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Paint – Keep it Fresh

How To Avoid a Disaster and Costly Mistake

During a home inspection this week, this home had significant issues with the exterior paint job.  I noticed that the paint one the home was in poor condition. The paint was bubbled and it had lost its adhesion from the walls of the home. In some areas, there were pockets of water behind the paint which you could pop like a balloon.  Of course, I advised my clients that the home would need to be repainted, but what caused this to happen and how can it be avoided?

Paint Blistering and water pockets

The scenario that we can see from the photos is known as ‘blistering’. Blistering can be seen when the paint loses its adhesion to the base coat of paint or the wall substrate. There are a handful of reasons why this can happen and it is important to know so that you can avoid a costly mistake. The main reason is initial prep-work.  The exterior wall was not cleaned properly to get it ready for new paint.  As the new paint dries and shrinks, it can lift from the walls causing these types of bubbles to form. 

Another reason for this to occur is when you skip the primer coat.  Porous substrates such as drywall or concrete absorb more of the binders in the paint.  As a result of missing primer, the paint will have a thinner binder film than necessary for the following paint coat to stick to.  Other important reasons include: the wall may have been damp, the surface was too warm to be painted and even using the wrong roller cover can cause such issues.

As the old timers always say, if you’re going to do the project, do it Right and do it Once. Paint is not cheap like it once was so this can wind up being a costly mistake.  Prep work and following instructions will save you from a big mess down the road.

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About the author

Todd Johnson has been a home inspector in the Tampa Bay area since 1998. He is extremely detail oriented and takes great satisfaction in his work. Todd understands the importance of the inspection and how much is riding on it; after all, it's YOUR home! Call Todd at Frontline Inspections today at (727) 460-2655