Managing the maintenance cycle is an important part of overseeing a housing portfolio – and at this time of year, that includes ensuring that mould and damp are kept at bay.
The introduction of new laws earlier this year make landlords more accountable for the condition of their properties under the Homes (Fitness for Human Habitation) Act.
Under the laws, tenants whose landlords do not address issues like mould and damp within a timely manner can take them to court and seek compensation – a situation both parties would clearly prefer to avoid. Here, Helene Ball, Crown Trade brand manager at Crown Paints explains how the right paint products and preparation at the outset can help prevent or solve this issue.
Prevention is better than cure
In the cold winter months, a lack of natural ventilation and condensation builds up through cooking and drying laundry indoors, and can contribute to an increase in mould and mildew appearing on walls and ceilings. On most painted surfaces, simply washing away the unsightly marks is ineffective, as the mould spores will soon reappear, and constant cleaning can damage the paint finish too.
Like many maintenance issues, prevention is better than cure and taking simple steps to prevent the build-up of mould – such as using specialist paint in rooms prone to those problems – can remove this headache for landlord and tenant alike. Understanding the range of paints available to help prevent mould from forming is a vital aspect of the end-of-tenancy maintenance cycle.
Breaking the mould
As well as looking to identify and address the source of the damp problem, the first step – before any affected area is redecorated – must always be to ensure that any surface is properly cleaned using a sterilisation wash. This is to make certain that the spores of mould and mildew are killed and not just superficially removed. Once cleaned, the substrate must be dry and free from flakes before the new paint is applied. We advise using a scraper to remove loose paint, and a suitable abrasive paper rub down any remaining painted surfaces layers of paint or gloss.
Traditionally, paints with a mid-sheen finish such as an acrylic eggshell would be the go-to choice for areas prone to condensation as they can tolerate being washed and wiped more than a flat matt emulsion.
The development of high-performance paints such as Crown Trade’s Clean Extreme range, which includes matt emulsions and an acrylic eggshell product, provides landlords with more options, as these can not only be wiped and washed, but can be repeatedly scrubbed without diminishing the appearance of the paint finish.
What’s more, the range is available in a near limitless range of colours, so appearances aren’t compromised – and Clean Extreme’s Ultimate Opacity formula for white paint means that it’s possible to cover darker shades when redecorating.
Paint with protection
Choosing a washable paint is essential, and opting for one that can withstand robust scrubbing will offer greater long-term benefits, but for the ultimate protection against mould and mildew, landlords should look for a paint that also contains a fungicide. Mould inhibiting paint is especially beneficial in bathrooms and kitchens, where moisture in the air is more likely to be an issue.
Crown would advise opting for paints that are also highly resistant to stains so that any unsightly marks can be easily and effectively removed. This helps to reduce the maintenance cycle, as rooms will likely need to be painted less frequently thanks to the durability of the paint, which also helps keep costs under control.