Peeling, Cracking and Bubbling Paint- What it is and how to prevent it

Painting an interior wall is a popular DIY project for many homeowners. Unfortunately, many don’t realize that there are specific steps that need to be taken to ensure the longevity of the paint job. As a result, the paint job that you were so proud of, begins to crack and peel over time.

This can be a frustrating experience, so it is important to take your time when painting and ensure that the surface is prepared properly. We’ve included a few reasons why this happens and a few tips on how to avoid paint from bubbling, cracking or peeling.

Paint Bubbles


Painted walls that bubble (is that my wall or a close up of the moon?) are the result of a loss of adhesion between the paint and the underlying surface of the wall. The lack of adhesion is usually caused by moisture, heat, or a combination of the two. If left untreated, bubbly paint will lead to peeling, so it is important that  you not only repair the area, but also address the underlying problem. The most common causes of bubbling paint include:

  • The presence of excessive moisture
  • Painting a dirty, hot or damp wall
  • Improperly preparing a surface
  • Painting over a stain or contaminant that paint cannot adhere to
  • Rolling too energetically can whip bubbles into the paint (High gloss paints are particularly susceptible- slow down!)
  • Shaking a paint can introduces excess air

Paint Cracks


Cracked paint can be caused by a number of things. For example, Mud cracks indicate that the paint was applied too thick and the surface was dirty. On the other hand, Hairline cracks, are indicative that the paint was cheap and had low adhesion or was spread too thinly. More serious problems, such as alligator cracks, are caused when a second or third coat of paint is applied before the previous coat has dried.

While cracks may start off small, if they are not repaired, they can get worse and eventually lead to flaking.

Peeling Paint


Why does paint peel? Simply put- because it is not adhering properly to the underlying surface. Most paint-on-paint peeling comes from high humidity or surface moisture.

What can I do to prevent this from happening to me?


Do not fret- do it yourselfers… there are a few simple steps you can take to significantly decrease the chances that your paint will bubble, crack or peel over time. For example, it is vital to prep the surfaces to make sure they are clean and dry prior to beginning the project. Additionally, painting in hot or humid conditions should be avoided (utilizing exhaust fans can help decrease a location’s humidity.) Ensuring that paint coatings are applied at the recommended rate will also help avoid over-spreading, thinning, and subsequent cracking.


With many variables and potential headaches, it’s often best to use a professional company to do your prepping and painting for you. Need an estimate? Call JQ Paint, Inc. Call us at (714) 376-1611, or request a free consultation online Contact Us.


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