It pains us to say this, it really does, but that ever-so-slight chill in the air can mean only one thing – Fall. The cooler weather has its advantages (give us a minute and we’ll think of one) but it also means that it is time to seal the envelope. Closing the windows to keep the chill out means less natural ventilation in one of the rooms that really benefits from good ventilation – that’s right – the bathroom.
We are not talking about odors (grow up!) – but we ARE talking about mold and mildew, which grow much more quickly when given the right environment. Steamy bathrooms with little to no ventilation are the perfect environment for mold. As you are relaxing in your ‘spa-like’ bathroom — there is a lot of steam heat being generated.
If your existing bathroom fan sounds like the runway at Logan Airport – it might be time for an upgrade. Most bathroom exhaust fans have been re-engineered to be a LOT quieter. That sound you hear should NOT be your bathroom fan; but for a soft humming sound.
Bathroom ventilation fans have different air flow capacities, measured in cubic feet per minute (cfm). To get the right fan for your bathroom, use the guidelines set by the Home Ventilating Institute: Your fan should have 1 cfm for every square foot of floor space in your bathroom.
It’s a fairly easy formula: For bathrooms larger than 100 square feet, figure your cfm requirements by adding:
50 cfm for every toilet
50 cfm for each shower, bath and combo
100 cfm for each whirlpool (if you are lucky enough to have one)
You can go up in price if you’d like a built-in heater (a luxury when getting out of a shower in the colder weather.) Again, Panasonic makes a very highly rated one though the price reflects the addition of the light and the CFM (110 CFM). It’s called WhisperWarm™ – Quiet, Fan/Heater Solution.
Mold and Mildeeeew
A decidedly un-sexy topic but we can be grown-ups, can’t we?
Thanks in large part to pressure applied by widespread media hype, today’s premium products — whether they’re made for the interior or exterior — contain some degree of mildewcide (a fancy word that means it kills mildew on contact) that companies promise will keep the paint film mold- and mildew-free for the life of the coating. They are washable and/or scrubbable. And they protect against an unknown number of fungi invaders. Phew!
However, if you’ve spotted mildew growing on your walls (and here is a photo):
and you want to kill it and paint – in order for the paint to work there’s one thing that must be done first.
“You need to take care of mildew at its source before you paint,” says Andy Rzicznek, product manager with Pratt & Lambert. “I don’t know of any paint that kills mildew and mold spores.” So before you even get to the primer, you should use this ratio:
A 3:1 mixture of water and bleach will kill existing mildew, according to experts. Hopefully you don’t have this problem….and you can use your standard-issue primer.
Virtually every paint manufacturer produces mildew-resistant paint. Here are the names from some of the better-known brands.
Benjamin Moore produces two low-VOC paint lines, Aura Bath and Spa paint and Eco Spec® WB Silver, a zero-VOC commercial paint. Both are a low-odor interior paint containing additives to inhibit mildew growth on the paint’s surface.
Sherwin Williams recommends their Emerald® Interior Acrylic Latex, which offers paint and primer in one with advanced stain blocking technology.
Of course we are not going to help you choose your paint colors! That we’ll leave up to you. We will provide you with some inspiration however- with this lovely Benjamin Moore (w/Kohler products) bathroom. The soothing colors are Guildford Green and Seahorse.