This year, changes to legislation means that landlords in particular may be on the lookout for effective solutions to help prevent the growth of mould.
Crown Paints explains how decorators can play their part by recommending the right products for the right space.
Mould matters more than ever
Every winter, there is greater potential for mould to become a problem in people’s homes. Poor ventilation can be exacerbated by keeping windows closed to keep the cold out, and where condensation forms it’s possible that mould and mildew will flourish.
This year, not only have more people spent more time at home thanks to lockdown and the rise of remote working, a piece of legislation has come into effect that makes mould even more of a headache than usual for landlords and left them more in need of a viable, cost-effective solution.
The Homes (Fitness for Human Habitation) Act make landlords more accountable for the condition of their properties. The Act means that tenants whose landlords do not address issues like mould and damp within a timely manner can take them to court and seek compensation. By April 2021, this will apply to both new and existing tenancy agreements, putting landlords under pressure to ensure that their maintenance work is up to scratch, and potentially creating plenty of work for professional painters and decorators.
Simply washing away the appearance of mould on a wall’s surface is ineffective, as the spores will quickly reappear, and with basic matt emulsions, repeated cleaning can damage the finish too.
Prevention is clearly preferable to cure in these cases and, where there is the possibility of having to pay compensation to tenants, cheaper too. Taking simple steps to prevent the build-up of mould is essential. That’s where good product knowledge and the right preparation comes into play, and decorators should be ready to step in and advise.
What can decorators do?
Landlords will likely be looking for a lasting solution to the issue of mould. As any decorator knows it is often the case that the bulk of the work has to happen before any paint is applied, in this case that means ensuring that existing mould and mildew spores are killed and not just superficially removed before being painted over.
Using a sterilisation wash, such as Crown Trade’s Fungicidal Wash, will ensure that the surface is free of spores and that the problem won’t simply bloom again through the first coat of paint.
Once you’ve taken the time to scrape away any loose paint flakes, and fully rubbed down the surface with a suitable abrasive paper to ensure you’ve removed any remaining surface layers of paint, the substrate will be clean, dry and spore-free.
Traditionally, decorators might have turned to a paint product with a mid-sheen finish such as an acrylic eggshell, for an area prone to condensation as they can more readily tolerate being wiped than a traditional matt emulsion.
However, premium scrubbable ranges, including Crown Trade’s Clean Extreme range, offer more choice in terms of finishes and colour. Whether customers prefer a matt or an eggshell finish, Clean Extreme products can tolerate repeated scrubbing in a way that traditional paints can’t, whilst it’s Ultimate Opacity formula for white paint means that it’s easy to cover darker shades, ideal for an end-of-tenancy maintenance cycle.
More importantly, Clean Extreme Mould Inhibiting paint has a built-in fungicide which helps prevent mould growth on the paint film by offering a layer of protection that can’t be washed off. Decorators should recommend this option in particular for areas such as kitchens and bathrooms.
Communication is key
Of course, choosing a premium paint does increase the cost of the job for the customer, so be prepared to discuss this and be ready to fully explain the benefits of upgrading to a scrubbable and fungicidal paint.
As well as preventing the problem of mould, the use of a premium product like this could save money on the long term maintenance cycle.