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5 Common Interior Painting Problems And Their Solutions

Interior Painting can make a huge difference to the all-round appearance of your home. While we’d ideally recommend getting an experienced painter to do this sort of work, if you’d prefer to try it yourself, here are some common problems you may face, and the best ways to avoid or fix them.

1. Blistering/Bubbling

Blistering generally occurs when excess moisture or heat gets underneath the paint; the paint film fails to adhere to the surface properly and lifts off the area. This results in rounded bumps (or blisters). The bumps may emerge on interior painted surfaces like plaster, metal, drywall, and wood. It can also occur due to not using a primer, having a dirty surface, or having poor technique.


Begin by popping a few of the bubbles so you can see the backside of the blistered surface. This enables you to check if they appeared because of too much moisture or too much heat.

If the blisters contain coats of paint, popping them will reveal a bare substrate signifying that moisture is the issue. You can usually fix this by replacing caulking, repairing plumbing, or increasing ventilation. In this scenario you should remove all blistered paint before sanding the surface, cleaning, priming, and finally, repainting.

If heat is the problem, the bubbles will only affect the previous coat of paint. In this situation, you want to remove the blisters and underlying primer or paint, sand the surface, then clean, prime, and repaint.

Additionally, you should make sure that you stir the paint briefly and slowly with a wooden stirrer or drill attachment. Stirring paint too quickly or for too long may result in bubbles that can be transferred to the surface.

Another tip if you start to detect bubbles during the application process, is to slow your stroking speed.

2. Chalking

Chalking refers to a fine, powdery white substance that forms on painted exteriors. It’s most common in arid, sunny climates, and is usually more visible on pale-coloured flat paints. After exposure to weather changes, paint naturally releases its pigments, which results in chalking over time. However, more severe chalking can occur if you use the wrong sort of product, or if the paint is over-thinned before application.


To deal with chalking, you need to treat or power wash the surface with a Trisodium Phosphate (TSP) solution. After that, rinse the area, then let the surface dry completely before repainting.

3. Cracking/Flaking

This is commonly seen as splitting the dry paint film or as vein-like lines appear through one coat. They may be faint to start with, but these cracks can get deeper and develop into irregular and dry flakes.

This issue can have a number of causes, such as:

  • Poor surface preparation/not applying a primer
  • Use of a substandard quality paint that lacks adhesion and flexibility
  • Excessive moisture ingress within the substrate
  • Over-thinning the paint/spreading it too thin
  • Insufficient adhesion of the underlying coats


If you get onto it quickly, you might be able to correct superficial cracking just by removing the loose/flaking paint with a scraper or wire brush, then sanding, priming any bare spots, and repainting. However, if the cracking goes down to the substrate, you’ll need to remove all paint by scraping, sanding and/or using a heat gun. After this you can apply primer and repaint the surface.

4. Blocking

Blocking is an annoying problem that typically results from two surfaces sticking together. It’s mainly caused by using poor-quality gloss, but can also happen if you don’t allow painted surfaces to completely dry before closing doors and windows.


The best solution is to avoid it, and the primary way of doing this is simply by using high-quality semi-gloss or gloss acrylic latex paint. You also want to make sure that you allow for the full drying time as per the directions. However, if you experience persistent blocking, you can relieve it using talcum powder.

5. Burnishing

This is the rise in gloss or sheen of paint film due to rubbing/scrubbing against objects. Burnishing can be caused by the use of flat paint in high sheen level areas with high traffic, as well as by use of low-quality paint, frequent spot washing and cleaning, or furniture rubbing against the walls.

To prevent burnishing, you want to use gloss or semi-gloss paint in high-traffic areas. For surfaces that need to be cleaned frequently, always use high-quality latex paints as they can cope with this sort of attention. However, you should still use a soft cloth, sponge, or non-abrasive cleaner when attending to a painted surface, and then use water to rinse. If you’d prefer to avoid dealing with these issues completely, the team of experts at Amissa Painting is here for all of your Interior Painting needs.