Exterior Paint Problems and Solutions: Paint Peeling

Peeling paint.

Paint problems can occur in any environment and for a number of reasons. Peeling paint is common in areas with high humidity or lots of rain. There are a few other reasons exterior paint can peel. Fortunately, the problem is typically easy to diagnose and can be fixed so that it doesn't remain a problem in the future.

Peeling Due to Excess Moisture

Moisture that is allowed to creep behind the paint film will cause peeling. If you notice exterior paint peeling from only a few areas, you should check to see if moisture is a problem.

To diagnose this you will need to look for missing caulk, leaks in the wall or roof, or guttering systems that need to be replaced. If you have a gutter that is old or damaged, go ahead and replace this. Installing new caulk around vulnerable areas will prevent more moisture from getting behind the paint and damaging it. Peeling paint near the foundation of the house could signal a drainage problem as well. Check to ensure that your downspouts are far enough away from the foundation and aren't creating pools of water.

Poor Adhesion

Paint can also peel because of the paint itself. It's not always moisture that causes this. Painting on a poorly prepared (dirty) surface will cause poor adhesion. If the surface was wet when an oil-based paint was applied, this will also cause peeling. Failure to properly prime the house before painting can also lead to peeling. The primer will allow the paint to bond more easily, and will help correct the moisture problem as well. Low-quality paint products can also peel. If you are having your home professionally painted, ensure the painters are using a high-quality acrylic latex blend paint.

Correcting the Problem

Unfortunately, no matter why the paint is peeling repairing it is going to require some work. You will need to scrape the peeling paint away. This can take some time, you don't want to cause the paint to peel more than it already is. Use a scraper to gently remove the areas that are peeling. Feather sand around the area until you have a flat surface. If you paint over paint that is already peeling, you will just have two layers of paint to deal with later. Prime the area that you've sanded with a high-quality exterior paint primer. This will allow the new layer of paint to adhere, and will prevent moisture from building up behind the paint. Allow adequate time for the primer to dry. Once this is done, you can paint the area with a high-quality exterior paint.

Tips for Preventing Peeling

Taking a few extra steps and spending a few extra bucks in the beginning will go a long way to keeping your paint looking fresh for longer. Try to pick a day to paint when it is dry. Don't paint right after it rains. If you live in a part of the country that experiences humid summers, try to wait until fall to repaint. This will ensure you have a dry surface to work with.

Also don't skimp on the paint. A cheap paint will save you some money up front, but you may find yourself having to scrape and repaint every few years. A high-quality paint will cost more up front, but will save a lot of time and money in the long run.