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  • Writer's pictureMatthew Kowalski

5 Common Exterior Paint Problems and How to Fix Them

Painting the exterior of your home can be one of your largest home improvement investments, so the key is to do it right and use the best possible products to ensure long-lasting results. With that said, we live in an environment that experiences harsh natural elements (like the sun- we’re sure you’re familiar with this if you live in AZ!), which speeds up the lifetime of the paint and can result in a few hiccups here and there if not applied properly, to begin with.

In this blog post, we’re providing some of the most common exterior paint problems that we see. We will also be providing solutions on how to get ahead of those problems to prevent them from happening, along with tips on what to do when you do encounter them.

1. Chalking

Some chalking is normal with paint, and its intended purpose is to be a self-cleaning agent after being exposed to rain, sun, dirt, and the elements in general, but too much chalking can be a bad thing as it's a sign of paint failure. When this happens, the paint binders have been broken down too much due to weather exposure. This is usually due to lesser-quality oil-based paints containing high levels of pigment extenders.

How to Repair + Prevent

All chalking must be removed before repainting. First, we powerwash the home and use Seal Krete Original when repainting an extremely chalky house to seal the chalk and prevent it from causing the new paint to peel. We give it time to dry and then apply a high-quality exterior house paint like Dunn-Edwards Evershield.

2. Blistering Paint

Blistering paint looks like small bubbles beneath the paint’s surface. There are a few different reasons why this can happen, including the paint was applied in direct sunlight or on a hot surface and dried too quickly, high humidity or water penetrated the paint (especially with lower quality paint), or house moisture escaping through the walls due to improper house ventilation.

How to Repair + Prevent

Scrape away blistered paint and sand to the surface. Sand, prime, and paint in non-direct sunlight and not in humid conditions. Use a high-quality paint. Ensure that you make any necessary repairs to your home if improper ventilation was the issue.

We always apply UGL Drylok to the entire house before painting to deflect any moisture and prevent it from getting into the stem walls. Learn more about that process here.

3. Efflorescence

This usually happens when water containing dissolved salts rises to the paint’s surface, specifically on masonry. You can run into this issue if the surface preparation was not done adequately or if there are cracks in the masonry wall, amongst many other reasons.

How to Repair + Prevent

The first thing you’ll want to do is ensure that there isn’t any moisture getting into the masonry wall. If there is moisture, you’ll need to apply a waterproofing agent to the outside of the wall first. Then, remove all efflorescence, let completely dry, prime, and then paint with a high-quality product.

We suggest using a product called EFF-Stop by Dunn-Edwards. It’s a 100% acrylic masonry primer and sealer that provides great resistance against efflorescence. Learn more about that process here.

4. Alligatoring

This is a type of paint film failure that results in the paint cracking resembling the appearance of alligator skin. This can happen when the second coat of paint was applied over the first coat of primer or over a base coat that wasn’t fully dry. This can also happen when an oil-based paint has naturally aged and lost its elasticity.

How to Repair + Prevent

Remove the old paint, then sand, prime, and repaint with a flexible high-quality paint. The key here is to always prime to set yourself up for a good base to work with.

5. Peeling Paint Due to Poor Adhesion

When paint starts to peel, and you see the previous layer of paint beneath it, that’s usually due to poor adhesion. It could be due to a domino effect, where the underlying paint had poor adhesion prior to being repainted, or an oil-based paint was applied over a wet surface, just to name a couple of reasons.

How to Repair + Prevent

First off, scrape away old peeling paint and feather-sand affected areas. Prime the bare area. Caulk as needed, and repaint with a high-quality house paint.

There are many reasons why you could be encountering exterior paint problems, and these are just a handful of the most common ones. We can’t express enough how important it is to prep and go through all the necessary steps ahead of time to lower your chances of running into these issues. It will save you time and a future headache, and sometimes it’s just best to leave it to the pros! If you would like to receive a complimentary quote on your home’s exterior, reach out to us here.

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