Common Paint Problems
Paint can do wonders to breathe new life into the appearance of a dingy old room or the otherwise tired exterior of a home. Appearance aside, a good coat of paint on interior walls and woodwork can them more abrasion resistant and easier to clean – especially where little ones are involved. On the exterior, paint provides a protective coating against oxidation and rot. As with the interior, good paint — properly applied — will resist oxidation and staining and can be kept looking good with an occasional rinsing with water and garden hose.
Regrettably, many do-it-yourselfers pay more attention to color – albeit important – than they do to preparation. There is a well known saying in the professional painting world that “70 percent of a good paint job has to do with preparation.” Simply put, that’s the cleaning, scraping, sanding, puttying, caulking and priming. All else being equal, high quality paint combined with thorough preparation is a winning recipe for a paint job that will look good and last a long time.
One of the most important parts of preparation is dealing with paint problems that may not be solved with a fresh coat of paint such as blistering, chalking, nail head rusting and paint incompatibility – to name a few. In fact, it would suffice to say that you may end up having to paint twice unless the cause of these (and other) common paint problems are first addressed and solved. What follows are some of the most common paint problems, their causes and what you can do to solve them.
Paint incompatibility: Typically this condition exists where latex (water base) paint is applied over several coats of old oil base paint. The paint refuses to stick and easily peels. This can usually be prevented by sanding the existing oil finish and applying a coat of oil base primer followed by a latex finish coat. Most diyers and pros alike are opting for latex paint due to its ease of application and quick cleanup.
Blistering paint: These resemble medium to large water blisters. With few exceptions, paint blisters are almost always moisture related. The origin can be from excessive interior moisture escaping through the exterior walls; a leak around windows, doors or from the roof that is allowing moisture to make its way behind the paint; painting a warm surface in direct sunlight or painting a “green” surface that is damp or wet. Popping the blisters and patching, sanding, priming and painting is at best a temporary fix. Your best bet is to find the source of the problem, fix it and then paint.
Chalking: Chalk is great on blackboards, but is miserable when it’s on the outside of your home. There nothing worse than having someone brush up against the siding on your front porch only to have their Sunday best look as if they’ve been rolling in a dust pile. While some chalking can be attributed to normal oxidation, excessive chalking is usually associated with the use of “bargain basement” paints that contain lots of cheap fillers such as clay and less of the more expensive titanium dioxide, which gives paint its hide. Another common cause of chalking is using an interior paint outdoors. Solution: buy the best paint that you can afford and never use an interior paint outdoors and vise versa.
Nail head rusting: If your siding looks like it has the mumps, what you probably have is rusting nail heads bleeding through the surface of the paint. Rusting nail heads can result from using non-galvanized iron nails; non-galvanized iron nails that were not countersunk, filled and primed; or galvanized nail heads that have lost their galvanic protection from sanding or weathering. Solve the problem by washing off the rust stains, lightly sand the nail heads and countersink them slightly below the surface of the siding. Apply a dab or top quality siliconized latex caulk to each nail head; spot prime and paint to finish.
Poor gloss retention: The paint had a mirror-like finish when you first applied it, but now it’s duller than dirt. More often than not this condition is caused when using a gloss oil base paint in areas that are exposed to direct sunlight. It can also be caused when using an interior paint outdoors or applying poor quality paint – see chalking. Although virtually all paints will lose some degree of luster over time, this condition can best be avoided by using latex paint in areas that have prolonged exposure to the sun. The binders in latex paints are especially resistant to the oxidizing UV rays of the sun. Poor quality paints will also oxidize more rapidly.
Roses are red, violets are blue, buying and applying the right paint will a home improvement hero make of you.
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