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How to Fix Common Paint Problems

Cheryl Mascarenhas
A poor paint job, eventually, often leaves the house looking old and dilapidated. While none of us would like the beauty of our homes to be sacrificed due to peeling paint, it is one of the most common problems that grip homeowners. Here we will help you fix persistent paint problems.

Use premium-grade paints because...

...they are generally thicker, have better coverage, and are more durable, which ensures that your walls are better shielded, last longer, and wash better.
A fresh coat of paint will make the house appealing and welcoming. An old house, especially, is replete with a lot of paint problems that can take away your peace of mind. This doesn't mean that a new house won't show signs of wear and tear.
A poor paint job can well manifest itself with cracked paint, and encourage the formation of blisters and peeling.
Extreme temperatures can play havoc with both the interior and exterior of your house over a period of time. While there is little you can do

Fixes to Various Paint Problems


One of the most common paint problems to affect the interiors is blistering. Blistering is nothing but the formation of bubbles due to the loss of adhesion between the paint film and surface. Over time, these blisters lead to peeling.
Understand the Causes
The underlying cause for the formation of blisters is the presence of moisture or heat, or a combination of both. Painting over a damp or hot surface could result in bubbling or blistering. Similarly, applying oil-based paint over latex paint could lead to the paint forming ugly bumps or blisters.
Fixing the Problem
► Remove the blisters by scraping and sanding.
► Once smooth and dry, coat with primer.
► Apply quality acrylic latex paint.
Things to Remember
Avoid exposing the paint to moisture or heat. If possible, paint when the sun has gone down, and the temperatures are not as high as the day. Avoid painting the wall if there is a possibility of a shower. Most importantly, repair loose caulking and fix the vents, which will help lower the humidity level inside the house.


Flaking or peeling paint is the curse of an old home. While moisture does cause the paint to peel, flaking could result from neglected hairline cracks formed in the wall as well.
Understand the Causes
One of the many causes of peeling is the use of low-quality paint, which leads to inadequate adhesion and flexibility. Poor surface preparation is another major cause for flaking. Aged paint that is brittle due to the forces of nature acting upon it can also cause flaking.
Too many layers of paint applied without the previous coat drying completely is another reason that causes flaking and peeling.
Fixing the Problem
► Scrape off all layers of paint if it has gone to the last substrate.
► Sand the surface area till it is smooth and even.
► Apply an even layer of primer.
► Repaint with quality latex paint.
► If the peeling hasn't reached the last substrate, remove the flaking paint with a scraper, and sand the edges to make it smooth.
► Apply primer, sand the area smooth, and repaint the surface to match the area.
Things to Remember
Keep a watch for hairline cracks, blisters, and craters that form on the walls. Also ensure that there is no leak or moisture buildup, and fix the problem before you get down to repainting the wall.
The most important point that must not be ignored is to remove all the layers of old paint before undertaking a fresh paint job, to keep the new paint from peeling off.


Checking and alligatoring are nothing but failure in the paint film that cracks to resemble the skin of a reptile. Alligatoring is particularly associated with oil-based paints that have gone beyond their prime.
This is particularly spotted on window and door frames, where, with the constant expansion and contraction of the wood, layers of paint begin to crack to resemble the back of an alligator.
Understand the Causes
Expansion and contraction of wood is the main cause for paint splitting which forms a checkered pattern. In addition to that, a fresh layer of paint applied to an older layer can cause such patterns to form.
Another important cause for such problems to arise is the use of a glossy or oil enamel over a latex paint. Natural aging of the oil-based paint also causes such ugly cracks to form.
Fixing the Problem
► Remove all traces of old paint to the last substrate.
► Sand the area till smooth.
► Apply primer and allow to dry.
► Repaint with flexible latex-based/ high quality acrylic paint.
Things to Remember
Apply a good quality primer and an equally good quality acrylic paint to give your wall a long-lasting paint job.


Exposure to the sun over time takes its toll on the paint. This results in chalky paint sticking to your hand the minute you touch it. It is nothing but a powdery residue that results from exposure to the sun, and breaking down of the sheen that once formed the paint.
Understand the Causes
Time wears down paint, and the best example of this wearing is chalking. Over time, constant exposure to the sun breaks down the binder, and the pigment starts to wash away. It is a sign telling you to get a fresh paint job done.
Fixing the Problem
► Sand and pressure-wash the exterior walls.
► Once thoroughly dry, sand the remaining paint and primer.
► Coat with a fresh layer of primer to smooth out cracks.
► Apply a layer of good quality acrylic paint.
► Apply a second coat if needed.
Things to Remember
Avoid using an interior paint for the exterior, and vice versa. Rely on good quality acrylic paint to protect your house.


Unattended damp areas will promote the growth of paint fungus or mildew, which will, in turn, result in the wall looking splotchy and ugly.
Understand the Causes
Poor ventilation, high humidity and moisture retention in the walls, are the major causes of mildew. Lack of direct sunlight is another cause for the formation of black spots, that visibly feed on the paint film. Besides, not applying a layer of primer, and using low-quality paint can also foster the growth of mildew.
Fixing the Problem
► Apply a coat of bleach/cleaning solution to the area, and leave for 10 minutes.
► Scrub clean and rinse with water.
► Wash the area with detergent solution, and rinse again.
► Allow it to dry completely, before painting.
Things to Remember
Bathrooms and kitchens are more prone to the formation of mildew. To avoid mildew from forming, it is better to install an exhaust fan to keep a check on the moisture and humidity levels in the area.

Rust Stains

Rusted nails and corrosive paints can lead to rust stains forming on the walls. Characterized by reddish-brown stains on the painted surface, these stains occur due to the bits of iron and metal set amidst the rock/brick.
Exposure to moisture can cause them to rust, leaving you with unruly stains on the wall.
Understand the Causes
Non-corrosion-resistant nails used instead of stainless steel nails are a major cause of rust stains. Excessive weathering and sanding can cause the galvanized coating to wear out, which might result in rust stains.
Fixing the Problem
► Replace rusted nails with galvanized nails.
► Remove rust stains by sanding the area.
► Apply a stain-blocking primer.
► Paint with high quality paint.
Things to Remember
If the staining is accompanied with mildew, you will have to wash the wall and then sand it, before you apply a layer of primer.
Remember, excessive exposure to moisture is bad for your home. Doing a paint job every few years is necessary to keep both, the interior and exterior walls in supreme condition. Doing this will also ensure that you keep any paint-related problems at bay.