10 Common Exterior Paint Problems And Solutions

Painting your house or a room offers an affordable mode to refresh its appearance. A new coat of paint can liven up any house and fetch warmth to large spaces.

House exterior paints offer a long-lasting, protective coating that will protect your house for years to come if properly applied and maintained. However, problems with paint do exist—either because of improper application or simple wear and tear.

Initially, you cringe, as a genuine reaction to that tiny ding on a fairly new paint coat that just got done, and later you shrug over the bad exterior house paint job. Some exterior paint problems, however, are more prominent and tough to neglect.

These exterior paint problems must be addressed, not only to repair the painted surface but to examine potential underlying issues.

Read on to understand some of the common exterior paint problems, how to repair them and avoid future problems.

1. Paint Chalking

Chalking is a loose, white fine powder residue on the surface of a coating that comes with a loss of shine and colour. This can be expected to happen over time and is a typical way for exterior paint to wear. In a few cases, this is a self-cleaning attribute designed into the coating. Yet, excessive film decay can result from heavy chalking and lead the homeowners towards the need for a premature repaint.

Paint Chalking
Source: dulux

Why does it happen?

  • Exterior Paint spread too thin or has thinned too much overtime
  • Inferior quality or highly pigmented paint used
  • Indoor paint is used on an exterior substrate.

How to solve this

The first and foremost step is to remove as much of the residue as possible with thorough power washing. Inspect for remaining chalk by running your hand over the surface after it dries. If the chalk is still there, use a quality oil-based or acrylic latex primer. Repaint the exterior with premium-quality exterior paint. If little or no chalk stays and the old paint is proper, then priming the exterior may not be required.

2. Paint Blistering and Paint Bubbling

Retention of moisture is the driving force behind most outbreaks of blistering. Developing vapour leads to loss of paint adhesion and hence causes bubbling. 

Why does it happen?

  • Bathrooms and kitchens are interior sources of moisture that can cause paint to blister.
  • Externally, moisture from humidity and rainwater can percolate into end-joints or other exposed areas. 
  • Bubbles and blisters can also form if painters allow disproportionate amounts of moisture to collect on freshly painted surfaces. 
  • Hot weather can cause the thinners to meld with fresh paint to vaporize and expand outwards, causing blistering. 

How to solve this?

In order to mitigate the impacts of existing blistering deterioration, remove areas of paint separation (blisters) with brushes, or scrapers. Sweep the exposed surfaces, sand them, and prime them with high-adhesive primers. Once the primers dry, re-paint the formerly-bubbled surfaces.

3. Paint Peeling Off Wall

This is a typical problem that roots in moisture or inadequate adhesion. The difference is that paint peels off from a previous layer versus peeling directly from the substrate.

Exterior Paint Problems
Peeling Paint | Source: thediyplan

Why does it happen?

  • The surface was moist, unclean or glossy. 
  • Underlying layers did not adhere properly. 
  • Blistering was not fixed, taken care or a low-quality exterior paint was used.

How to solve this?

Scratch and scrape the exterior peeling paint and sand impacted areas. Spot prime the raw space you just created. Caulk as needed and repaint the wall.

4. Surfactant Leaching

Surfactant leaching is perfectly described as soapy, sticky or greasy spots or shiny streaks that emerge on freshly painted surfaces, normally within the first few weeks after application. 

Exterior Paint Problems
Surfactant Leaching | Source: joshuarosenstock

Why does it happen?

  • Latex paints have surfactants designed to make applying them easy. All latex paints may exhibit this tendency to some extent if applied in areas where moisture (rain, dew, showers, laundry rooms, etc.) comes in touch with uncured latex paint.
  • Cool temperatures will slow the paint’s curing procedure, which can let surfactants separate out and float to the top of the coating.
  • Moisture accumulating on fresh latex paint will retard the paint’s drying. This moisture may remove and concentrate other water-soluble materials from the paint onto the paint surface. When the water evaporates, concentrated remains are left back, driving staining, ugly runs, and gloss patterns.

How to solve this?

Apply paint to all surfaces during weather conditions that allow proper curing of the paint film. When surfactant leaching happens, flush with clean water immediately, before the stains have adequate time to set up or harden. Soft scrubbing with a mild brush is fine. If stains cannot be removed, then repainting will be required during more promising weather conditions.

5. Foaming and Cratering over exterior paints

This is one of the exterior paint problems that can be nipped in the bud. Foaming or cratering is the appearance of bubbles and results in small, round concave depressions in a paint film, during paint application and drying.

Foaming Cratering Paint
Paint Foaming or Cratering | Source: dulux

Why does it happen?

  • Shaking a partly filled can of paint.
  • Use of bad-quality paint or extremely old latex paint.
  • Use of a roller cover with the mistaken nap length.
  • Exaggerated rolling or brushing of the paint.
  • Applying a sheen or semi-gloss paint with a long nap roller.

How to solve this?

All paints bubble to a particular extent. Good quality paints are made so that the bubbles will shatter while the paint is still damp and form a flat surface. Dodge over rolling and use a shorter nap roller.

6. Paint Rust

Reddish or brownish stains on the exterior paint surface.

Paint Rust
Paint Rust | Source: aldmall

Why does it happen?

  • Nails without corrosion resistance were used to attach the siding. 
  • Extreme weather has frayed away galvanized heads on nails.

How to solve this

Discover the bad nails and substitute them with stainless steel or galvanized nails. If they cannot be pulled, sand the head to uncover the metal and countersink them. Use a primer with a stain-blocking and rust deterring factor. Fill the nail heads and sand smooth. Paint over.

7. Exterior Paint Sagging or Running

Probably the most common exterior house painting problem is sagging, it is the downward “drooping” motion of the paint film instantly after application that leads to an uneven coating.

Sagging or Running | Source: sherwin-williams

Why does it happen?

  • Too much paint was used at once or the paint was thinned too greatly. 
  • Too cold weather made the paint thicker, or the humidity was too high. 
  • The primer wasn’t used or the area wasn’t cleansed before application.

How to solve this

If you notice this issue while you are still performing with the paint, use a brush or roller to redistribute the paint evenly. If the paint has already dried, sand the area down to even. Repaint. Do not overload the paintbrush, and utilize two thinner coats rather than a single heavy one.

This opens up a new debate: Spraying Vs. Rolling Paint

8. Burnishing

Burnishing is growth in gloss or sheen of the paint film. When rubbed, scrubbed or touched up against, the surface will burnish or blaze. In other words, paint burnishing occurs when a painted surface is subjected to friction usually induced by abrasive cleansers or reprised rubbing or scrubbing to clean it. This is particularly accurate with darker colours. 

Burnishing | Source: sherwin-williams

Why does this happen?

  • Reprised rubbing, like washing, thing pushing against the same spot.
  • Low-grade paints can show the mark quicker than high grades.
  • Objects rubbing against the paint (furniture)

How to solve this

Anywhere that will demand routine cleaning or repeated rubbing from furniture, use a premium semi-gloss or gloss acrylic enamel. The gloss will shield the paint from the rubs it gets. Ensure the use of a non-abrasive cleaner.

9. Mildew

A fungus that feeds on paint film or caulk. It typically shows as a brown or green blotch.

Exterior Paint Problems
Mildew | Source: porterscleaning

Why does it happen?

  • Moisture is the primary cause of mildew. 
  • It thrives in dark, poorly ventilated, wet places. 
  • If mildew is painted over, it will persist. 
  • Bare wood without primer also makes a structure ripe for mildew.

How to solve this

Scrub the area with phosphate cleaner or bleach with 1 part bleach to 3 parts water. Always wear eye and hand protection when operating with such chemicals. Let the area dry for about 15 minutes, then flush with clean water. Duplicate the process. Permit adequate dry time and finish with high-quality latex exterior paint.

10. Efflorescence

Efflorescence is the formation of a granular or crystalline deposit on or underneath the surface. The deposit is typically an unappealing shade of white, brown, gray, or yellow and spoils the aesthetic charm of the walls.

What Is Efflorescence
Source: damp-and-wet-rot

Why does it happen 

  • Neglect to properly prepare the surface by removing all salt deposits
  • Excess moisture escaping through external masonry walls from the innards
  • Painting surfaces before they are fully cured

How to solve this

Remove the efflorescence with a wire brush, or power washer; if a wire brush is used, followed by thoroughly rinsing the surface. Wash the surface with a solution of 1 part phosphoric acid to 7 parts water (for safety, always add the acid to the water; never add the water to the acid). Rinse thoroughly with clean water. Let the surface dry completely. If efflorescence persists, repeat the above steps. Seal the surface with a premium-quality primer designed to hold back efflorescence. Paint over with a good-quality acrylic finish.


These are just some of the problems, but there are many more and they are very varied. In this article, we have decided to compile the ones we think are most frequent.

As you can see, not all problems are related to paints, as some of them, such as efflorescence, arise in the wall itself due to humidity, or they can also arise because we have applied them incorrectly.

However, we have the solution.

We have a perfect product that will prevent the appearance of any exterior paint problems, our water-repellent paint for exterior facades. Also, make sure that the facade is well prepared before painting.

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proPERLA® offers a range of exterior super hydrophobic waterproof paints & coatings designed to reduce energy costs and protect homes.

Through our official network of applicators, we provide services to end customers, ensuring the correct application of our products for your benefit.

Whether you are a professional interested in working with our products, or a customer looking for solutions, contact us for more information.

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