An exterior paint is made to withstand the elements because the weather can cause many problems if the paint’s viscosity is not up to par. The sun can cause the color to fade, and the rain and snow can cause moisture buildup which may lead to cracking, peeling , and mold and mildew problems. A mid-grade and “best” paint found in any store that sells paint will usually contain in its recipe certain things to withstand all of these problems and will last anywhere from 10 years to a lifetime against peeling, cracking, and fading. These paints will also have a mildew resistance to them that will typically last three to five years, as well.
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When one reads about this kind of durability, they might think that an exterior paint could be a wonderful solution for interior painting needs, such as, a bathroom because it is prone to constant moisture and humidity. Moisture and humidity can make interior surfaces prone to the same problems you may deal with on your exterior surfaces because moisture buildup may lead to cracking, peeling, and mold and mildew problems. These are very common in a bathroom and will occur because of poor ventilation. Poor ventilation can be either from a window not being present in the room, or the bathroom fan is not utilized properly.
Knowing that interior surfaces can have the same problems as exterior surfaces, one might want to turn towards an exterior paint to solve the a bathroom problem because of its wonderful benefits of withstanding the elements, but this is not a good solution. In fact, an exterior paint can cause more harm than good when using it indoors.
One serious thing to look out for is the VOC’s (Volatile Organic Compounds), or what is commonly referred to as, paint fumes. These fumes will permeate in the room and can last for as long as six months or more if the exterior paint is allowed to stay on the surface for that length of time.
Paint fumes are not just something that is considered bad for the environment, they are harmful to human beings and animals. These VOC’s are known to cause “sick building syndrome”. Some common symptoms include headaches, lightheadedness, and nausea, to name a few.
People that find the fumes from an exterior paint unbearable in your interior dwelling can fix the problem by painting again with an interior paint, but there are important steps to follow.
Remove as much of the old paint as possible by scraping and sanding down the surface. Wash your surface and allow it to dry. Apply a stain-blocking primer to the surface. Two good ones are Bin and Kilz. This type of primer will place a barrier between the old paint and the new one and that barrier will eliminate the fumes from the exterior paint.
Once your walls are prepped, you can begin repainting with an interior paint. There are many options to choose, but it is recommended to use at least a semi-gloss finish. A semi-gloss paint makes the walls easier to clean and scrub, where as a flat or a satin makes it more difficult to wipe a wall stain clean. You can also use a specially formulated kitchen and bathroom paint, but it is not necessary. All paints come with a three to five year mildew resistance, five being the highest you can get in any paint. A specialty paint will not be any different.
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Your best defense against mold and mildew in a bathroom is utilizing your bathroom fan (and window if you have one). Turn on your fan while the shower is running and keep it on for 20 minutes after the water is shut off. Opening the window, if weather permits, will also help aid against mold and mildew buildup.