Painting Problems & Fixes

Painting a room is fairly idiot proof for most projects, there’s not much you can in the way of permanent damage.  But there are times when you run into a problem with paint, and it’s usually due to poor surface preparation or using a latex over an oil based paint.  Here’s a rundown of problems you may run in to and how to fix them, or better yet, avoid them.


If you notice paint looking like it wants to bubble up or pull away from the surface in spots, it’s usually due to a damp surface.  You need to figure out why it’s damp before you try and fix it.  If you washed down the walls prior to painting and may not have let it dry long enough, then you can simply scrape, sand and repaint the area.

If that’s not the case, then the water’s coming from someplace and you need to find it and stop it.  If it’s a leaking pipe or water seepage from the outside, it needs to fixed right away or it will only get worse.  Fix the problem, then fix the area.


I’ve painted plenty of windows shut, and some doors as well.  It’s a pain to get them unstuck, so allow for drying time and use quality latex paint.  Usually when you are able to unstick the offending areas, some paint will peel, so you may need to touch it up.  Address the sticking sooner rather than later, before the paint cures and gets even harder.  An old trick to use for chronic sticking problems, try rubbing some talcum powder on the area.


Old paint usually cracks before it begins to flake off.  If newer paint starts to look cracked and peeling, it’s usually due to improper surface preparation.  Make sure areas are cleaned and preferably primed before painting.  If it’s too late for that, scrape off the loose paint to the area where it’s sticking properly to the surface, sand and then wipe down to remove dust.  Make sure you let the area dry thoroughly, then prime and paint.


Not as bad as cracking, but tiny lines appear throughout the paint that resemble an alligator’s skin.  It’s usually caused by a second layer being painted over before the first layer properly dried.  It can also by caused by using a glossy paint or enamel over a latex.  Unfortunately, you’ll need to remove it and start over with a clean, dry surface and a quality primer.

As you can see, painting problems can be harder to fix than the whole painting job itself is.  It's much, much easier to avoid problems by properly preparing surfaces than to have to go back and fix them.