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Residential ProPower Painting Tips

Common Paint Problems



Description: White salt deposits typically found on exterior masonry surfaces


  • Salt is leached from masonry as water vapor passes through, and deposited on the paint film


  1. Remove any prior trace of efflorescence before repainting
  2. Eliminate source of mosture
  3. Apply a masonry primer or sealer

Roller Marks/Excessive Stipple


Description: Textured pattern left in the paint by the roller


  • Incorrect roller cover
  • Lower grades of paint
  • Low quality roller
  • Incorrect rolling technique


  1. Always apply paint using recommended roller type and nap length
  2. Use premium or super-premium-level
  3. Utilize proper roller application technique, such as maintaining a wet edge during application



Description: Increase in gloss or sheen of paint film


  • Results from rubbing, scrubbing or having an object brush up against the paint film


  1. Choose high-quality latex paints for areas that require regular cleaning
  2. Choose paints with higher quality sheens for high traffic areas
  3. Clean painted surfaces with a soft cloth or sponge and water



Description: Mineral-based contaminate on surface of paint film, similar to efflorescence


  • Moisture slowly evaporating, typically in a protected area, leaving mineral-based deposits on the paint film


  1. Wire brush masonry surfaces or sand wood surfaces, followed by alkyd priming
  2. Avoid using exterior latex paints containing calcium carbonate



Description: Two painted surfaces sticking to each other


  • Moisture


  1. Latex paints have better initial block resistance
  2. Alkyd paints have better long-term block resistance
  3. Allow for sufficient dry time
  4. Talcum powder may alleviate sticking

Surfactant Leaching


Description: Concentration of water-soluble soap-like agents on the paint film and it appears as brown or clear spots


  • Exposure of a paint film to moisture, such as rain, dew, humidity/low temperature early in the film’s curing cycle


  1. Avoid painting in cool, humid conditions or just before they occur
  2. Use quality exterior latex paints with low temperature capabilities



Description: Black, gray or brow areas on the surface of paint, caulk or other surfaces


  • Naturally occuring growths on the surface of paint films


  1. Test for mildew using household bleach
  2. Properly treat and prime the surface before applying a paint or stain
  3. Avoid using flat paints and alkyd paints for exterior use



Description: Loss of paint due to poor adhesion


  • Swelling of wood due to seepage or penetration of moisture into the home through uncaulked joints, deteriorated caulk, leaking roof, etc.
  • Excess humidity or other moisture escaping from within the home through the exterior walls
  • Inadequate surface preperation
  • Applying latex paint under conditions that hinder good film formation, e.g., on a very hot or cold day; in windy weather
  • Applying an oil-based paint over a damp or wet surface


  1. Caulk or re-caulk open joints, check for roof leaks
  2. Adequate surface preparation
  3. Apply paint within recommended enviormental ranges

Vinyl Siding Warp


Description: Warping or buckling of vinyl siding panels that have been repainted


  • Most likely cause is that vinyl siding was repainted with a darker color paint than the original color
  • Dark paint tends to absorb the beat of the sun, transferring it to the substrate
  • When vinyl siding expands dramatically, it is not able to contract its original dimensions


  1. Paint vinyl siding in a shade no darker than the original



Description: Patterned cracking in the surface of a paint film resembling the scales of an alligator


  • Application of an extremely rigid coating, like an alkyd enamel, over a more flexible coating, like a latex primer
  • Application of a top coat before the undercoat is dry
  • Natural aging of oil-based paints as temperatures fluctuate


  1. Old paint should be completely removed, and the surface should be primed with a high-quality primer before painting



Description: The splitting of a dry paint film through at least one coat, which will lead to complete failure of the paint


  • Over-thinning paint or spreading it too thin
  • Poor surface preparation, especially when the paint is applied to bare wood without priming
  • Painting under cool or windy conditions that make latex paint dry too quickly


  1. Remove all of the paint by scraping, sanding and/or use of a heat gun, then prime and repaint with a quality exterior latex paint



Description: The formation of bubbles resulting from localized loss of adhesion and lifting of the paint film from the underlying surface


  • Painting in direct sunlight or on a surface that is too warm, especially when applying a dark-colored solvent-based coating
  • Applying an oil-based or alkyd paint over a damp or wet surface
  • Excess moisture escaping from inside through the exterior walls
  • Exposure of a latex paint film to excessive moisture in the form of dew, high humidity or rain shortly after the paint has dried


  1. Caulk or re-caulk open joints, check for roof leaks
  2. Apply paint only within recommended environmental ranges

Nail Head Rusting

nail head rusting

Description: Reddish-brown stains on the paint surface


  • Non-galvanized iron nails have begun to rust, causing bleed-through to the top coat
  • Non-galvanized iron nails have not been countersunk and filled over
  • Galvanized nail heads have begun to rust after sanding or excessive weathering


  1. Countersink nail heads and prime with a rust inhibitive primer
  2. Caulk them with a top quality, water-based all-acrylic or siliconized acrylic caulk prior to priming and painting

Poor Hiding

poor hiding

Description: Failure of dried paint to adequately obscure the substrate or previous coat


  • Poor application practices, such as over-thinning and overspreading
  • Overly porous substrates resulting in over-penetration of topcoat


  1. Maintain good application practices to avoid overspreading
  2. Seal porous substrates with a high-quality primer

Poor Sheen Uniformity

poor sheen

Description: Shiny spots or dull spots on a freshly painted surface also referred to as flashing or joint flashing


  • Poor application practices such as over-thinning and overspreading
  • Overly porous substrates resulting in over penetration of topcoat


  1. Maintain good application practices to avoid overspreading
  2. Seal porous substrates with a high quality primer

Exterior Color Fade

exterior color fading

Description: UV breakdown of certain colorants, typically synthetic, resulting is a color shift in the paint film


  • Use of a lower quality paint, leading to rapid degradation (chalking) of the paint film
  • Use of a paint color that is vulnerable to UV radiation (most notably certain bright reds blues, and yellows)
  • Over-tinting a base


  1. Use a quality exterior house paint in durable colors (natural pigments)



Description: A rough, crinkled paint surface occurring when paint forms a "skin"


  • Paint applied too thickly
  • Painting a hot surface or in very hot weather
  • Exposure of uncured paint to rain, dew, fog or high humidity levels
  • Applying top coat of paint to insufficiently dried first coat, Painting over contaminated surface


  1. Make sure the first coat or primer is dry before applying the top coat
  2. Apply paints at recommended spread rate
  3. Avoid painting during extremely hot, cool or damp weather

Picture Framing

picture framing

Description: Non-uniform color and sheen in the overlapped regions of a painted area


  • Brushed areas generally appear darker than rolled areas
  • Sprayed areas generally appear lighter than brushed and rolled areas


  1. Usually a hiding (coverage) effect
  2. Multiple “cut-ins” may be required
  3. Maintain a wet edge when painting

For more paint problem expertise, visit your local retailer.

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