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The Home Depot

Why Is My Interior Paint Chipping?

Pro Referral > Home Guides > Painting > Why Is My Interior Paint Chipping?
 Why Is My Interior Paint Chipping?

Having taken the trouble to paint and decorate your home with love and care, few things are as disheartening as finding that the interior pain is starting to chip off. It is possible to hide stained upholstery or a piece of chipped or scratched furniture, but there is little if anything that can be done to hide chipping paint. A small chipped area will normally spread to cover the entire wall and ruin the look of a home.


Painting a wall is not a complex job and painting is one of the most common of DIY projects in the home. Not only does it save money, the satisfaction that comes from doing the job well is immense. But it is often easy to overlook the variables that need to be considered to get the perfect paint finish and if a mistake is made, the end result will not look as you want and the paint could start begin to chip.

  1. 1.Bad Preparation

    Bad or inadequate surface preparation prior to painting is one of the most common causes of paint chipping. Any unevenness on the surface will cause the paint o be applied unevenly which will make it patchy and these patches are where the chipping begins. If the surface is not clean or contains oils and impurities these will cause a chemical reaction to occur and this too can result in the paint chipping off. Cracks in the wall that have not been filled in will leave a void under the paint in places and cause it to also crack and chip. And if a non-compatible new coat is applied over an old one, problems are bound to happen. For example, chipping and peeling are inevitable if latex based paint is applied over an earlier oil based coat.

  2. 2.Water Damage

    Any long term exposure of paint to water, in the form of seepage from the walls caused by rain or leaking pipes or by water dripping from the roof can severely damage the paint and cause it the chip and flake at the damp spots.

  3. 3.Bad Mixing of Base Paints / Incorrect Primer

    Mixing of paints to obtain the exact shade and color that you want is common. But if the paints are not compatible, then they will not mix properly. While the color and texture may appear to be fine, after the paint has been applied the incompatibility of the paints can cause a patchy finish and these patches are the most likely to start chipping soon enough. Similarly, different types of paint require different types of primer and if the wrong primer is used, the paint will not stick to the wall as it should and will begin to chip off.

  4. 3.Too many Paint Coats

    It is commonly assumed that the more coats of paint that are applied to a wall the better because extra coats will provide the paint strength and durability. In practice the opposite happens. Too many coats of paint can result to the weight of the paint becoming too heavy for its adhesive qualities to be strong enough to hold it on the wall. Gravity then acts and causes it to start to chip and fall off.

  5. 4.Heat Damage

    Excessive direct heat on a painted surface can cause two problems. The first is that it can affect the chemical composition of the paint and cause it to become brittle which will lead to chipping and peeling. Continuous and frequent cycles of extreme heat and cold can cause the paint to expand and contract too much resulting is cracks appearing on the surface which will soon start chipping off.

  6. 5.Painting on New Wood

    New wood can be deceptive. It may appear to be dry but still contain a fair amount of residual moisture deep inside. When pain is applied to this wood, the water is draw to the surface where it interacts with the paint and affects its ability to stick to the wood, resulting in the paint chipping and flaking off. Another problem is that new wood often has natural oils in it that leach out over time. When these oils come into contact with paint, the same result occurs. New wood that has been allowed to dry but that has not been properly cured will also retain moisture which will come to the surface over time. The type of wood affects how long it needs to age and the type of curing it needs. For example, Cedar is one of the most problematic woods in this regard.

  7. 6.Find an Interior Painter with Pro Referral

    Finding an interior painter on your own can be a time consuming and complex job and at the end of it you can never be certain that you have the best person at the best rates. It is much easier to register your requirements with Pro Referral. Each Pro is background checked and licensed and insured so that you can hire with confidence. Read the customer reviews, credentials, and business profiles of all of our Pros and let a qualified professional turn a difficult project into a completed one!

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