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Painting Tips - Problems & Solutions

Depending on what you're specific job is, there will be a variation in the process that we recommend you follow when painting. Although painting may seem like just painting no matter where it is, the truth is, different preparation methods and techniques are applied to interior projects versus exterior projects. Painting generally can be broken down into the following steps for both interior and exterior painting projects:


  • Planning - necessary for things to run smoothly and to manage time effectively and efficiently.
  • Preparing - Good preparation is important to get the long-lasting results you want with the right types of products.
  • Painting - It's important to know how to paint a room is in order to have a successful painting project.
  • Cleaning Up - Proper clean up is necessary to ensure protection and safety in the project area both during and after the project is completed. 






Peeling due to moisture is recognizable by large peeling sections of paint exposing bare wood underneath.


Peeling results when a wet substrate swells, causing the paint film to loosen, crack, and fall off. Ways that the substrate can get wet are as follows:
- Worn-out or no caulking in joints, corners, and openings, allowing moisture to enter.
- Ice-filled or clogged gutters, causing moisture build-up under the shingles.
- Interior moisture migrating through to the exterior walls.
- Painted surfaces that are too close to bare ground.
- Leaking roofs.
- Painting a surface that is damp with rain, condensation, or dew.


- Remove loose or cracked caulking and repair with a quality product.
- Clean and repair gutters so they properly channel water away from the house.
- Install vents, louvers, fans, and dehumidifiers to reduce moisture, especially in the kitchen, bathroom, and laundry area.
- If wood siding is touching the ground, remove that portion of the wood. Siding should be installed not less than 6" above the ground.
- Repair the roof as needed.
- Test the coating in a 6" to 12" radius around any peeled areas to be sure the adhesion is adequate.
- Follow label and data page directions for proper surface preparation and environmental conditions.




Blistering is a term used to describe small to medium raised bubbles that are found under a painted or laminated surface. It is most common on wood siding and trim.




- Painting under direct sunlight on a hot surface will trap the solvent vapor as the paint dries too quickly.

- Applying solvent-based paint to damp or wet surfaces causing trapped moisture to expand the paint film. 

- With lower quality latex paint or an inadequate surface preparation, any dew, rain or very high humidity after latex paint has dried can result in blistering.

- House moisture escaping through the walls due to improper house ventilation

- Moisture trickling into your home through the exterior walls. This can be prevented with water-based paint.



If blisters don’t go down to the substrate:
- Scrape blistered paint and sand down to bare wood.
- Let wood dry completely.
- Sand, prime and re-paint under adequate conditions.
- Use quality acrylic water-based interior paint
- Use high quality latex paint.
- Check and repair any loose or missing caulking around windows and doors.
- Consider providing siding ventilation.

If blisters do go down to the substrate:
- Remove the source of moisture, if possible.
- Repair loose sealants; consider installing vents or exhaust fans.
- Remove blisters as above, remembering to prime before applying the top coat.





Alligatoring is a failure in the paint film where its patterned cracking resembles the scales of an alligator. These cracks generally do not expose the substrate


Checking is a similar failure but not as severe. They tend to be long, fairly evenly spaced cracks in the paint film having shallow relief or depth. Occasionally checking may become severe in some areas and a deeper crack or split in the paint will occur.


- Natural aging of oil-based paints due to temperature fluctuation. The constant expansion and contraction results in a loss of paint film elasticity.

- Application of an extremely hard, rigid coating, like an oil enamel, over a softer, more flexible coating.

- Application of a topcoat before the primer or basecoat is dry.

- Application of a coating over a glossy finish.




- Remove the old paint via scraping, sanding, chemical removers, or a heat gun and repaint with a flexible latex based paint.
- Wash with the appropriate concentrated cleaner; rinse thoroughly and allow time to dry. (recommended: ProClean Professional® Prep Wash Concentrated Cleaner)

- Use high quality latex paint
- If the problem exists on a glossy surface, sand down to a dull. 



 Please check Sherwin Williams Problem Solver for additional Painting Tips and Painting Problems.