Common Exterior Paint Problems And How To Fix Them

Share Article

An exterior paint job looks like one of the easiest do-it-yourself home improvement activities. That is, until you notice some cracking, blistering, or peeling.

As your home's first line of defense against harsh elements, it's normal for your exterior paint to show signs of wear and tear, like fading, apart from those mentioned earlier. There's no universal timeline for how long an exterior paint job should last. Generally, exterior paint lasts anywhere from five to ten years, depending on several issues like the type of paint, the material used, and the quality of the job, among others.

With proper preparation and using the right techniques and materials, you may be able to extend its lifespan. But proactive measures can't save your paint from these issues if you live in certain areas, including those with a harsh climate or near the sea. So, prepare for more frequent paint touch-ups in such locations.

If you live in an area where your natural environment may be the culprit, it's advisable to learn the following issues and how to address them.    

Paint blistering or bubbling

Paint bubbling is caused by high heat, humidity, and moisture. Improper painting techniques and applying oil-based paint from a high heat or damp surface can also result in premature blistering. While more common in wood trims and siding, other underlying materials can be affected by this problem.

How to fix paint blistering

Address the main cause of the issue, including improper ventilation or leaking in walls. Then, do the following:

⦁    Remove all the blistered paint.

⦁    Sand and smooth the surface.

⦁    Keep the area clean and dry.

⦁    Prime the exterior surface.

⦁    Use high-quality paint.

⦁    Avoid stirring your paint for too long or quickly to avoid bubble formation.

⦁    If you notice bubbling during paint application, you may be painting too fast.

It's a good idea to stick to the same paint formulation when adding a second coat. Additionally, you may consider adding a rhino shield liner or coating to improve paint durability and protection from harsh heat and weather. Nevertheless, choosing the right type of paint is crucial in doing the job.  

Paint Alligatoring

This common paint problem is caused by loss of elasticity due to frequent temperature changes. As a result, the paint forms cracks that resemble an alligator's skin. A bad paint job can also cause your exterior coating to develop these patterns which often appear as paint wrinkling. These include applying oil-based paint over a latex primer or painting over a primer that hasn't dried completely.

How to fix paint Alligatoring

Follow steps A to D in the previous section, and ensure the primer is dry before applying paint. You may also use latex paint to ensure your coating maintains its elasticity.

Paint efflorescence

Efflorescence occurs when salt deposits from concrete or bricks are dissolved and form under the paint film. Leaching may develop due to a lack of curing time for cement, painting over holes and cracks, and inadequate waterproofing.  

How to fix paint efflorescence

⦁   Fix excessive moisture and waterproofing issues.

⦁   Repair cracks and re-caulk openings.

⦁   Apply hydrophobic sealant or silicone and acrylic coatings.

⦁   Remove flaking.

⦁   Clean the affected area.

⦁   Wait for the surface to dry completely.

⦁   Prime, then paint.

It's crucial to address the causes of efflorescence. Without fixing its underlying cause, you're bound to face the same issue repeatedly, increasing the frequency and cost of an exterior paint job.

Paint chalking

Chalking is pervasive in warm and arid areas. The chalk is a pigment released from the paint binders because of too much sun or rain exposure. Excessive chalking can indicate low-quality paint with too many additives and pigment extenders. Using interior paint on your exterior walls and siding can also lead to this common problem.  

How to fix paint chalking

⦁    Thoroughly remove the chalk using a power washer or a cleaning solution.

⦁    Allow to completely dry.

⦁         Use high-quality exterior paint to avoid excessive chalking in the future.

⦁    Paint drips or runs

A dripping paint film characterizes this common amateur painting issue. Several factors contribute to this problem, including environmental conditions and poor painting techniques. Hiring paint professionals is one way to eliminate signs of a bad exterior paint job, including this one.

How to fix paint runs

⦁    If the paint is wet, use your roller or brush to distribute the material evenly.

⦁    If the coating is dry, sand the area and reapply the coating, but lightly this time.

To prevent paint drips in the future, avoid overfilling your paintbrush or roller brush with paint and use proper techniques like using painter’s tape to achieve a smoother finish.


Mildew is one of the most pervasive issues faced by homeowners and painting contractors. Like mold, it's a fungus that grows on almost any surface, including the outer sections of a home. The organism isn't hard to spot, as it forms colorful and patchy spots, including black, green, brown, blue, white, or gray, on the paint film.

How to remove mildew and reapply paint

⦁    Use a cleaning solution and scrub the affected areas.

⦁    Rinse the solution off.

⦁    Allow the surface to dry well.

⦁    Prime the areas where paint was removed.

⦁    Apply a fresh coat of exterior paint.

Refrain from applying paint on spots where mildew may still be present. Consider using paint products with mold-resisting properties.


Common exterior paint issues can be prevented using the proper paint type and employing the right techniques. Hiring professionals to do the job for you might be a cost-effective strategy too.    

After the project, recognizing common painting problems and their root causes and performing the correct fixes as soon as possible are keys to maintaining curb appeal. The discussion above should give you the confidence to tackle issues as they crop up.

MIT Citations

John, B. (2020, October 26).

10 Common Exterior Paint Problems. CertaPro Painters

Retrieved January 9, 2023, from

Bob, F. (2021, August 21).

10 Common Exterior Paint Problems and How to Fix Them. The Spruce

Retrieved January 9, 2023, from

Chris, T. (2022, November 7).

Exterior Problem Solver. Haymes Paint

Retrieved January 9, 2023, from