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Common Painting Problems & Solutions
Blistering
 
 
 
 
Blisters are bubbles, which form on the surface when paint lifts up from the substrate because it has not properly adhered. The area that does not adhere lifts and swells as air is trapped forming a blister.
 
The Cause
 

The main cause of blisters is from painting when the surface is too hot usually when painting a surface, which is in the direct sunlight on a very hot day.    The paint dries too quickly and the normal evaporation of vapors is not possible, trapping air. As the air expands, bubbles are formed. Blisters can also form if you apply oil paint over a surface that is not dry or has some moisture trapped inside (wet wood) .   Paint does not stick to the wet wood causing air to be trapped and expand as temperatures rise. Usually blistering is a problem associated with oil paint but can occasionally occur with latex paint when a surface that is not totally dry is painted over.

 
Solution
 

Scrape off the blisters gently, sand the area, and test the surface for moisture. If it has high moisture content let it dry properly and try to determine the source of the moisture and have that repaired (leakage of pipe for example). Once dry, apply a good primer and then apply a good acrylic paint. Preparation is key – sand, prime then paint.

Blocking


Blocking occurs when doors and windows stick to their frames after being close after painting. The surfaces stick to each other and when you try to “unglue” them the paint peels off and this is referred to as blocking.

 
The Cause
 

Blocking happens when enough time for the paint to properly dry is not allowed. It can also occur if the second coat is applied before the first coat did not have enough time to dry.

 
Solution
 

Allow paint to fully dry before closing windows and doors. Latex paints dry quicker and you have to make sure that you allow lots of extra time for oil paints to fully dry. Oil paints actually offer better block resistance as long as you ensure that it is fully dried before closing windows or doors.


Burnishing


Burnishing is extra glossy, shiny look of parts of a wall or surface from friction or rubbing. It causes an uneven effect by making some sections shinier and smoother than other parts. It is common on high activity areas of homes.

 
The Cause
 

Higher quality paints have greater burnishing resistance. Constant cleaning with chemicals can often cause burnishing. Also, the friction from furniture against a wall can also cause burnishing.

 
The Solution
 

Try to keep furniture away from walls. Use high quality, washable paints in areas of high traffic and never use flat paint in these areas. Used high quality latex paint with a semi gloss or satin sheen. Avoid washing the walls for at least a month after painting. Avoid using abrasive cleaning liquids when cleaning. Instead use mild soapy water and a sponge to clean the walls. If possible use non-burnishing paint.
 

Caulking Failure  

The Cause
 

Caulking failure occurs when caulk cracks and lifts away from the surface that it was intended to stick to and seal. This usually happens around doors and windows and can result in water seepage. As there is more vibration around doors and windows the caulking used to seal these areas can loosen and fall off over time. Low quality caulking dries out quickly, cracks and has a short life.   It is important to use the right type of caulking for different conditions as well.

The Solution
 

For low humidity areas that don’t get wet often use of a latex based caulk is fine. If you want to waterproof an area or if there is substantial vibration, use a silicone based caulking.

Flaking/Peeling


The Cause :
 

The most common of all paint problems – paint doesn’t stick. The surface might have been dirty. This can also happen if there are too many layers of paint already on the substrate. Another cause is using the wrong type of paint for example painting latex over an oil-based paint. Even painting latex over latex if the surface is very glossy and was not scuff sanded can cause paint to have low adhesion. Also if the surface was wet or moist when painted it will certainly peel.

 
Solution: 
 

Eliminate any moisture and sources of moisture. Check for leakage from eaves, roofs, or plumbing. Even moisture from a shower can cause peeling (Installing a fan may be in order) Scrape off old paint where flaking one foot around flaking area. Sand the area down to bare wood, prime with proper primer, seal all seams, holes, or cracks with caulking and apply top coat of appropriate paint.

Alligatoring


The cause: 

 

Paint has many reptilian-looking interconnected cracks. The outer coat has not adhered properly to the paint beneath. Also the previous paint was applied in too heavy of coats with insufficient dry time between coats or using an undercoat not designed to work with the finishing coat.

 
Solution: 
 

Sand area smooth, often down to bare wood. Apply one coat of undercoating – recommended to use an oil primer – and one top-coat of appropriate paint. The oil primer will often fill many of the cracks that remain.

 
Chalking

 

Cause: 
 

This is a natural feature as paint deteriorates it breaks down into a powdery chalk and takes dirt with it when rain washes it away. This helps to keep the paint looking clean. The problem is that new paint will not adhere properly to chalky paint.

 
Solution: 

Scrub the chalking substrate with detergent and rinse well . Apply paint only after chalking is no longer present. 

Cracking and Scaling



The cause: 
 

Small fissures open in the paint which allow in moisture which lifts the paint. This is most often caused by old paint once it has lost its elasticity and can no longer stretch and contract with weather and humidity.

 
Solution: 
 

Eliminate sources of moisture before painting. Sand areas smooth and apply an undercoating such as a quality primer. Tint the primer to desired color and apply one topcoat of paint over top.

Wrinkling, Running and Sagging


The cause:
 

The paint droops, lumps or puckers. This is usually the result of poor painting technique, namely apply too thick of a coat and not properly brushing or rolling it in.

 
Solution
 

Strip the surface and repaint it. Make sure the first coat is dry for ample time before applying the second coat.

 

Top Coat Peeling

The Cause:
 

This usually occurs on overlapping horizontal surfaces and other areas which are protected from the rain. It is caused by poor adhesion of previous coat of paint from buildup of salt deposits which would normally be washed away by the rain.

 
Solution: 
 

Sand the area thoroughly to remove all peeling paint. Wash the sanded surface with a solution of 1/3 cup of TSP to one gallon of water. Rinse well and allow to dry. Apply one coat of undercoating to entire area and one top coat of paint.

Mildew

The Cause:
 

Mildew thrives in high humidity and high temperature. If left on the surface and painted over, it will grow through the new coat of paint. It is usually found in shady, protected areas that don’t get proper sun or ventilation.

 
Solution:
 

Scrub the entire area with 1/3 cup TSP, ½ cup bleach and 1 gallon water solution. Apply a mildew resistant primer. Apply one coat of mildew resistant latex paint.

 



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