It’s common to notice that the wax coating on your chalk paint has turned blotchy. But how do you fix the blotchy wax so it doesn’t run your chalk paint finish?
To fix blotchy wax on chalk paint, start by buffing the blotchy wax with a buffing pad but only do this after the wax has fully dried. Buffing the wax will remove imperfections and even out the blotchy appearance of the wax.
You can also dissolve the wax with some mineral spirits or vinegar mix, wipe off the excess wax and reapply a new wax coat. But if all methods fail, you’ll need to remove the blotchy wax and reapply the finish.
So why does wax turn blotchy on chalk paint and how can you avoid it? The answers to these questions and more will be revealed in this post. Let’s dive in.
Why Does Wax Turn Blotchy On Chalk Paint?
There are different reasons for blotchy wax on chalk paint but the usual culprit is over-application of the wax finish. This happens when you apply too many coats of the wax and when you lay the wax too thick.
In both cases, the over-application of the wax will result in too much wax being on the chalk paint. What happens next is the chalk paint will not absorb the wax evenly.
Some parts of the chalk paint will over-absorb the wax more than other parts leading to uneven absorption of the wax and a blotchy appearance. However, this is not the only cause of a blotchy wax finish.
Here are other possible reasons your wax finish turned blotchy on the chalk paint:
1. You Didn’t Wipe Off Excess Wax After Application
After applying the required number of wax coats, manufacturers advise leaving the wax for about 30 minutes so the chalk paint can absorb it. After 30 minutes, the wax the chalk paint didn’t absorb should be wiped off with a clean cloth.
If you don’t wipe off the leftover wax or wait too long before wiping the wax, there will be excess wax on the surface than the chalk paint can deal with. This will cause the leftover wax to appear blotchy and uneven.
2. Improper Prep Work
Before coating your chalk paint with wax, the chalk-painted surface has to be dry, clean, and properly sanded or smooth. If any of these requirements aren’t met, the wax will not be absorbed evenly and what follows is a blotchy wax finish on the chalk paint.
For instance, if the chalk paint is filthy, the dirt and debris on the paint will not allow proper adhesion between the wax coat and the chalk paint. Since there isn’t proper adhesion between the coats, the wax can’t be absorbed evenly by the chalk paint and after a few hours, the wax will turn blotchy.
3. The Drying Condition Isn’t Optimal For The Wax
Wax is to be applied when the room temperature is above 50 degrees Fahrenheit and when the relative humidity is between 40 and 50%. If the room temperature is below 50 degrees F or the humidity rises above the optimal level for the wax, the wax will not dry properly on the chalk paint. Some parts of the wax will dry while others will remain tacky leaving you with an uneven and blotchy finish.
How To Fix Blotchy Wax On Chalk Paint?
Fixing blotchy wax is a task most homeowners and DIYers shy away from because they aren’t sure how to fix it or they have tried methods that didn’t work.
But not to worry because this guide will reveal 3 effective and safe methods to fix blotchy wax on chalk paint. But before we move on to the methods, you’ll need these tools and supplies:
- Clean lint-free rags
- A pair of gloves
- A face mask
- A vacuum or duster
- Buffing pads
- Mineral spirits or vinegar
- Wire sponges
- Drop sheets
- A portable sander (for large surfaces)
Here are the 3 methods:
- Buff the blotchy wax after it has dried
- Apply a fresh coat of wax over the blotchy wax
- Remove and reapply the wax finish on the chalk paint.
Let’s check out these methods in detail.
1. Buff The Blotchy Wax With a Buffing Pad
The first method to try out to fix a blotchy wax coat is to buff the wax. Buffing the wax means rubbing it repeatedly with a buffing pad or rag. Doing this will gradually wear off the blotchy appearance of the wax and reveal a smooth finish on the chalk paint.
However, this method should only be used after the blotchy wax has dried. Usually, this takes 24 – 48 hours. If the blotchy wax is still wet or tacky, this method will not work because the wax will clog the buffing pad.
Here is a guide for this method:
- Feel the texture of the wax to know if it is sticky or wet – if it’s wet, allow it to dry before trying this method.
- When the blotchy wax is fully dry, wipe off dust and dirt from its surface with a rag.
- Put on a pair of gloves and take out a buffing pad – ensure the buffing pad is recommended for waxed surfaces.
- Gradually move the buffing pad across the blotchy wax in a circular motion – you’ll need a bit of pressure.
- Continue buffing the wax till you see that the blotchy appearance is smooth.
- When the wax is smooth, stop buffing it.
- Wipe the surface with a clean rag and let the finish settle.
Tip: If you start buffing the blotchy wax and you notice that there aren’t changes on the wax, stop buffing and try out another method.
2. Apply a Fresh Coat of Wax
You can also try fixing blotchy wax by applying a fresh coat of wax over the blotchy coat. The idea here is to touch up the blotchy wax with a new coat so the new coat of wax can blend into the blotchy wax and even out the finish.
This method works best while the blotchy wax is still damp. If the blotchy wax has dried, you’ll need to dissolve it with a small amount of mineral spirits.
Here is a guide for this method:
- Feel the texture of the blotchy wax to know if it is damp or dry.
- For dry wax, wipe it with a rag soaked in mineral spirits – if the blotchy wax is still damp, you don’t need to use mineral spirits.
- After wiping the blotchy wax with mineral spirits, wait 15-30 minutes for it to be dissolved.
- When the wax is dissolved, try wiping off excess wax on the chalk paint with a rag.
- Then, touch up the blotchy wax with a fresh coat. You can apply the new wax coat with a cloth or paintbrush but it’s better to use a rag to avoid brush marks and scars.
- If there is excess wax, wipe it off of the chalk paint after 30 minutes.
- Allow the blotchy wax to dry by itself.
- Buff the wax coat with a buffing pad.
- Remove dust and leave the finish to settle.
Tip: If you don’t have mineral spirits to dissolve the wax, you can use vinegar. To do this, mix some vinegar in warm water and use the mixture to wipe the blotchy wax.
3. Remove and Re-apply The Wax
The final method to fix blotchy wax on chalk paint is to remove it. This is the last resort to be used when all other methods have failed and when the blotchiness is caused by bad surface preparation. The idea here is to remove the blotchy wax from the chalk paint and reapply it.
You can remove the blotchy wax with mineral spirits, vinegar mix, acetone, or a chemical-based paint stripper. For this guide, we’ll be using a bottle of mineral spirits and a wire sponge to remove the blotchy wax.
Here is a guide for this method:
- Pour some mineral spirits directly on the blotchy wax coat.
- Leave the surface to dissolve for 30 minutes – after 30 minutes, the wax would have liquefied (turned liquid or semi-solid).
- Use a paint scraper and rag to remove the dissolved wax.
- Repeat steps 1-3 to remove leftover wax but this time, use a wire sponge to pull off the blotchy wax instead of a rag.
- Wipe the surface with some more mineral spirits and leave it to dry for 24 hours.
- Sand down the chalk painted surface with 220-grit sandpaper.
- Vacuum off the dust and leave the wood to settle.
- Reapply the chalk paint and leave it to dry for 24 hours.
- Reapply the wax in thin coats over the chalk paint (remember to wipe off the excess wax 30 minutes after application).
- Buff the wax with a buffing pad and leave the finish to settle.
Tip: You should know that removing the blotchy wax will most likely remove the chalk paint too or at least parts of it. So, you’ll need to reapply the entire finish after removing the blotchy wax.
Knowing how to fix it is one thing but knowing how to avoid the blotchiness is another. If you can prevent the wax from turning blotchy, you wouldn’t even need to worry about fixing it. So, let’s check how to do it.
How To Avoid Blotchy Wax?
Here are expert tips to avoid wax from turning blotchy on chalk paint:
- Apply the wax only when the chalk paint has dried fully – This takes about 24 hours after applying the chalk paint.
- Always wipe off the excess wax after application and do this on time too – within 30 minutes after applying the wax.
- Do not apply more than the required number of wax coats.
- Only apply wax when the room temperature and drying conditions are ideal.
- Follow the manufacturer’s instructions when applying wax.
- Prep the chalk paint by cleaning and sanding it before applying wax.
- Apply thin coats of the wax because thicker coats will not be absorbed evenly.
- Scuff the chalk paint with 320-400 grit sandpaper to create tiny ridges and holes for the wax to be absorbed through.
- Do not re-coat the wax unless the existing coat has dried – re-coating too soon will cause the wax to trap moisture.
- Use the right type of wax on the chalk paint – A good choice is Annie Sloan wax for chalk paints.
In summary, having your wax coat turn blotchy after its application isn’t uncommon as it happens to lots of homeowners and DIYers, even the experienced ones.
However, you can fix the blotchiness immediately you notice it by following any of the methods above. If the blotchy wax has dried, you can try buffing the finish to fix the blotchiness. But, if this doesn’t work, you’ll need to dissolve or remove the wax to fix the blotchiness.
Finally, remember to follow the manufacturer’s instructions when applying wax so it doesn’t turn blotchy. If you can prevent it, you wouldn’t need to fix it.