7 Interior Paint Problems and Solutions
Interior paint is not as susceptible to the elements as paint product on the exterior of your home. But interior paints have their own distinct issues.
The two best ways to correct paint problems are to contact a professional to update your paint and to make sure you are using high-quality interior paint product.
Flashing is the appearance of shiny spots on the wall.
Consistent Rubbing – Washing your walls or heavy traffic that brushes against the paint regularly can cause this.
Sheen – An inconsistent sheen level, often due to fillers used to patch holes and cracks, dulls the paint surface. When light reflects against these surfaces, it creates a flickering effect called flashing.
Repaint – The only way to fix flashing is with a fresh coat of quality interior paint.
Careful Cleaning – If you must clean walls, use a soft cloth, tepid water, and a gentle soap.
Streaks (not drips or paint streaks) often occur when water-soluble ingredients are pulled from the paint and run down the wall.
Heavy Moisture – Either during application or over time, moisture can pull elements out of the paint and create streaks.
Improper Ventilation – Kitchens and bathrooms are heavily susceptible to streaks, due to both humidity and grease that clings to walls and cause similar streaks.
Accidents – Kids, pets, or just bad luck can cause spills on a wall. If left too long, or the indoor temperature is just right, it will streak. Soda is notorious for this.
Clean – Gently wash the affected area with lukewarm water, a soft cloth, and gentle soap. Make sure you let the paint dry fully before raising the humidity in the room.
Proper Ventilation – Ensure that bathrooms have an exhaust fan and use hood fans when cooking. While prevention is key, this problem may leave stains that can only be fixed by a coat of new interior paint.
Vertical or horizontal cracks that appear in the paint.
Improper Application – The most common causes of cracks are paint applied too thickly, or failure to properly prepare the surface before interior painting.
Oil – Oil paints are not flexible. If they are applied to a surface that regularly expands, they will eventually crack.
Repaint – The only real solution is a new paint job. This will involve scraping and sanding and might mean priming, depending on the surface and the new paint. Make sure you are using the right interior paint for the surface. Avoid oil-based paints if cracking has occurred before.
Deep jagged cracks running in both directions that create squares and rectangles, some of which fall off. It makes your wall look like an alligator’s hide, thus the name.
Old Paint – Oil-based paints that are beyond their shelf life (especially when applied) will alligator. As they age, they grow stiff and brittle.
Scrape and Sand – Scrape the paint, prep the area, and repaint. Oil paints are great accents but can often be replaced with a higher gloss latex to avoid alligatoring.
Paint curling away from walls that looks like the last stages of a sunburn. Peeling often occurs suddenly, especially in old homes.
Too Many Layers – One reason this happens in old homes is due to layers of paint build-up. Any two layers can lose cohesion with each other, often from weight, and affect the most recent coat.
Moisture – Dampness in the surface will cause peeling as the paint is unable to cling to the wall.
Resolve the Issue – If the wall is retaining moisture, you will need to find the source and remove it before applying a new coat of interior paint.
Blistering is simply bubbles in the paint. It can occur in the top layer or in deeper layers.
Improper Application – While there are various reasons for blistering, they all have to do with the surface. If the wall is hot, damp, or dirty, if it is not properly prepped, or if you apply oil-based paint over latex you risk blistering.
Proper Application – If your paint is blistering, it will need to be removed, the wall prepped, and a new coat applied. When painting, the surface must be properly prepped and cleaned. Additionally, if moisture is coming through the wall, whatever is causing the issue needs to be addressed first.
Lead paint is hazardous. When it peels, chips, or suffers wear and tear, you and your family are susceptible to dangerous health risks.
Built Before 1978 – Lead paint was in heavy use for years. It was added to paint to accelerate drying, increase durability, maintain a fresh appearance, and resist moisture that causes corrosion. The Consumer Product Safety Commission banned it in 1977.
Remediation – The only solution for lead paint is remediation by a properly licensed contractor. Once identified, do not attempt to resolve lead paint problems yourself.
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