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Fire & Water - Cleanup & Restoration

Is it Possible to Save Paintings During Mold Remediation in an Art Studio?

10/5/2020 (Permalink)

Art studio Mold damage in your art studio? SERVPRO can make it "Like it never even happened."

Wilmington Artists Concerned About Art Materials During Mold Remediation.

Wilmington art studio owners know how much time and effort it takes to put together an art studio or gallery. It is a true labor of love and an excellent way to showcase local artists.

No studio owner wants to deal with mold remediation in their Wilmington gallery. Mold can be disastrous for art materials. However, do not despair. Mold remediation is possible in many cases, and SERVPRO is on hand to help.

When should gallery owners contact SERVPRO?

We recommend you contact us as soon as you notice signs of mold. You do not have to see fungal growth – if you notice damp patches on walls, ceilings, or artworks, let us know. Likewise, if you smell a moldy scent, call us. The sooner we arrive, the better the chance of saving your materials. We're Faster To Any Size Disaster, so do not delay. 

What does mold do to paintings and art materials?

Unfortunately, canvas and other art materials such as paper or natural brushes make excellent food for mold. The fungus is parasitic and grows by digesting organic materials. Once mold settles on art materials, it can: 

  • Cause unsightly black or green patches
  • Damage materials beyond repair
  • Spread throughout your gallery and find new places to propagate

Can paintings be restored after fungal growth?

Restoring paintings requires specialist knowledge and equipment, but it is certainly possible. The tricky part about restoring moldy paintings is that you must try to avoid using chemicals on the painted service. The type of painting makes a difference. It is tough to restore watercolors as any water-based products will cause them to run. Acrylics are a little more robust, and oil paintings are the hardiest of all.

SERVPRO of Hockessin / Elsmere can restore some mold-damaged paintings, especially if the damage is minimal. However, in some cases, you may need to contact professional art restorers, who can:

  • Choose products designed for use on the artwork, which minimize the risk of damage
  • Repaint areas of the picture
  • Restore the canvas, board, and stretchers that support the painting

Our technicians will let you know how much we can do and what results we can get to decide on your next best course of action.

Is it possible to rescue blank canvases?

Yes, depending on the extent of fungal growth. Our technicians can use careful brushing and powerful HEPA vacuums to remove mold from the canvas's surface. We can also use antimicrobial treatments and cleaning products and dry the canvas afterward.

We understand the importance of restoring canvas to its original shape and texture. We will give you an honest assessment of each piece's condition and the likelihood of a favorable outcome.

What about paint and paintbrushes?

Paint stored in properly-closed tins can last for ten years or more, and the container should keep the mold out. However, if you see mold on the paint's surface or the paint smells musty, discard and replace it. 

We can treat paintbrushes with a combination of scrubbing and brushing the handles, and using detergent and antimicrobial agents to clean the bristles. We can also tackle other wooden objects such as: 

  • Canvas stretchers
  • Backing boards
  • Frames

Can SERVPRO clean the gallery space too?

Yes. When our team arrives at your studio, they will assess the space and contents and draw up a plan of action. The assessment includes testing for moisture and humidity, so we know what we are working with.

We will set up containment around the affected area to contain the mold and prevent spores from breaking off and traveling throughout your studio. We use scrubbing, HEPA vacuuming, dry and wet wiping, and sometimes baking soda blasting to clean walls, floors, ceilings, and crawl spaces. We also place air movers and dehumidifiers to dry your gallery and make it less habitable for mold. 

We deodorize everything before we leave to get rid of lingering mold smells. We can use air scrubbers and carbon filters, and we can also wet fog nooks and crannies and place odor-eating pellets around the building.

Will the mold come back?

Because mold is naturally-occurring, we cannot guarantee it will not return. However, you can take some steps to protect your art studio by keeping it dry and free of water leaks and drips. Consider investing in some dehumidifiers – choose a model that displays the humidity level as it dries. Keep your gallery building in good condition, and do not overlook leaks or wet patches.

If the mold does come back, do not attempt to clean it yourself, as this can make it worse. Let us know, and we will assist you.

For help saving your art studio from mold, call SERVPRO of Hockessin / Elsmere at (302) 992-0104.

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