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Common Paint Problems and Handy Solutions for Better Curb Appeal

Published on 2008-05-23. Author : SpecialChem

SPRING HOUSE, Pa. -- Paint is a valuable ally that can help protect and rejuvenate your home's exterior. No matter how nice the interior people base their first impressions on your home before they ever walk inside.

"The spring or early summer is a perfect time to look for early signs of paint problems. Some paint problems may be caused by using a low quality paint, not preparing the surface properly or painting when it's too hot or cold," Debbie Zimmer, paint and color expert with the Paint Quality Institute explains.

No matter what the cause a quick inspection, of those painted outside areas to identify any potential problems could prove very useful in making valuable corrections before your minor paint problem becomes a larger issue.

Four Curb Appeal Busters


Bubbles resulting from localized loss of adhesion and lifting of the paint from the underlying surface.

  • Possible Cause
    • Painting a warm surface in direct sunlight
    • Moisture escaping through the exterior walls
    • Exposure of latex paint film to dew, high humidity or rain shortly after paint has dried, especially if there was inadequate surface preparation
  • Solution
    • If blisters go down to the substrate, try to remove the source of moisture.
    • If blisters do not go all the way down to the substrate, remove them by scraping, then sanding; prime any bare wood and repaint with a quality exterior paint.

Cracking and Flaking

The splitting of a dry paint film through at least one coat, can lead to complete failure of the paint. Early on the problem appears as hairline cracks; later flaking of paint occurs.

  • Possible Cause
    • Over-thinning the paint or spreading it too thin
    • Use of a low quality paint that has inadequate flexibility
    • Painting when it is too cold or too warm, the paint will dry too fast
  • Solution
    • If the paint is tightly adhered to the surface, lightly feather the edges, prime and paint
    • If the cracking is all the way down to the surface, then the paint should be removed. Old flaking paint may contain lead, so precautions for lead paint should be followed.


The black, gray or brown areas of fungus growth on the surface of paint caulk are unattractive.

  • Possible Cause
    • Forms most often on areas that tend to be damp and without sunlight.
    • Use of a low quality paint, with minimal or no additives to prevent growth
    • Painting over a surface where the mildew has not been remove
    • Applying paint in "too thin" of a coat.
  • Solutions
    • First test for mildew by applying a few drops of household bleach to the discolored area, then rinse; if fungus disappears it is probably mildew.
    • Remove all mildew from the surface by scrubbing with a diluted bleach solution (one part bleach, three parts water), wearing proper safety protection, including rubber gloves and eye protection. Power washing is also an option.
    • Rinse thoroughly, prime bare surfaces and paint.


This problem occurs on a rough, crinkled paint surface when paint forms a "skin".

  • Possible Cause
    • Paint applied too thickly
    • Painting a hot surface, painting on a very hot day, or high humidity levels
    • Applying the topcoat to a not completely dried first coat
    • Painting over dirty or waxy surfaces
  • Solutions
    • Scrap or sand the surface to remove wrinkled paint.
    • Repaint with an even coat of top of the line exterior paint. Make sure the first coat or primer is completely dry before applying the second or topcoat.
    • Always follow the manufacturers recommended spread rate.

About the Rohm and Haas Paint Quality Institute:

The Paint Quality Institute (SM) was formed by Rohm and Haas Company in 1989 to educate people on the advantages of using quality interior and exterior paints and coatings. The Paint Quality Institute's goal is to provide information on the virtues of quality paint as well as color trends and decorating with paint through a variety of vehicles, including television appearances, newspaper and magazine articles, and instructional literature.

About Rohm and Haas Company:

Leading the way since 1909, Rohm and Haas Company is a global pioneer in the creation and development of innovative technologies and solutions for the specialty materials industry. The company's technologies are found in a wide range of industries including: Building and Construction, Electronics and Electronic Devices, Household Goods and Personal Care, Packaging and Paper, Transportation, Pharmaceutical and Medical, Water, Food and Food Related, and Industrial Process. Innovative Rohm and Haas technologies and solutions help to improve life every day, around the world. Based in Philadelphia, PA, the company generated annual sales of approximately $8.9 billion in 2007.

Source: Rohm and Haas

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