Common Interior House Painting Problems

Painting Problem Causes and Solutions

Blocking
Two painted surfaces sticking together when pressed against the other, such as doors and windows.

Probable Causes
Insufficient drying time before pressing the newly painted surfaces of doors and windows together. Lack of adequate ventilation will lengthen drying time.  Excessive paint. Recoat before first coat is dry.

Solutions
Allow the proper drying time per label instructions. Free windows and doors from sticking before painting. Doors and window jams should be properly adjusted for free and smooth operation.

Primers & Exterior Finishes
Priming is essential for better adhesion, sheen uniformity, mildew control and durability. Select a top quality interior paint in the color and sheen of your choice.



Burnishing
Spots of increased sheen where paint is rubbed. Even a fingernail stroke can burnish.

Probable Causes
Selection of flat finish for areas subject to heavy wear and soiling. Repeated spot washings using abrasive cleansing powders rather than liquid detergents. Furniture or other objects rubbing against walls or other painted surfaces. Dark colors in flat paint show more.

Solutions
Paint high traffic areas with a high quality, satin, semi-gloss or gloss finishes. Do not clean with abrasive cleansers. Wash with non-abrasive detergents with a sponge or soft cloth and rinse with clean water. Gloss surfaces are easier to clean and resist soil.

Primers & Exterior Finishes
Priming is essential for better adhesion, sheen uniformity, mildew control and durability. Select a top quality interior paint in the color and sheen of your choice.



Caulking Failures
Loss of the protective moisture seal due to the loss of initial adhesion and flexibility.

Probable Causes
Filling too large an opening. Wrong type of caulk for a particular applications and exposure. Aged non-acrylic caulks that dry out lose their adhesion and flexibility. Considerable movement or prolonged contact with water will need special caulk/sealants.

Solutions
Select caulk that best serves your situation. Apply according to directions. For most interior painting, 100% acrylic caulks are recommended. They will seal cracks and adhere to most surfaces, even when moisture is present. Don't paint over silicone caulks.

Primers & Exterior Finishes
Priming is essential for better adhesion, sheen uniformity, mildew control and durability. Select a top quality interior paint in the color and sheen of your choice. 




Coalescence Void
Paint not forming a continuous film when surface temperature is too cold, usually below 50 degrees F.

Probable Causes
Painting when the air or surface temperatures are too cold for the paint to form a film. Painting in non-heated areas. Surfaces deeply chilled need a heating period before painting. Surface temperatures must be 50 degrees F or above.

Solutions
Avoid painting interior or exterior surfaces when the temperatures are too cold. Late afternoon painting in unheated areas are vulnerable because the temperature will continue to decrease during the night and prevent proper paint film formation.

Primers & Exterior Finishes
Priming is essential for better adhesion, sheen uniformity, mildew control and durability. Select a top quality interior paint in the color and sheen of your choice. 




Cracking/Flaking
Aged paint splitting though at least one coat with flaking occurring in later stages.

Probable Causes
Old oil based paint that loses adhesion, flexibility and becomes hard and brittle. Poor surface preparation. Substrate cracking underneath paint file, e.g. plaster. Over thinning or over spreading paint beyond manufacturer's recommendations.

Solutions
Remove all loose paint with a safe and appropriate method. Properly prepare the surface. Spot and prime any bare areas.

Primers & Exterior Finishes
Priming is essential for better adhesion, sheen uniformity, mildew control and durability. Select a top quality interior paint in the color and sheen of your choice. 




Flashing
Uneven gloss with shiny of dull spots on painted surfaces.

Probable Causes
Improper or no priming of porous surfaces or surfaces with non-uniform porosity. Poor painting techniques. Painting over fresh paint or primer before it's dry. Uneven film thickness causes poor sheen uniformity. Drying during excessive high/low temperatures.

Solutions
Always prime new work to make the surface have uniform porosity. Apply the finish coat after proper drying of primer. A new finish coat usually will make the sheen uniform. Always paint from wet to dry and maintain a wet edge to avoid lapping.

Primers & Exterior Finishes
Priming is essential for better adhesion, sheen uniformity, mildew control and durability. Select a top quality interior paint in the color and sheen of your choice. 




Flow/Leveling Failure
Excessive brush or roller marks causing an unsightly non-uniform surface.

Probable Causes
Failures are usually the result of using the wrong type or poor quality roller cover or brush. Poor painting techniques. Repainting or touching up partially dried areas add brush/roller marks. Painting non-primed surfaces with varying porosity.

Solutions

Primers & Exterior Finishes
Priming is essential for better adhesion, sheen uniformity, mildew control and durability. Select a top quality interior paint in the color and sheen of your choice. 




Lapping
Occurs where wet and dry layers overlap during painting. Avoid with paint area management and technique.

Probable Causes
Wet and dry layers overlapping. Too much heat or wind during application. Inadequate stirring or improper thinning. Extremely porous surface. Painting too large an area at one time, such as trying to go from the top to the bottom.

Solutions
Another coat of paint, evenly spread, will usually cover lap marks. If the finish coat is relatively transparent, or the surface is overly porous, a primer or a second coat may be necessary. Always paint from wet to dry and in small sections to keep a wet edge.

Primers & Exterior Finishes
Extremely porous painted or unpainted surfaces need a primer/sealer coat before a new topcoat. Select a top quality exterior paint in the color and sheen of your choice. 




Mud Cracking
Looks like dried mud with deep irregular cracks in the paint film.

Probable Causes
Paint is applied excessively making the film too thick for proper drying and curing. Trying to make one thick coat do when two regular coats will give superior performance. Allowing paint to build up in certain areas such as corners.

Solutions
Remove excessive paint in affected areas.  Prime if recommended and recoat with top quality paint. The uniform spread rate should not exceed the manufacturer's recommendation.

Primers & Exterior Finishes
Priming is essential for better adhesion, sheen uniformity, mildew control and durability. Select a top quality interior paint in the color and sheen of your choice. 




Picture Framing
Darker color where ceilings, windows, doors, and corner areas were cut-in with a brush.

Probable Causes
Improper cutting-in technique with a brush, too much paint, and not doing feather-edge brushing. Not maintaining a wet edge by cutting-in too much at one time. Poor roller technique, leaving a wide space between the natural break and the wall.

Solutions
Keep a wet edge and use a feather brush cutting-in technique. Roll into the cut areas before they're dry and as close as possible to the natural break. More critical when the temperatures are above 90 degrees.  Stir periodically to avoid paint thickening.

Primers & Exterior Finishes
Priming is essential for better adhesion, sheen uniformity, mildew control and durability. Select a top quality interior paint in the color and sheen of your choice. 




Roller Marks
A stipple texture pattern from the roller, not desirable or planned.

Probable Causes
Incorrect rolling technique. Frequently the use of an incorrect or inexpensive roller cover with an excessive nap length. Over loading the roller cover with paint. Failure to spread the paint uniformly. Painting over a slick surface without proper priming.

Solutions
Use a quality recommended roller cover with the correct nap length. Make certain the roller is rolling, not sliding. Begin with an upward zigzag stroke in an "M" or "W" pattern and fill the pattern with parallel strokes without leaving the surface.

Primers & Exterior Finishes
Priming is essential for better adhesion, sheen uniformity, mildew control and durability. Select a top quality interior paint in the color and sheen of your choice. 




Sagging
Paint running down immediately after application leaving an uneven coating appearance.

Probable Causes
Application technique and inadequate surface preparation. Over thinned paint. Applying the paint too thickly. Spraying with the gun too close to the surface, painting when the temperature is too cold or the humidity too high.

Solutions
Before the paint dries, immediately brush or roll out running paint evenly. Properly prepare the surface, sand glossy areas. Do not thin the paint. Apply uniformly at the paint's recommended rate. Two proper coats are better than one thick coat.

Primers & Exterior Finishes
Priming is essential for better adhesion, sheen uniformity, mildew control and durability. Select a top quality interior paint in the color and sheen of your choice. 




Touch-Up Failure
A difference in color and appearance between the original paint and the touch-up spots.

Probable Causes
Poor technique. Touching-up with a different batch number and applicator. Touching-up at different temperatures. Failure to reduce the touch-up paint by up to 25%. Touching-up marks that could be removed by washing with a sponge and liquid detergent.

Solutions
Always use the same batch number when available. Try to wash the mark off first with a sponge and liquid detergent. Use only enough paint to cover the mark; excess paint may cause a halo. Use a feathering-in technique, avoid dabbing. Thin paint up to 25%.

Primers & Exterior Finishes
Priming is essential for better adhesion, sheen uniformity, mildew control and durability. Select a top quality interior paint in the color and sheen of your choice. 




Yellowing
Gradual formation of a yellow cast in aging oil based paints sensitive to the lack of UV exposure.

Probable Causes
Using alkyd or oil based paints in white or light colors.  Can be caused from heating ducts, radiators or stoves. Limited light exposure behind pictures, appliances, inside closets, etc. Oxidation of oil based paints/varnishes. Recycled paper on sheet rock.

Solutions
Select premium acrylic paints that are non-yellowing. Available in a variety of sheens for most every purpose. Non-yellowing varnishes are also available. Alkyd and oil based paints tend to yellow particularly in little or no sunlight and dark areas.

Primers & Exterior Finishes
Priming is essential for better adhesion, sheen uniformity, mildew control and durability. Select a top quality interior paint in the color and sheen of your choice.