One of the most difficult house painting projects after a hurricane or a flood is interior house painting. It can take literally weeks for flood damaged ceilings, floors and walls to dry completely. If interior painting is done before surfaces have dried properly, the growth of mold and mildew may occur. This can end up in structural damage to the home and you may have to replace more walls or wall coverings. Mold and mildew are also hazardous to those who have respiratory problems such as asthma. It’s important to properly remove the moisture before beginning the house painting project.
Before you can begin interior painting, all of the water and moisture will need to be removed from the home. This includes removing any furnishings that became soaked with water. You will also want to remove moisture that has been absorbed by plaster, wood and any other materials. If it is possible open the windows and door to help increase air circulation to help dry things out. If humidity levels are still high, you can use a dehumidifier. A commercial dehumidifier can be obtained as a rental. Be sure to shut all the windows and doors before turning on the unit. If there was severe flooding it may be best to hire a professional contractor to remove the water.
You should be able to wash the dirt, mud and debris from walls and ceilings using a mop cloth or a sponge. Wallboard, paneling and plaster will have to be removed at least as high as the flood waters rose. Some paneling may be able to be salvaged if it can dry slowly. But any drywall or insulation that was damaged by flood waters should be removed and disposed of properly. These items can literally hold water for months after they have become wet or soaked. Plaster may or may not need to be replaced, but it can have a very long drying time.
Before any interior painting can occur, any mold or mildew must be properly removed. A surface cleaner that is designed to remove mildew can be used on any surface that is to be painted. These products are available at any paint store. You may also use a household detergent to wash the walls and ceilings and then scrub them with a solution made from one fourth a cup of bleach and one quart of water. After all the surfaces to be painted have been thoroughly washed and cleaned allow them to dry completely. After they are thoroughly dry, apply a coat of paint. Make sure to purchase interior paint that contains an anti-mildew agent.
Woodwork will also have to be replaced or repainted depending on the severity of the damage. If it is salvageable, woodwork will need to be cleaned very good in order to remove mildew. You can use a cleaning solution which contains phosphates. Powdered dishwashing detergent is one product that will work to effectively clean woodwork. You can also purchase trisodium phosphate at a hardware store and mix 4 to 6 tablespoons of it with a gallon of water to make your own solution. Once you have washed the woodwork thoroughly, you will want to rinse it good with clean water and then use a soft cotton cloth to dry it. Once it is dry you may paint it or apply a finish depending on your preferences. Remember that for all the interior painting projects whether it is woodwork, ceilings or walls, a mildew resistant paint or finish should be used. This will prevent mildew from growing on these surfaces in the future.