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Some Common Painting Problems

Skill Level: Beginner


 Painting jobs in and around the home are popular with the DIY enthusiasts. Painting and decorating in general are jobs we can easily tackle. Easily, that is if we follow a few important points. Plan and prepare for the job, use the best quality materials you can and the correct tools for the job. These elements combined with a bit of thought and a bit of confidence should ensure we achieve satisfactory results. However, with all of the above in place, things can still go wrong and the finished product does not sometimes meet our expectations. Many of the most common problems associated with painting are caused by relatively simple errors, and a little understanding of these causes can save a lot of frustration and time as well as the cost of additional materials.

Listed below are some of these problems and their causes.


Problems Originate From Various Sources

Most problems we encounter during painting originate from poor surface preparation, poor working conditions and access, poor quality paint and brushes/rollers and the incorrect application of the paint. This could be too much paint on the brush or painting on a dirty wet oily surface. Poor painting technique can also result in a poor surface finish.

Flaking Paint

Paint Flaking. This is caused by either poor surface preparation whereby paint has been applied over a dirty greasy or wax polished finish of some kind. These products will cause an interface between the paint and the wood surface. On ceilings and walls, applying emulsion paint over an unclean surface or dampness will also cause flaking.

Paint Runs

Runs or Sagging. These problems originate from the paint being applied too thickly or is not brushed out adequately, causing runs and sagging. A common cause of runs is when painting around fittings such as door handles and hinges. Paint will congregate around these fittings and gradually seep out. It is advised to remove any door fittings or door attachments prior to painting. Upon drying, where runs are evident, the only solution is to allow the paint to fully cure for a number of days or as recommended by manufacturer. Then, gently rub down and smooth with a fine grain wet and dry paper before recoating

Dust and Dirt

Dust and Dirt. There is nothing more annoying than checking dry paint work only to find that there are specks of dust and pimples embedded in the paint. This is generally caused by one of two reasons. Either there was dust on the surface before painting or it had become embedded sometime during or after painting. Although we should always ensure adequate ventilation when painting we must try to prevent any dust or debris being blown onto our painted surfaces. When painting outside, windblown dust can be a big problem and is often blown into the paint tin, contaminating the whole batch. It is therefore a good idea to transfer small amounts of paint into a paint kettle so the surface area of the paint is not so susceptible to the wind and airborne debris. Again, the best solution for rectification is to allow the paint to fully cure and rub down with wet and dry paper.

Surface Cleaning

One common fault, especially when painting window frames and moulded woodwork is not cleaning out thoroughly all contours and crevices. Unless this is done carefully by tying a lint free cloth around a thin stick and soaking it with white spirit, you will be painting over ingrained and compacted dirt which will be noticeable when the job is finished.

Blistering Paint

Blistering is caused by painting over wet or damp surface or painting on top of soft and flaking paint. Unfortunately, the solution is again to allow full curing then rubbing down with wet and dry paper before repainting.

Staining to Painted Surfaces

Yellow staining on gloss paintwork occurs due to natural resin seepage on knots exposed on the surface of the wood. In other words the resin bleeds through to the paint surface. This problem can be avoided by applying a liquid knot sealer such as Shellac Knotting prior to undercoating and glossing. Where staining has occurred there is no alternative but to strip back any paint applied and start again.

Painting on Damp Surfaces

Painting over damp patches. Where surfaces become damp through either rainwater ingress or a plumbing leak merely painting over the damp spot will not make the problem go away, it will soon re-appear. Areas affected should be dried out as much as possible and then treated with an aluminium primer sealer before any further painting is carried out.

Tools and Equipment

Tools and Equipment. Always buy the best quality products you can. This includes paint, fillers, tools, and any other item of equipment required to complete the project. In the case of brushes for example, a good quality brush will have long densely packed bristles that will hold paint well and provide good paint coverage and good surface quality. Rollers also vary in quality; a good quality roller will give even coverage and smooth finish. The poorer quality, but cheaper, foam rollers tend to give rather uneven coverage and can spatter paint when rolling. As a rule the smoother the surface to be painted the shorter the roller pile should be. Conversely, heavily textured surface will require a longer haired sheepskin type roller.

Keep safety in Mind

As always, as with any DIY job we undertake we should consider also at the planning stage what, if any, health and safety precautions we should be taking. Due to the toxic nature of paint, the respiratory problems that can result from dust and fibre inhalation, we should be using a dust mask and goggles or safety glasses.  

Tools you will need:
Faithfull 100mm Soft Grip Triangular Shavehook
Faithfull 100mm Soft Grip Triangular Shavehook
- Kingfisher Pack of 5 Paint Brushes
Kingfisher Pack of 5 Paint Brushes

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