4 Common Paint Defects | Causes & Remedies

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Paint failure can occur on your home in Conroe, Texas, any time –whether you just repainted last week or four years ago.

Most paint defects can be identified and corrected in time to avoid further deterioration of your paint job.

In some cases, a quick cleaning, sanding, and patching could fix the problem, but other times, it might require repainting the entire surface.

Today we will be sharing four paint defects, the causes, and what to do with them.

Here is the first one;

Paint Chalking

Chalking can be identified as a fine chalky powder that forms on the surface of a paint film.
Although some chalking is a normal, excessive chalking can indicate paint failure.
In dry and arid climates where there is little rain, chalking can become excessive.
The chalk is the paint pigment released by paint binders that have been degraded by exposure to the weather.
This condition is particularly typical on very clear flat paints, especially lower quality oil-based paints containing high levels of pigment extender.

Potential causes

  • Use of lower quality exterior paint containing high levels of pigment extenders.
  • Improper paint (such as interior paint) has been used in an exterior application.
  • Failure to properly seal a porous surface before painting.


  • Remove chalking by powerful washing or scrubbing with a cleaning solution such as trisodium phosphate and rinse with clean water.
  • Let dry and repaint using high-quality latex paint.

Paint Sagging or running

  • This paint failure is easily identified as a dripping or sagging aspect of the areas of the paint film.

Potential causes:

  • Application of a heavy, excessive layer of paint.
  • The paint was applied in poor environmental conditions, for example, when the temperatures were too cold or when the humidity was too high.
  • The paint was used without a primer to a high gloss vertical surface.
  • The painted surface was not clean or well prepared at the time of application.


  • If you catch the paint while it is still wet, use a brush or roller to redistribute the excess paint evenly.
  • If the paint is dry, sand the uneven area and lightly re-apply the paint.
  • If the paint has been applied to a shiny surface, sand the surface to blunt it and create a roughed finishing for the paint to adhere, or apply a primer and repaint.
  • Paint using two light coats instead of a very heavy coat.
  • Do not overload the brush.


Mildew is a fungus that feeds and grows on paint or caulking film and is identifiable by its “speckled” spots, which could be gray, brown, green, or dark black.

Potential causes:

  • The combination of humidity, poor ventilation, and lack of direct sunlight. The underside of soffits and eaves are particularly prone to mildew and mold.
  • Paint on a surface or paint film that still had mold.
  • Use of lower quality paint.
  • Failure to prime bare wood before painting.


  • Wear protective glasses and rubber gloves, scrub the affected area vigorously with a trisodium phosphate cleaning solution, or a household bleach solution containing 1 part of bleach in 3 parts of water.
  • Leave the solution set on the cleaned for 10-15 minutes.
  • Rinse with clean water.
  • Wash the area with a detergent solution and rinse again.
  • Allow the surface to dry completely and paint with high-quality paint.

Rust discoloration

This problem is characterized by rust, which can appear as brown-reddish to black spots on the surface of the paint.

Potential causes:

  • Non-corrosion resistant nails were used in place of galvanized or stainless steel nails.
  • Steel nails protruding from the surface then getting in contact with moisture/air –you know the chemistry?
  • Excessive weathering or sanding has worn out the galvanized coating on the nail heads.
  • The tannic acid from moist wood (e.g., oak) reacted with steel nails, creating a black spot.


  • If possible, replace the steel nails with galvanized or stainless steel nails.
  • If rusty nails cannot be removed, remove rust by sanding the nail heads
  • Prime with an anti-rust primer.
  • Drive in nails, Caulk, fill or glue the heads of the nails and sand to a smooth finishing
  • Paint with high-quality paint.

The Bottom Line

The above tips are general remedies you can use to fix different paint failures.
However, if the paint failure is extensive, it might be time for a new paint job on your home exterior, interior, kitchen cabinets, or whatever the surface you’re dealing with.

If you need professional help with your residential painting project in The Woodlands, TX, or Conroe, TX, our team at Streamline Painting & More can assist.

To get started with us, book a FREE estimate below or call us on 936-718-8354 for more details.

Make painting a breeze with our insider tips and tricks!
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About the author
Picture of Kyle Caywood
Kyle Caywood

Owner of Streamline Painting

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