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Exterior Paint Problem Solver

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Black, gray, or brown spots on the surface of paint or caulk.

Possible Cause:
Forms most often on areas that tend to be damp, or that receive little or no direct sunlight.
Use of an alkyd or oil-based paint, or lower-quality latex paint.
Failure to prime a bare wood surface before applying the paint.
Painting over a substrate or coating on which mildew has not been removed.

Test for mildew by applying a few drops of household bleach to the area. If it is bleached away, the discolorant is probably mildew.
Do not paint over a mildewed surface as it will grow through any new coat of paint.
Remove all mildew from the surface by scrubbing with a bleach solution (one part bleach, three parts water), while wearing rubber gloves and eye protection. Rinse thoroughly.
To protect against mildew in high humidity areas, use a quality kitchen and bath paint. Also consider installing exhaust fans in these areas.

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