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Blistered or Flaking Paint, Interior Decorating Problems Solved

Interior Decorating – Problem Solving



Bubbles resulting from localised loss of adhesion, and lifting of the paint film from the underlying surface.


  • Applying solvent-based paint over a damp or wet surface.
  • Moisture seeping into the home through the exterior walls (less likely with water-based paint).
  • Exposure of water-based paint film to high humidity or moisture shortly after paint has dried, especially if there was inadequate surface preparation.


  • If blisters do not go all the way down to the substrate: Remove blisters by scraping, and sanding, and repaint with a quality acrylic water-based interior paint.
  • If blisters go down to the substrate: Remove the source of moisture, if possible. Repair loose sealants; consider installing vents or exhaust fans. Remove blisters as above, remembering to prime before applying the top coat.



The splitting of a dry paint film through at least one coat as a result of aging, which ultimately will lead to complete failure of the paint. In its early stages, the problem appears as hairline cracks; in its later stages,flaking occurs.


  • Use of lower quality paint that has inadequate adhesion and flexibility.
  • Overthinning or overspreading the paint.
  • Inadequate surface preparation, or applying the paint to bare wood without first applying a primer.
  • Excessive hardening and embrittlement of solvent-based paint as the paint job ages.


Remove loose and flaking paint with a scraper or wire brush, sanding the surface and feathering the edges. If the flaking occurs in multiple layers of paint, use of a face filler may be necessary. Prime bare wood areas before repainting. Use of a top quality primer and top coat should prevent a recurrence of the problem.

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