January 30

How to Avoid Common Paint Problems

A fresh coat of paint is an easy way to dramatically change the look of your home, inside and out. Painting is a labor-intensive process that requires careful preparation for professional results. Here are five common paint problems and tips to prevent them from ruining your next painting project.

5 Common Paint Problems

1. Blistering

Applying paint on a moist or warm surface can cause blisters or bubbles to form. Paint applied on a damp surface creates bubbling when the tiny droplets dry in place. Blistering can also occur when applying paint on an exceedingly hot surface. To avoid blistering and bubbling:

  • Only apply paint on cool, dry, clean surfaces.
  • Don’t paint when it is raining (or likely to begin raining).
  • Avoid painting in direct sunlight.
  • Avoid painting early in the morning when there is condensation on your home’s exterior.

2. Chalking

Another common paint problem is the appearance of a white or chalk-like substance on a home’s exterior. Some small amounts of chalking, especially in dry arid climates, is normal and can be wiped away. Excessive chalking frequently occurs when low-quality paint has been used. Low-quality paints contain pigment extenders that wear away in the sun, creating an undesirable chalky film coating. Another cause is over-thinning new paint. When the paint is too thin, it loses the resins that bind the pigments and releases a chalky film after sun exposure. Prevent chalking on your home’s exterior by:

  • Cleaning and removing all dirt and mildew before painting.
  • Using high-quality primers and paints.
  • Avoid over-thinning your paint.

3. Wrinkling

The wrinkling effect is the appearance of folds or creases in newly applied paint. Painting on an improperly prepared surface or applying another coat while the first coat is still wet can cause wrinkles. To avoid wrinkling:

  • Always start with a clean surface and store paint cans in the proper environmental conditions to prevent contamination.
  • Read and follow the instructions on your paint carefully.
  • Apply the new paint evenly at the same spread rate.
  • Allow the first coat of paint to dry thoroughly before applying another coat.

4. Alligatoring

The alligator effect occurs when a painted surface develops a cracking pattern resembling an alligator’s skin. Applying a second coat before the first coat is dry, applying an oil-based paint over a more flexible coating, and using low-quality paint can all cause alligatoring. Help prevent the alligator effect by:

  • Scraping and removing all old paint to eliminate adhesion issues.
  • Applying a high-quality latex primer and letting it dry completely.
  • Using high-quality paint products.
  • Allowing the first coat to dry completely before applying a second coat.

5. Peeling and Cracking

Insufficient surface preparation is the main culprit that causes new paint to peel or crack. Peeling often occurs when the paint is applied on a dirty or dusty surface. Moisture can also seep into the wall, causing the paint to crack or peel. To prevent peeling from ruining your new paint job:

  • Clean surfaces thoroughly to remove any dirt or dust particles.
  • Use the recommended type of paint for the surface.
  • Only apply paint on a clean, dry surface away from direct sunlight.
  • Apply the correct primer to seal the surface so the paint will adhere properly.

While improper preparation and application contribute to peeling paint, moisture is the number one culprit. Preventing excessive moisture is essential to protect your home’s interior and exterior. Too much or too little indoor humidity can be a problem for your health. Most experts recommend an indoor humidity level of 30-50%, depending on your climate and individual preferences.

How to Prevent Excessive Moisture

Excessive moisture can damage wood, paint, insulation, and siding. It can also increase the level of indoor allergens and pollutants like mold, mildew, and dust mites. You can improve your home’s interior humidity levels by:

  • Using exhaust fans, wall vents, or louvers to improve ventilation.
  • Monitoring and adjusting the humidity level as appropriate.
  • Weatherstripping around doors and windows to create an air-tight seal. Good weatherstripping prevents cool or warm air from escaping and excess humidity from seeping inside.
  • Using dehumidifiers in moisture-prone areas such as basements and utility rooms.

The exterior of your home also requires routine maintenance to prevent damage from moisture. You can help control exterior moisture by:

  • Replacing worn or crumbly caulking around windows and doors.
  • Keeping gutters and downspouts clean.
  • Ensuring that water drains away from your home’s foundation.
  • Repairing or replacing loose or damaged shingles.
  • Keeping trees and shrubs trimmed back from your home’s roof and siding.

Hire a Professional Residential Painting

Applying new paint successfully requires time and skill. Professional painters are experts in surface preparation. They have the knowledge and skills to prevent these and other common paint problems from ruining a new paint job. When you want flawless, long-lasting results, hire an experienced residential painter.

Trust The Painting Pros to Deliver High-Quality Results

The Painting Pros, Inc. is a high-quality, award-winning painting contractor. Since 1978, we’ve served homeowners, business owners, and property managers across the San Jose area. When it’s time to update your property, please call The Painting Pros at 408-418-9912 to discuss your needs. Our team of painting professionals handles jobs of all sizes, and we’re ready to help you transform your property with a new paint job.

The Painting Pros is known for its environmentally-conscious products and methods. We were the first painting company in Silicon Valley to be “certified green” by Green America. We use only low-VOC paints and recycle all eligible materials. The Painting Pros is a “Lead-Safe Certified Firm” with the EPA, meaning we have the training to safely take the necessary precautions to work with lead-based paint surfaces.


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