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Exterior

Listed below are some of the most common problems that thankfully have some straightforward answers. Just locate the problem, click on it, and a more detailed description will appear.

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Alligatoring

Patterned cracking in the surface of the paint film resembling the regular scales of an alligator.

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Blistering

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

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Chalking

Formation of fine powder on the surface of the paint film during weathering which can cause colour fading. Although some degree of chalking is a normal, desirable way for a paint film to wear, excessive film erosion can result from heavy chalking.

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Chalk Rundown

The washing down of chalk from an excessively eroding paint onto another area below (a brick foundation, for example), ruining its appearance.

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Cracking/Flaking

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.

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Dirt Pick-up

Accumulation of dirt, dust particles and/or other debris on the paint film; may resemble mildew.

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Efflorescence/Mottling

Crusty, white salt deposits, leached from mortar or masonry as water passes through it.

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Fading/Poor Colour Retention

Premature and/or excessive lightening of the paint colour, which often occurs on surfaces with sunny southern exposure. Fading/poor colour retention can also be a result of chalking of the coating.

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Frosting

A white, salt-like substance on the paint surface. Frosting can occur on any paint colour, but it is less noticeable on white paint or lighter tints. On masonry, it can be mistaken for efflorescence (see Efflorescence and Mottling.)

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Lapping

Appearance of a denser colour or higher gloss where wet and dry layers overlap during paint application.

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Mildew

Black, gray or brown areas of fungus growth on the surface of paint or caulk.

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Nail-head Rusting

Reddish-brown stains and spots on the paint surface.

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Paint Incompatibility

Loss of adhesion where many old coats of alkyd or oil-based paint receive a latex top coat.

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Peeling

Loss of paint due to poor adhesion. Where there is a primer and top coat, or multiple coats of paint, peeling may involve some or all coats.

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Poor Alkali Resistance

Colour loss and overall deterioration of paint film on fresh masonry.

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Poor Galvanized Metal

Paint that has lost its adhesion to a galvanized metal substrate.

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Poor Gloss Retention

Deterioration of the paint film, resulting in excessive or rapid loss of lustre of the top coat.

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Surfactant Leaching

Concentration of water-soluble ingredients on latex paint, creating a blotchy, sometimes glossy appearance, often with a tan or brownish cast. More likely with tinted paints than with white or factory-coloured paints.

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Tannin Staining

Brownish or tan discolouration on the paint surface due to migration of tannins from the substrate through the paint film. Typically occurs on "staining woods" such as redwood, cedar and mahogany, or over painted knots in certain other wood species.

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Vinyl Sliding Warp

Warping or buckling of vinyl siding panels that have been repainted.

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Wax Bleed

Stains that come from waxy substance in the reconstituted wood products used to make hardboard siding. When the substrate is painted, these staining substances bleed through the paint; they can even bleed through some ordinary primers, possibly causing dirt pickup, mildew and/or poor paint adhesion (see Dirt Pickup and Mildew).

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Wrinkling

A rough, crinkled paint surface occurring when paint forms a "skin."

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