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The Home Depot

Top 3 Causes of Peeling Paint

Pro Referral > Home Guides > Painting > Top 3 Causes of Peeling Paint
Top 3 Causes of Peeling Paint

Most homeowners feel an enormous sense of pride when they finish redecorating a room of their home. However, that pride can lead to immediate embarrassment and frustration when the paint starts to peel. There are multiple reasons why a paint job can go bad, but most cases can be tracked down to a few culprits.


Here are three of the top causes on why paint can peel or crack and what you can do to try and keep it from happening.

  1. 1.No Surface Preparation

    Whether it’s oil, latex or water based, paints of different types don’t usually mix well.

    Paint peels when it is not sticking properly to the layer that is underneath. If the wall has not been properly cleansed of any dirt or other substances, the paint is not going to dry correctly. Always be sure to wash the walls and vacuum the floor prior to starting any painting project. Additionally, make sure to put down a solid primer that will prepare the wall for the new coat of paint.

  2. 2.Moist or Damp Walls

    Water is a painter’s worst enemy. Paint can’t dry properly if a surface is moist or damp. Never paint a room or the exterior of your house shortly before or after a rainstorm. The moisture in the air will stick on the walls and make it nearly impossible for the paint to settle. Moisture weakens the adhesive properties of the paint or primer. Oil paints in particular do not fare well on a wet surface.

  3. 3.Bad or Wrong paint

    If you purchase a new paint that is not the same type as what has already been placed on the walls, you’re asking for trouble. Whether it’s oil, latex or water based, paints of different types don’t usually mix well. If you have to use a different type of paint on top of another one, ask your local home improvement expert for a good primer that will help with the situation. Another common reason paint can peel is if the paint itself is simply poor quality. Cheap paint is cheap for a reason. It may be able to dry properly if it is the only layer on the wall, but it may lack the adhesive needed to stick on top of other layers of paint.


    All of the problems listed above can be easily avoided if the painter simply takes a little extra time to assess the situation and prepare prior to starting the paint job. Another way to ensure these problems don’t occur is to simply hire someone else to do it for you. If you’re in doubt of your abilities, hiring an expert may be the best solution in the long run.

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