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House Painting Problems & Solutions

Are you a homeowner in Santa Barbara that is having home painting problems and need solution or an answer in how to fix the problem? Keep on reading and hopefully we can help you out in identifying and correcting the painting problem.

The paint inside and out outside your home is in constant fight to maintain its beauty. Heat, moisture, old age and a host of other problems all take a toll. Follow this step by step guide so that you can help protect your home and make it look beautiful again.

Every paint problem must be approached with safety in mind, specially if the surface you are working with may contain lead or asbestos. From protective clothing and equipment , including goggles and respirators, to testing and following correct procedures, all are important for guarding and preserving your health.

Alligatoring: patterned cracking in the paint film resembling an alligators scales. Cracks may affect only a single layer of paint and may not reach the surface.

What causes?

  • Inability of top coat to bond smoothly to a glossy finish

  • Applying an extremely hard, rigid coating like oil-base paint over a flexible paint

  • Natural aging of oil-based paints in extreme climates, when subject to continuous freezing and thawing, which results in loss of paint elasticity

  • Applying another coat before the previous coat has dried

  • Applying too much paint per coat


  • Scrape or sand the paint down to the bare surface or use a chemical paint remover. Dust masks or respirators and eye protection are recommended for safety. If using liquid removers, be sure to wear long sleeves and gloves.

  • Remove all dust and allow the surface to dry completely.

  • Prime the surface with a high quality latex primer and let it dry completely.

  • Apply a high quality paint in the desired finish.

Blistering or Paint Bubbling: Lifting of the paint film from the underlying surface, which appears as blisters in the paint, usually caused by heat, moisture or a combination of both. This condition can eventually lead to peeling of the paint if not corrected.


  • Paint in direct sunlight or on a surface that is too hot.

  • Application of an oil based or alkyd paint over a damp wet surface.

  • Exposing a fresh paint film to dew, high humidity over damp, wet surface.

  • Moister passing through interior walls from common household sources such as bathrooms, kitchens and laundry rooms.


  • Determine if blisters were caused by heat or moisture. Break open and examine the substrate and back side of blistered paint.

  • If only the newest coat of paint is blistering, the blister was probably caused by heat.

  • If the peeled blister contains several coats of paint and the bare surface is exposed, the blister was probably caused by moisture.

For blistering caused by heat

  • Remove blisters by scraping, sanding or pressure-washing down to underlying coats of paint or primer.

  • Repair the surface with a high quality interior/exterior paint (make sure the surface temperature is below 90 degrees fahrenheit)

  • Find the best paints suited for your project.

For blistering caused by moisture

  • Repair loose caulking and improve ventilation of the building to prevent a recurring problem.

  • Remove the blister by sanding down to bare surface.

  • Prime all areas with a high quality primer.

  • Repaint the surface with a high quality paint in the desired finish.

Corrosion: Corrosion is the deterioration of materials by chemical interaction with their environment such as the rusting of iron and steel.


  • Inadequate or improper surface preparation, which can lead to adhesion, or improper removal of existing rust.

  • Improper film thickness upon application.

  • Improper cure time of primer before top coating.

  • Improper cure time before exposure to moisture.


  • Remove all loose peeling, or chalky paint by sanding, scraping, or other appropriate methods.

  • Clean all bare metal using acetone or metal etch to remove rust, oil, grese, and/or dirt.

  • Newly cleaned metal must be prime-coated the same day to prevent re-contamination.

Mildew: Mildew is a fungus (mold) that grows on many exterior painted surfaces, as well as on interior bathrooms walls and other humid or poorly ventilated interior areas. If not corrected, mildew will continue eating the existing paint away, causing eventual paint failure in the affected areas. There is no way to absolutely prevent mildew growth, however, it may be controlled if the proper precautions and recommendation are followed

What causes mildew?

  • Failure to prime a bare wood surface before applying the paint.

  • Painting over a surface previously infected with mildew.

  • Excess humidity or other moisture problems.


  • First, to determine if the problem is mildew, apply a few drops of bleach to the surface, if the dark color bleaches out in a few minutes, it is likely mildew as dirt of other combination would not be affected.

  • Locate and correct any sources of moisture accumulation or excess humidity.

  • Protect all plants and shrubs with drop cloths before cleaning the surface.

  • Clean the surface with a commercially prepared mildew remover or use a homemade solution of one quart liquid chlorine bleach, three quarts warm water and 1/4 cup ammonia-free liquid dishwasher detergent.

  • Rinse the surface and surroundings thoroughly with clean water.

  • Allow the surface to dry completely before painting.

  • Use and appropriate primer and then apply a high quality paint in the desired finish.

Yellowing: Development of a yellow cast in aging paint; most noticeable in the dried films of white paints or clear varnishes.


  • Normal oxidation of oil-based paint or varnish.

  • Exposure to heat from stove, radiators and heating ducts.

  • Lack of light (e.g., behind pictures or appliances, inside closets, etc.)


  • Use a high-quality latex paint, which does not tend to yellow. Oil-based paints have a tendency to yellow, particularly in areas that are protected from sunlight and/or exposed to ammoniated cleaning products.

Some of this paint problems require more than DIY solution. A professional painter is recommended for some of this paint failuress. If you need help in your painting project and is looking for a painting contractor in Santa Barbara call Rainbow Custom Painters. The painting company is familiar with all the Dunn Edwards materials and solutions.


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