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Painting Tips

efflorescence

Description:White salt deposits typically found on exterior masonry surfaces.

Cause(s)

  • Salt is leached from masonry as water vapor passes through and deposited on the paint film.

Solution(s)

  • Remove any prior trace of efflorescence before repainting.
  • Eliminate source of moisture.
  • Apply a masonry primer or sealer.

roller marks/excessive stipple

Description:Textured pattern left in the paint by the roller.

Cause(s)

  • Incorrect roller cover.
  • Lower grades of paint.
  • Low quality roller.
  • Incorrect rolling technique.

Solution(s)

  • Always apply paint using recommended roller type and nap length.
  • Use premium or super-premium level.
  • Utilize proper roller application technique, such as maintaining a wet edge during application.

burnishing

Description:Increase in gloss or sheen of paint film.

Cause(s)

  • Results from rubbing, scrubbing or having an object brush up against the paint film.

Solution(s)

  • Choose high-quality latex paints for areas that require regular cleaning.
  • Choose paints with higher quality sheens for high traffic areas.
  • Clean painted surfaces with a soft cloth or sponge and water.

frosting

Description:Mineral-based contaminate on surface of paint film, similar to efflorescence.

Cause(s)

  • Moisture slowly evaporating, typically in a protected area, leaving mineral-based deposits on the paint film.

Solution(s)

  • Wire brush masonry surfaces or sand wood surfaces, followed by alkyd priming.
  • Avoid using exterior latex paints containing calcium carbonate.

blocking

Description:Two painted surfaces sticking to each other.

Cause(s)

  • Moisture

Solution(s)

  • Latex paints have better initial block resistance.
  • Alkyd paints have better long-term block resistance.
  • Allow for sufficient dry time.
  • Talcum powder may alleviate sticking.

surfactant leaching

Description:Concentration of water-soluble soap-like agents on the paint film appearing as brown or clear spots.

Cause(s)

  • Exposure of a paint film to moisture, such as rain, dew, humidity/low temperature early in the film's curing cycle.

Solution(s)

  • Avoid painting in cool, humid conditions or just before they occur.
  • Use quality exterior latex paints with low temperature capabilities.

mildew

Description:Black, gray or brown areas on the surfac of paint, caulk or other surfaces.

Cause(s)

  • Naturally-occurring growths on the surface of paint films.

Solution(s)

  • Test for mildew using household bleach.
  • Properly treat and prime the surface before applying a paint or stain.
  • Avoid using flat paints and alkyd paints for exterior use.

peeling

Description:Loss of paint due to poor adhesion.

Cause(s)

  • Swelling of wood due to seepage or penetration of moisture into the home through uncaulked joints, deteriorated caulk, leaking roof, etc.
  • Excess humidity or other moisture escaping from within the home through the exterior walls.
  • Inadequate surface preparation.
  • Applying latex paint under conditions that hinder good film formation, e.g., on a very hot or cold day; in windy weather.
  • Applying an oil-based paint over a damp or wet surface.

Solution(s)

  • Caulk or re-caulk open joints, check for roof leaks.
  • Adequate surface preparation.
  • Apply paint within recommended environmental ranges.

vinyl siding warp

Description:Warping or buckling of vinyl siding panels that have been repainted.

Cause(s)

  • Most likely cause is that vinyl siding was repainted with a darker color paint than the original color.
  • Dark paint tends to absorb the heat of the sun, transferring it to the substrate.
  • When vinyl siding expands dramatically, it is not able to contract its original dimensions.

Solution(s)

  • Paint vinyl siding in a shade no darker than the original.

Alligatoring

Description:Patterned cracking in the surface of a paint film resembling the scales of an alligator.

Cause(s)

  • Application of an extremely rigid coating, like an alkyd enamel, over a more flexible coating, like a latex primer.
  • Application of a top coat before the undercoat is dry.
  • Natural aging of oil-based paints as temperatures fluctuate.

Solution(s)

  • Old paint should be completely removed, and the surface should be primed with a high-quality primer before painting.

Cracking/flaking

Description:The splitting of a dry paint film through at least one coat, which will lead to complete failure of the paint.

Cause(s)

  • Over-thinning paint or spreading it too thin.
  • Poor surface preparation, especially when the paint is applied to bare wood without priming.
  • Painting under cool or windy conditions that make latex paint dry too quickly.

Solution(s)

  • Remove all of the paint by scraping, sanding and/or use of a heat gun, then prime and repaint with a quality exterior latex paint.

blistering

Description:The formation of bubbles resulting from localized loss of adhesion and lifting of the paint film from the underlying surface.

Cause(s)

  • Painting in direct sunlight or on a surface that is too warm, especially when applying a dark-colored solvent-based coating.
  • Applying an oil-based or alkyd paint over a damp or wet surface.
  • Excess moistur escaping from inside through the exterior walls.
  • Exposure of a latex paint film to excessive moisture in the form of dew, high humidity or rain shortly after the paint has dried.

Solution(s)

  • Caulk or re-caulk open joints, check for roof leaks.
  • Apply paint only within the recommended environmental ranges.

Nail head rusting

Description:Reddish-brown stains on the paint surface.

Cause(s)

  • Non-galvanized iron nails have begun to rust, causing bleed-through to the top coat.
  • Non-galvanized iron nails have not been countersunk and filled over.
  • Galvanized nail heads have begun to rust after sanding or excessive weathering.

Solution(s)

  • Countersink nail heads and prime with a rust inhibitive primer.
  • Caulk them with a top quality, water-based all-acrylic or siliconized acrylic caulk prior to priming and painting.

Poor hiding

Description:Failure of dried paint to adequately obscure the substrate or previous coat.

Cause(s)

  • Poor application practices, such as over-thinning and overspreading.
  • Overly porous substrates, resulting in over-penetration of topcoat.

Solution(s)

  • Maintain good application practices to avoid overspreading.
  • Seal porous substrates with a high-quality primer.

poor sheen uniformity

Description:Shiny spots or dull spots on a freshly-painted surface. Also referred to as flashing or joint flashing.

Cause(s)

  • Poor application practices, such as over-thinning and overspreading.
  • Overly porous substrates, resulting in over-penetration of topcoat.

Solution(s)

  • Maintain good application practices to avoid overspreading.
  • Seal porous substrates with a high quality primer.

exterior color fade

Description:UV breakdown of certain colorants, typically synthetic, resulting in a color shift in the paint film.

Cause(s)

  • Use of a lower quality paint, leading to rapid degradation (chalking) of the paint film.
  • Use of a paint color that is vulnerable to UV radiation (most notably certain bright reds, blues and yellows).
  • Over-tinting a base.

Solution(s)

  • Use a quality exterior house paint in durable colors (natural pigments).

Wrinkling

Description:A rough, crinkled paint surface occurring when paint forms a "skin".

Cause(s)

  • Paint applied too thickly.
  • Painting a hot surface or in very hot weather.
  • Exposure of uncured paint to rain, dew, fog or high humidity levels.
  • Applying top coat of paint to insufficiently dried first coat. 
  • Painting over a contaminated surface.

Solution(s)

  • Make sure the first coat or primer is dry before applying the top coat.
  • Apply paints at recommended spread rate.
  • Avoid painting during extremely hot, cool or damp weather.

picture framing

Description:Non-uniform color and sheen in the overlapped regions of a painted area.

Cause(s)

  • Brushed areas generally appear darker than rolled areas.
  • Sprayed areas generally appear lighter than brushed and rolled areas.

Solution(s)

  • Usually a hiding (coverage) effect.
  • Multiple "cut-ins" may be required.
  • Maintain a wet edge when painting.

 

For more paint problem expertise, visit your local retailer.