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Common Painting Problems You Can Avoid

avoid paint problems

Understanding & Prevention of Translucence, Creeping & Siding Warp

Home painting projects can be something to look forward to or something to avoid, all depending on the confidence level of the DIY (Do-It-Yourselfer). With the proper advice and direction to get the job done right the first time, confidence will be easy to find. The trick is to know your surface and be ready to work with it.

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Identified by the dried paint failing to obscure or “hide” the color over which it was applied.

Possible Reasons:

  • use of the wrong roller sleeve for the job
  • paint is expected to have a higher spread rate and is applied more thinly than the manufacturer intended
  • poorly recommended covering color for the existing surface color
  • use of a very light or low-hiding pigmented color on a dark or difficult to hide color


If the painted surface is significantly darker or brighter than the new paint color (i.e. a black wall being covered by red or a red wall being covered by yellow), the surface should first be primed with a stain-blocking primer. If painting a brightly colored surface with a paler color, a tinted primer can also be used before the final paint finish is started; this step will likely save one or even two coats of paint.

Using a roller sleeve with a low pile for a flat, coarse paint will result in a lack of coverage due to the paint being applied too thinly. The rule is that the glossier the paint, the less pile on the roller sleeve and vice versa.

Understanding & Prevention:

Yellow, red and orange pigments are generally man-made and now that paint is more commonly lead-free, these colors and all shades associated are a challenge where good hiding is concerned. Some colors will bleed through others, regardless of the number of coats applied. Stain-blocking primers are designed to seal back the offending colors.

Remember, the job of the stain-blocker is to seal and prevent the other color from bleeding through; you may still see it before the topcoat is applied. The hide will come from the topcoat. Stain-blocking primers are also ideal for problems such as permanent marker, crayon, smoke damage and urine stains from pet incontinence. As with the latter two, not only will the stain be sealed away but the odor will be, too.



Identified by freshly applied paint crawling or creeping away from surface areas, resisting adhesion.

Possible Reasons:

  • unclean surface or residue on the surface that has an incompatibility with the paint type
  • paint product on the wall is designed to resist any coating of any kind from adhering to it


This is a common occurence in kitchens and bathrooms. Wash the walls with a cleaner that will rinse free of residue. If the walls are glossy (semi-gloss or higher), lightly sand with 120-150 grit sandpaper to break the shine. Either vacuum or thoroughly wipe down the walls to remove any dust before painting.

If this problem occurs on exterior concrete walls, fences or other surfaces, it may be necessary to power wash or soda-blast the surfaces before attempting to paint.

Understanding & Prevention:

As the most common type of paint for the DIY is water- based or acrylic latex, creeping can easily occur when the surfaces are covered with a residue that doesn’t mix with the paint. In kitchens, it’s generally a thin layer of grease and can easily be remedied using a clean rinsing citrus degreaser to wash down the walls.

In bathrooms, the common culprit is hairspray residue. Hairspray commonly contains silicone, an element that does not mix with anything water-based by nature. Again, a citrus degreaser or a cleaner like TSP (tri sodium phosphate) will eliminate the residue easily. Be certain to rinse the TSP thoroughly as it characteristically leaves a sandy residue. It may take several rinses before the walls are residue-free.

When this occurs outside, it is likely that an anti-graffiti coating has been been applied to the surface. Often silicone-based in nature, the only ways to remove the coating are to allow the elements to wear it away, have it blasted off by a professional blasting company that specializes in this kind of removal or to sand the surface down by hand before painting.

Vinyl Siding Warp


Identified by the vinyl siding panels appearing warped or buckled after being repainted.

Possible Reasons:

  • very unlikely due to anything other than the siding being repainted with a color darker than the original


The best solution in this situation is prevention. Always paint vinyl siding with a color matching or lighter than the original. Siding that has become warped will have to be assessed by a licensed contractor to determine the best plan for correction. It is unfortunate but likely that the vinyl siding will need to be replaced.

Understanding & Prevention:

Vinyl siding painted with a color darker than the original will suffer from excessive heat absorption. This may cause a dramatic expansion in the size of the pieces, depending on the depth of the color, which won’t allow the siding to return to its original shape or dimension.

While light colors will resist heat absorption, the siding will still be likely to flex in intense heat or cold. When choosing a paint, be sure it’s a high quality acrylic latex (100% pure if it can be found) as it will have the superior flexibility necessary. Acrylic paint is resistant to cracking during drastic changes in temperature, particularly where climate conditions can alter dramatically over short periods of time.

It can be difficult to get the answers needed when faced with a common paint problem. Solutions should be cost effective, simple to understand and easy to implement whenever possible.

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