19 Apr 2012

Paint Problems

Posted by bcsands

All painters know that painting in wet conditions or on a damp surface is asking for trouble. Your freshly-painted finish will quickly fall victim to ugly peeling and bubbling.

But what’s the answer if peeling happens on a long-established painted surface? Most people would simply scrape and repaint if it only happens to a small area. But what if this is a widespread problem with paint peeling throughout a property? Then you have a mystery to solve – and a solution to come up with.

Development of damp

Paint will tend to peel and crack first around areas such as doors and windows, fans and heaters – usually areas where temperature changes frequently. A properly applied quality paint will be able to handle this, but a cheaper, improperly applied paint will be stressed by repeated heating and cooling and changes in moisture levels and it gradually loses adhesion.

If the peeling is in unexpected areas, look first for water damage or mould. Any leaks will quickly be evident, but also use a moisture meter to check for less obvious damp patches. Consider and check for less obvious sources of damp, such as standing water under the house, a humidity problem in the house (are kitchens, bathrooms and laundries properly vented?) or high condensation levels.

Painting over old wallpaper

This can usually be spotted straight away, with the huge clue being the paper peeling off with the paint!

Poor priming

If the painted surface was one that needed primer and no primer was used originally, then adding more layers of paint can ultimately result in peeling. This type of failure can take years, even decades, to manifest. The first few new coats of paint will not necessarily cause a problem – but as the weight of the painted surface builds up over time peeling can start.

Too much paint

Careless application of too many layers of paint can cause problems at a later date, with the ultimate weight of the coating causing it to peel away.

Poor quality paint

Using cheap paint, or thinning paint to make it go further is a cheapskate solution that often comes back to bite.

Poorly cleaned surfaces

Another way that some people cut corners to get the job done faster is not to clean the surface properly. If this happens with the first coat, then as with the primer problems, it may not manifest for some time. Additional coats of paint might also disguise the problem. Ultimately, however, the poor preparation will reveal itself.

Poorly applied texturing

If a spray texture has been badly applied and damp gets behind the paint, then over time the texture can re-emulsify and start to fall away from the walls – taking the paint with it.

Infestation

If all of the above have been ruled out then you have to consider termites or some other kind of infestation and in that case peeling paint is only the start of your problems. Get a pest inspector to check out the property

Solutions

Doing the job properly in the first place is the best solution – but years down the line that smug answer is particularly unhelpful.

If the peeling is restricted to specific areas and you have established that the problem is also restricted to that area, then you may be able to scrape back and repaint. Or you may be able to remediate by cutting out an affected surface – such as a patch of damp on a wooden door – filling and then repainting.

However, sadly if it’s a widespread problem, the most common solution is to steam or scrape back to the original surface and start again. There is one workaround to this – a product called ‘Bind Back’, which can be applied to create a surface that can be repainted.


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