Recognizing Paint Problems

Did you paint your house last year? You can probably still feel how cold the celebratory glass of lemonade tasted when you were done. Remember how proud you were of the results, and knowing that your hard work would protect your home for years to come?

That is why it is so easy to understand the heart-break as you look over your house now, and begin to see where the paint is already beginning to fail. Lets look at some of the common paint problems and see what caused them, and how we can fix them.

Most of the problems we will see come down to a couple of basic problems: Low Quality Paint or improper preparation. The bad news it that some of these problems remain hidden until a season or two in the life of your house has gone by. The extremes of weather over a hot summer and hard winter make things interesting for your paint coating.

The most common problem for a house painting job seems to be blistering and peeling. On a microscopic level, blistering and peeling is telling us that the new paint isn’t sticking to the old surface. Although this could be dirt on the previous surface, it is just as likely a moisture problem. Another cause of blistering is painting on a day that is too hot; the outer surface of the wet paint dries faster than the entire coat, and moisture is trapped within the paint and spends the next few seasons trying to get out.

Suspect moisture when the peeling and blisters are rather large. It is bad enough if the moisture causing your problems are simply from painting on a humid day or not waiting until the surface was dry before painting. If the moisture is coming from below the substrate, there are much bigger issues at play. If you notice peeling outside of the bathroom or other humid areas of the house, it may indicate that you need to improve your interior ventilation.

Once you have determined, and hopefully repaired the cause of your peeling, you can make repairs to the paint. Scrape away the peeling paint, sand the rough edges of the broken paint, prime any bare wood, and repaint.

Drips and runs result from improper painting technique. It probably means that there was too much paint on the brush and the paint was applied too thickly. If the drips are caught before the paint is dry, they can be corrected with a brush by redistributing the paint. If they are dried in place they will need to be sanded smooth, and then the sanded area will have to be repainted.

Rust spots appearing through your paint is understandably irritating. This is usually caused by the galvanized coating on nail heads or flashing becoming damaged or sanded away. The best solution is to remove the faulty nails or flashing and replace them. When this isn’t possible, remove the paint, coat the bare metal surface with a rust inhibitor or even a rust-blocker, and repaint the area.

One of the nastiest paint problems is mildew; the fungus among us. Mildew will be recognized by patches of powdery brown or black discoloration. Once mildew takes hold, there is no point on painting over it. It has to be killed before it can begin to rot the substrate. Use a commercial fungicide or a solution of bleach to eradicate the mildew, then wash the surface with detergent. Allow to thoroughly dry, and then repaint.

Don’t get down on yourself for having to do these paint repairs. They are all lessons learned for the next time you have to paint. The important thing is to be pleased with yourself for finding the problems and correcting them before they got any worse.


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