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Mold-Resistant Paints

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After you’ve installed your paperless drywall, you may want to take another step to make it even more difficult for mold to grow. Mold-resistant paint started when manufacturers added what they referred to as a mildewstat, or mildewcide, to their paints. Since, in most cases, the anti-mold chemical was under 2% of the total volume of paint in the container, it was not listed as an ingredient.

After you’ve installed your paperless drywall, you may want to take another step to make it even more difficult for mold to grow. Mold-resistant paint started when manufacturers added what they referred to as a mildewstat, or mildewcide, to their paints. Since, in most cases, the anti-mold chemical was under 2% of the total volume of paint in the container, it was not listed as an ingredient. Once mold began to become such a big issue, some paint manufacturers started to advertise that their paint was mold-resistant. Then the Environmental Protection Agency started to classify paints with mildewcides as pesticides requiring EPA approval.

Paint can be a cause of poor indoor air quality, as the following anecdote illustrates:

We were called to a home where a child had been ill with respiratory problems and fatigue. When she was away from the home for a day, she felt normal. Her mother had the house tested for mold, but laboratory results were negative. We asked what had changed in the home over the last six months and found that new hardwood floors had been installed and the interior of the home had been painted.

We employed a Certified Industrial Hygienist, who tested the new flooring (pressed, pre-manufactured, and finished flooring) and the paint. He found that the paint contained a mildewcide that could be causing the girl’s sensitivity. The girl’s mother took her to an allergist, who found that she was, indeed, sensitive to that compound. The walls were scraped and repainted with a regular paint, and the child recovered.

All mold-prevention measures have their place and applications. It’s best to become educated about what materials you’re putting into your home, because taking them out might be just as — or even more — expensive than it was to have the work done initially.

This article was excerpted from The Homeowner’s Guide to Mold, available through RSMeans.

by Michael Pugliese, CMR, CMT

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