Professional Painting Blog

Our blog is a place to share our community involvement and an inside look at Tribble Painting. A place to get design tips from our pros, where we can showcase and share some of our recent projects as well as painting tips and tricks. You can also find just about anything else related to residential and commercial painting. We hope you enjoy it!

Why Does Paint Bubble, Crack or Peel?

Tribble Painting - Monday, August 03, 2015

Meet Sisyphus: murderer, liar and fraudster extraordinaire. In punishment for his chronic dirty dealing, Sisyphus was condemned by Zeus to inch a backbreaking boulder up a mountain only to have it roll back down. Roll. Sigh. Repeat.

Many a tortured homeowner has endured a Sisyphean experience. Paint too thin? Too cold? Accidentally pour mineral spirits into acrylic? Do it over. Do it again.  Here’s why.


Why Does Paint Bubble?

Small Bubbles
It happens to every homeowner: that fresh coat of paint looks like the dimpled surface of the moon. Impatience is the likely culprit. Shaking a can introduces excess air. Also, rolling too energetically can whip bubbles into the paint. High-gloss paints are particularly sensitive. Slow down!

Another miscreant is a porous surface like plywood, brick or sheetrock. A sealant or primer should help.

Big Bubbles
Blisters are often seen on latex and acrylic interior and exterior finishes. They introduce themselves when the paint separates from its base, a consequence of when the application
temperature was too cold (below 50 degrees, to 35 degrees) or too hot (above 90 degrees), or the base was damp.

Paint has a phobia for extreme weather. Painting during a humid evening often results in bulging blisters, shouts of frustration and various unprintable phrases. Painting during hot, sunny afternoons may result in the upper stratum of the coat drying too quickly, making the solvents vaporize and expand into unsightly boils. 

Stupidly Big Bubbles
You didn’t slather an oil-based paint over latex, did you?

You did.

Why Does Paint Crack?
Painters use a wide lexicon to describe the family of common paint cracks. Examples and causes include:

• Mud cracks. Paint was applied too thick; surface was dirty.
• Hairline cracks. Paint was over-spread; paint was cheap and had low adhesion and flexibility. 
• Alligator cracks. Paint was applied over a wet basecoat or a glossy finish; a stiff coating, such as an oil-based enamel, was buttered over something with a higher expansion rate, like plaster. 

Why Does Paint Peel?
Simply put, paint peels because it cannot adhere to the underlying layer.

The simplest solution is to sand. Sandpaper roughens the base surface, creating tiny peaks and valleys onto which paint molecules can latch. Trying to paint a glassy, hard surface is like trying to walk on ice. 

Most paint-on-paint peeling comes from high humidity or surface moisture. The worst transgressor is chemical incompatibility. You can daub oil-based paints on galvanized metal all day, but it won’t stick.

Truth is, paint can be a pain. That’s where Tribble Painting can help. With over 20 years of experience in the Southeastern Michigan area, we know paint. We also know how to finish a job lickety-split. Call us so we can help you with your painting project.

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