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Solutions For Bubbling Paint

Bubbling paint isn’t an uncommon problem, but it is frustrating. It can make any beautiful paint project become messy and require the entire project to be redone. Luckily, if you know what causes it, you can avoid future problems with bubbling paint. It’s also important to learn how to deal with the bubbles once they are present.

What Causes Bubbles in Paint?

Bubbling paint occurs under the surface of the paint layer. It can happen as a result of a variety of problems including:

  • Painting on a surface that’s not clean, damp or very hot
  • Applying latex paint to a surface and then allowing the paint to get wet, such as from humidity (read our previous blog about painting and humidity here)
  • Applications of oil-based paint or alkyd paint on latex painted surfaces
  • Not creating a clean, smooth surface prior to painting
  • Exterior wall moisture allowing the paint to come in contact with water

How to Handle and Avoid Paint Bubbles

If you currently have these blisters on your freshly painted walls, you’ll need to remove them and start over. To do this, use a paint scraper against the surface. Then, sand the surface down so that it is smooth. If you are using a latex paint, you’ll also need to apply a coat of primer to the surface before repainting them.

Prep Walls the Right Way

To avoid further problems, always prepare the surface properly. To do this, use a high quality filler on any damage, sand the area completely, and then clean the walls by wiping off any sand. From there, allow the walls to dry completely before attempting to paint them. Primers and sealers are an important investment here. With these, you can keep moisture as well as stains from seeping through to your finished walls. If an area is at risk for humidity or has poor ventilation, the use of a sealant can offer ample protection.

Key Tips for Handling Bubbling Paint

Here are a few more things to keep in mind when you are painting to avoid and treat bubbles:

  • Always use the right type of paint for the surface. If your current paint is an oil-based product, use that again. The use of latex can make bubbles occur.
  • Always use a dehumidifier in areas where humidity is high or in areas with constant moisture such as basements, kitchens and bathrooms.
  • If you have bubbles, don’t try to paint over them. This will not fix the problem and will make repairing it more challenging.
  • Purchase a higher quality paint. Sometimes, an inferior type of paint can be the sole reason you are struggling with the bubbles in the first place. Choose a higher quality and thicker paint to avoid this common problem.
  • Slow down when applying paint. Don’t use the roller at a fast speed since this can simply create bubbles. Using a roller at a fast rate allows air to get trapped, creating bubbles.

Finally, once you have the walls painted and looking good, run your home’s air conditioner or furnace until it is fully dry. This will speed up the application process, reduce the risk of bubbles, and help you to avoid moisture issues. With the proper application you can avoid any type of blistering of paint. The key is to prep the surface, keep humidity under control, use the right paint, and, perhaps most importantly, take your time throughout the process.