Thoughts and ideas from Fox Painting
3 Common Exterior Paint Problems, Causes, and Solutions from Fox Painting
November 1, 2019 at 12:00 AM
by Fox Painting
3 Common Exterior Paint Problems, Causes, and Solutions from Fox Painting

Well-applied paint in an interesting pattern always looks great. But then, the passage of time and exposure to the elements can take their toll, especially on exterior surfaces. Moreover, if the application process was less than ideal, common problems can arise.

To help familiarize you with the problems that affect painted exterior surfaces, three of the most common ones are discussed below. We’ve also included information on the root causes, as well as the solutions.


A type of fungus, mildew feeds and grows on surfaces such as paint film or caulk. It is easily distinguishable through its gray, brown, green, or dark black splotchy spots.

Just like mold, mildew thrives in places where there is moisture, poor ventilation, and inadequate exposure to direct sunlight. Areas where mildew typically grows include the underside of soffits and eaves. It can also grow in paint that has been applied to a surface or on old paint film that already has mildew. Additionally, bare wood that is not primed for painting and using lower quality paint that does not contain sufficient mildewcide can lead to mildew growth as well. Note that the exposure of sensitive individuals to mildew can lead to throat irritation and nasal issues.

How to prevent mildew growth:

• First, make sure you wear eye and skin protective gear such as goggles and rubber gloves.

• Scrub the surface vigorously using a trisodium phosphate cleaning solution. Alternatively, a household bleach solution comprising of one part bleach to three parts water will also work.

• Allow the solution to penetrate the cleaned area for about ten to 15 minutes.

• Rinse the scrubbed area with clean water.

• Using a detergent solution, wash the area, and then rinse it again.

• Allow the surface to completely dry. Once done with the drying process, you can paint the area using high-quality latex house paint.

Paint Peeling

Peeling paint is one of the most common paint problems. It is usually caused either by poor paint adhesion or moisture exposure. Peeling paint can separate from the older paint layer (called “intercoat peeling”) or from the substrate, thereby leaving some of the paint behind. At other times, sections of older paint layers become visible under the curling, peeling newer paint layer.

There are several reasons why paint starts to peel, such as the poor adhesion of the newer layer of paint to the underlying paint. Also, if the paint is applied to a surface that has not been adequately prepared for paint application (a dirty, wet, or shiny surface), paint peeling is likely to occur. If the paint starts to blister and nothing is done about it, the blisters can break and lead to peeling. Moreover, if an oil-based paint is applied to a moist or wet surface, adherence would be weak, too. Low-quality paint can also peel rather quickly.

How to prevent paint peeling:

• Make sure you scrape away all of the old peeling paint, feather-sand all of the affected areas.

• Carefully spot prime all of the bare areas.

• Apply the appropriate caulking material, as required.

• Repaint the surface using a high-quality acrylic latex house paint.

Blistering Paint

Paint blisters are relatively easy to spot as they take the form of small- to medium-sized bubbles or blisters growing under the paint film. They usually grow on the wood siding and trim.

If the paint is applied in direct sunlight and on a hot surface, it can lead to trapped solvent vapor which, in turn, can lead to paint blisters. Paint blistering can also occur if the paint is applied to damp or moist wood as the trapped moisture expands under the paint film. Also, if lower quality latex paint is used, and dew, rain or high levels of humidity penetrate it, blistering can also happen. Another possible cause of paint blisters is damp in the home. This moisture can move through the walls, especially in the absence of efficient house ventilation.

How to prevent paint blisters:

• First, get rid of the blistered paint, and sand the area until the bare wood is revealed. ​Allow the wood to completely dry prior to painting.

• Sand, prime, and paint the area in non-direct sunlight, and preferably in non-humid conditions.

• Use only high-quality latex paint.

• If the paint blisters are caused by poor home ventilation, the required corrective house repair must be done to permanently resolve moisture-related problems in the home.

• Inspect your house for any loose or missing caulking, especially around windows and doors.

• Consider integrating siding ventilation into your home.

Typically, repainting is only necessary every two or three years. However, with innovations in paint chemistry, high-quality paints today are capable of withstanding harsh conditions and normal wear and tear for as long as a decade.

With the above tips, you can be sure to get the most out of your house paint job.

Do you have more questions about paint? Let us know at Fox Painting.

We’re always happy to help.