Top 12 Most Common Painting Problems

House painting usually involves solving one or more of the common painting problems described below. CertaPro Painters® of Nashville and Middle Tennessee is staffed by experts at all the required preparation techniques and specialty materials necessary to address these problems. If you or a loved one has noticed these problems, contact CertaPro Painters for a free estimate today!

12 – Alligatoring

Alligatoring is patterned cracking in a paint film that looks like the regular-shaped scales of an alligator. These paint failures can be caused by having a very hard coating (oil-based enamel, for example), applied over a softer coating. When the softer under coat expands and contracts with temperature changes, the top layer, which is not as flexible, cracks.

11 – Blistering/Bubbling

Blistering is the appearance of bubbles on the painted surface. They are usually caused by moisture which can come from several sources. High ambient humidity or high surface temperatures when painting, interior moisture trying to escape from a house that does not have a good vapor barrier, and when a solvent-based paint (oil/alkyd, usually) is used and the second coat is applied before the first coat has sufficiently dried.

10 – Chalking/Chalky Paint

Chalking is a layer of powder, usually the same color as the paint, sitting on the surface. As house paint normally ages and wears, a small amount of chalk is expected and reflects the natural aging process. However, when poor quality house paints (cheap resins, highly pigmented) are used, this aging happens too quickly and the surface becomes highly chalky, indicating that the paint film is no longer serving as the barrier between the house and the elements as it was designed. It should be rinsed off and/or a specialty bonding primer should be applied as part of any good paint job.

9 – Cracking and Flaking

Cracking and Flaking usually starts as thin, hairline cracks in the paint film which grow over time. Causes of this paint problem include cheap house paint with poor adhesion and flexibility, poor surface preparation, and paint being applied too thinly.

8 – Efflorescence

Efflorescence (also called mottling) is a common paint failure found on masonry and cement surfaces. As moisture passes through the masonry or cement, it gathers salts from the mortar, which are then deposited between the substrate and the paint film. The house paint is then sitting on a loose bed and cannot adhere correctly.

7 – Fading paint

Fading presents as poor color retention and is caused by high UV exposure. Thus, it is usually seen on the southern and western sites of the structure. Some colors are particularly susceptible to fading – bright reds, yellows, and medium-to-deep blues.

6 – Mildew

Mildew grows on house paint films that are damp a large portion of the time or which do not get any direct sunlight. A paint job applied over mildew does not solve the problem – it grows right back thru the new paint. Mildew grows more commonly on oil paints and poor quality latex paints than on high quality latex paints. Unprimed wood surfaces also result in more mildew growth than painted wood surfaces that were primed prior to painting.

5 – Rusting Nail Heads

Nail Head Rusting appears when non-galvanized nails have been used. The ferrous metal begins to rust, which comes right through most coatings. This is a materials/preparation issue, not a paint issue. Non-galvanized nails should be countersunk and then have a waterproof caulk applied to seal moisture from the nail head.

4 – Surfactant Leaching

Surfactant Leaching happens when certain chemicals common to almost all latex paints and which are intended to evaporate during the drying process condensate on the surface instead. They show up as light tan/brown drops or runs and can be either sticky or soapy in texture. They normally appear when paint is drying in a relatively humid environment and they do not represent any long term problem with the paint job. They can be washed or rinsed off with no effect to the paint film. Adding additional coats does not solve this problem.

3 – Tannin bleed-through

Tannin Bleed-through occurs when tannic acid in redwood, cedar, and cypress is brought to the wood’s surface by moisture. This can happen when the wood has not been thoroughly aged or sealed with a primer. Primer sealing is advised for raw wood on any paint job.

2 – Vinyl Warp

Vinyl Siding often warps when it is painted a color darker than the original vinyl color. Darker colors absorb the sun’s heat, in turn expanding the underlying vinyl, which often cannot return to its original shape once it cools down. Vinyl siding should not be painted a darker color than the original siding.

1 – Poor Color Choice

This is by far the most common problem encountered by painters and residents alike. Whether its an issue of lighting effecting your judgement or an unexpected color clash with other parts of the house, poor color choice is among the most frequently cited issues by homeowners. This is why its all the more important to get a professional color consultation with your free estimate today!

exterior paint chipping