you can also try using baking soda and vinegar.

Be sure that surfaces are dried thoroughly before applying primer and paint. Don’t worry about salvaging any wood or cloth left in the area. Just throw it out instead, and be sure to disinfect the area before using it again.

If you continue seeing signs of mold while painting over mold, try turning up your heat for a few hours while you work. This will help speed up the drying process and help prevent further growth.

  • Don’t use fans during this process.
  • Make sure you only paint in the areas with mold problems, not across your entire wall or ceiling, if possible.
  • Use a dehumidifier to help with airflow and moisture levels until everything is dry before painting properly. If you need more information on dehumidifying your home properly, contact a professional to help you out.
  • Use an odorless oil-based primer/sealer.
  • If possible, don’t use fans or heaters until the area is completely dry and sealed with paint.

Best way to get rid of Mold

To get rid of mold for good, you need to find out where it’s coming from in the first place. Mold spores can grow just about anywhere that they have access to moisture and a surface they can cling to, so there is no one-size-fits-all approach when trying to remove them.

Some signs of an outside mold problem could be air conditioner condensation, water damage from areas such as your roof or window sills, and even a broken pipe somewhere in the home.

When you notice any signs of mold growth within your walls, it’s important to take care of the problem right away before it spreads.

Health Risks Associated with Molds

The mold might not be visible, but it could still grow inside your walls. Not only is this a problem for the structural integrity of your foundation, but there could also be many health risks associated with inhaling or touching mold every day.

Some of these include:

  • Asthma and allergies
  • Chronic lung disease
  • Migraines
  • Skin irritation like hives, rashes, and acne
  • Respiratory issues like coughing, wheezing, shortness of breath, or an infection in your lungs lead to pneumonia.

These are just some of the many health problems that might lead to more serious conditions with time if you don’t take care of them quickly. Always take precautions and contact a professional if you see any signs of mold growth.

How Do I Prevent Mold After Remediation?

Once the mold is removed, it’s important to follow all safety precautions when finishing up your paint job. Just painting over something doesn’t mean that it won’t be a problem anymore.

Mold can still grow underneath fresh coats of paint, so don’t think that just because you painted over the problem area, it will go away for good.

Some things you can do to prevent it from returning include:

  • Using a fan and dehumidifier to speed up the drying process
  • Covering any furniture or other items in the area with plastic sheets
  • Wearing a respirator approved by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) so you don’t breathe in any mold spores.
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Frequently Asked Questions: Paint Over Mold

What kind of paint will cover mold?

Any oil-based primer/sealer, water-based paint, or epoxy should work just fine. Just make sure that it doesn’t have any mildewcides or fungicides in the ingredients list. You don’t want to do more harm than good when you’re trying to get rid of mold for good!

Does painting over mold stop it?

No, not always. If your mold problem was from a leak or outside, it’s important to fix the source to get rid of the problem for good. Otherwise, you’re just going in circles and wasting money! Always remember that killing mold doesn’t mean you’ve gotten rid of the problem once and for all. You have to find out where it came from to start.

Does mold make a house uninhabitable?

The short answer is yes. Mold can grow anywhere it finds the right conditions and poses a health risk to anyone living in the home even after you’ve removed it. Always make sure to call a professional if you notice any signs of mold growth inside your walls or elsewhere to prevent it from spreading!

What does harmful black mold look like?

It comes in many colors depending on the species of mold, so it’s best to call a professional if you see anything growing. A good way to know is if it looks fuzzy/hairy or has any other unusual textures, chances are it might be harmful.

Should you remove the mold before painting?

It’s important always to follow all safety precautions when tackling any mold remediation. Always focus on the safety of yourself and anyone else living in the home first before doing anything else!

Is there a spray that kills mold?

No, not really. Always follow all safety precautions and cleanup procedures before starting any paint job! It might kill some spores up in the air or on the surface, but it won’t treat the problem areas underneath your paint.


Many of us hate the idea of throwing out furniture and even entire rooms in our homes when we notice signs of mold growth. It can take a huge chunk out of your wallet, and it’s not very beneficial to the environment either, so try to remember these tips when you think about what to do next.

If there is any way to completely remove the mold from your home without throwing things out, it’s much wiser to do so.

When you have a professional come in and help with any outside contaminant problem or hazardous material removal, be sure that they have proper certification for this type of work.

This will ensure that they follow all safety precautions before starting their work and that they are insured in case anything happens to your property during the remediation process.

It’s important to remember these mold growth tips so you know what to look for moving forward or simply what you should do if any problems arise.

We hope these suggestions help, but be sure to leave us a comment if you have any questions.

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