8 Common Chalk Paint Problems (& How To Fix Them)

The thick nature and quick dry-time of chalk paint mean that you will occasionally run into problems while and after applying the paint. Most of these chalk paint problems arise due to improper prep work or bad paint application.

Not to worry though, this post discusses the most common chalk paint problems, why they occur, and how to fix them. So let’s dive in.

1. Chalk Paint Is Cracking

Chalk paint will crack if the surface underneath wasn’t cleaned properly before the chalk paint was applied. If the surface is filthy, the filthy will prevent the chalk paint from adhering well. This can make the paint crack.

Chalk paints will also develop mud cracks if the paint coating is too thick. Mud crack occurs when thick paint dries too quickly. Since chalk paint dries quickly, it is likely to develop mud cracks. This is why it’s advised to thin chalk paint before use especially on non-porous materials.

Chalk paint can also crack if the paint was applied in high temperatures. If the paint was applied at room temperature higher than 85 degrees F, it will dry too quickly and crack. If the weather is below 40 degrees F, the paint can also develop cracks due to frosting. So how do you fix cracked chalk paint?

How To Fix Cracking Chalk Paint?

To fix crackling chalk paint, you’ll have to remove the cracking paint and reapply the chalk. Follow this guide to fix cracking chalk paint:

  • Use a paint scraper to remove all the cracked paint from the surface.
  • Use medium-grit sandpaper to sand the surface.
  • Vacuum and clean the surface.
  • Apply 2 coats of water-based primer and leave to dry
  • Thin the chalk paint lightly with water
  • Apply the chalk paint and leave to dry
  • Distress the chalk paint (optional).

2. Chalk Paint Looks Streaky

Chalk paint will look streaky if you seal the chalk paint with not enough wax. Too little wax and you don’t get enough coverage causing the paint to get streaky.

Chalk paint can also get streaky if you don’t use enough chalk paint. This will reveal brush or roller marks very easily making the paint look streaky. Let’s check out how to fix this.

How To Fix Streaky Chalk Paint?

There are two ways to fix streaky chalk paint.

The first is to apply more chalk paint. If you sealed the chalk with wax and it gets streaky, you’ll have to apply more wax instead of more chalk paint. Here is a guide on how to do this:

  • Thin the chalk paint. You don’t need to thin the wax.
  • Use a paintbrush to apply more coats of chalk paint or wax on the streaky paint. Usually, two light coats will do.
  • Leave the paint to dry.

The second way is to sand the streaky paint and paint over it. Here is a guide on how to do that:

  • Sand the streaky chalk paint with sandpaper to get rid of ridges and gaps.
  • Vacuum the dust
  • Apply two coats of water-based primer
  • Apply the chalk paint and leave it to dry.

3. Chalk Paint Smells Bad

If the chalk paint smells bad, it’s because it has gone bad or expired. A foul chalk paint smell indicates that there are paint-eating bacteria in the paint. The gasses being released by these bacteria are what cause the foul smell.

Another reason chalk paint smells bad is because the paint wasn’t covered properly. This would allow moisture and air to get into the paint causing mold that can begin to smell.

How To Fix Foul Chalk Paint?

If the chalk paint smells foul, the best thing to do is to trash it. You can’t use the paint because it wouldn’t stick it dry well.

But if you have already applied the paint and it still smells, you can get rid of the smell by using any of the methods in this post.

Related Read: Does Chalk Paint Go Bad?

4. Chalk Paint Has Brush Strokes

Chalk paint will develop brush strokes if you pressed the paintbrush into the surface while applying the paint. This will create brush marks and dents in the chalk paint.

Chalk paint will also show brush strokes if you apply thick coats of the paint. The thick coats will reveal brush strokes when dry.

Chalk paint can also show brush strokes if you use the wrong type of paintbrush. To paint chalk, you should use a thin synthetic bristled paintbrush. If you use a tightly-packed or rigid paintbrush, you’ll create brush marks in the paint.

To prevent brush strokes in your chalk paint, you should use the right type of paintbrush. Also, don’t press the paintbrush into the paint while applying it. You should also thin and apply light coats of chalk paint to prevent brush marks.

How To Fix Brush Strokes In Chalk Paint?

If the chalk paint already developed brush strokes, you’ll have to sand it with fine-grit sandpaper to remove the brush marks. Then prime and apply two coats of chalk paint.

5. Chalk Paint Has Bubbles

Chalk paint will develop bubbles if you failed to stir the paint properly while thinning it. It’s very common to thin chalk paint with water. But if you stir too hard while thinning, you’ll create bubbles in the chalk paint. The bubbles are air pockets that become trapped in the paint as you stir.

When you apply the chalk paint, these air pockets will develop into bubbles. Some of these bubbles will pop creating tiny holes and tears in the chalk paint as well.

Paint bubbles can also develop if you applied the chalk paint with a roller or foam brush. It’s better to apply chalk paint with a thin synthetic-bristled paintbrush.

Also, if you paint over a porous surface, bubbles can form in the chalk paint. Porous surfaces like wood usually have pores in the surface that traps air pockets. When you apply the chalk paint over these pores, the air in there can cause bubbles in the paint coating. It’s usually advised to seal porous surfaces before applying chalk paint.

To prevent bubbles in the chalk paint, always seal the surface before applying the paint. Also, ensure to stir the paint lighly.

How To Fix Bubbles In Chalk Paint?

If you already have bubbles in the chalk paint, the only way to fix it is to remove the entire chalk paint and reapply the chalk. If you paint over chalk paint that had bubbles, you’ll end up with a poor finish.

You can also try popping the bubbles with a needle. Then touch up the areas where the bubbles occurred with an extra coat of chalk paint. This method works best when you plan to distress the chalk finish because you’ll need to sand the chalk paint when it gets dry.

6. Chalk Paint Is Bleeding Through

A bleed through the chalk paint is usually caused by tannins and oils in the wood or furniture. Wood especially fresh wood contains oils and tannins. If you apply chalk paint over such wood, the tannins and oils will bleed through the chalk paint. When this happens, you’ll notice brown or stained patches on the chalk paint.

A bleed through can also be caused by a stained material. If the surface that you applied the chalk paint on is stained or affected by grease and filth, these stains can easily bleed through the chalk paint causing stains.

To prevent bleed through, you should always seal the surface with a stain-blocking primer before applying the chalk paint.

How To Fix Bleed Through In Chalk Paint?

If you already notice bleed through in the chalk paint, it’s impossible to get rid of it without removing the existing chalk paint first. You can try applying more coats of chalk paint to cover the stained spots but the bleed-through will still reach the top layer. So applying more coats to cover up is a temporary fix.

The best way to fix a bleed-through is to strip the paint off. Then sand the surface and apply two coats of a quality stain-blocking primer like a shellac-based primer. The primer will prevent stains and oils from bleeding through the chalk paint.

7. Chalk Paint Is Sticky

Chalk paint rarely gets sticky. This is because the paint dries very quickly. However, if you sealed the chalk paint with wax, the paint can become sticky. This usually happens when you apply too much wax and when you don’t buff the wax after applying it.

How To Fix Sticky Chalk Paint?

You can fix sticky chalk paint by exposing the chalk paint to increased heat. The increased heat will speed up the drying time of the sticky chalk paint. You can use a hairdryer or heater for this.

You can also fix sticky wax by applying more wax and buffing the wax after. Use a clean rag and mineral spirits to buff the wax after applying it. This makes the wax dry properly and be smooth.

8. Chalk Paint Has Gone Yellow

Chalk paint rarely gets yellow. If chalk paint is showing a yellow color, it’s most likely because the chalk paint is yellow or you thinned the chalk in a paint bucket that has yellow paint.

However, chalk paint can turn yellow or brown if the paint is used on a surface that is close to a heat source or in a hot environment. Chalk paint isn’t heat-resistant so if you use it beside the fireplace, the exposure to heat will make the paint turn yellow or brown.

Chalk paint can also turn yellow if the paint is exposed to the sun. The ultraviolet rays of the sun can cause the chalk paint to turn yellow gradually. Chalk paint turning yellow can also be caused by bleed-through.

Chalk paint can also turn yellow if you sealed the chalk with an oil-based sealant like oil-based polyurethane. Oil-based sealants tend to yellow over time due to an accumulation of oils and chemical reactions in the sealant.

To prevent chalk paint from turning yellow, you should use a stain-blocking primer on the surface before putting chalk paint over it. This will prevent bleed through. Also, don’t use chalk paint in a hot environment or outdoors where it will be exposed to the sun.

How To Fix Yellow Chalk Paint?

If chalk paint already turned yellow, you can fix it by sanding the top layer of the chalk. If the yellow tint was caused by heat or UV exposure, sanding the chalk will remove most of the yellowing.

But the best way to get rid of yellowing chalk especially if the yellow tint is caused by bleed-through is to remove the chalk paint. Then prep the surface properly and apply new coats of chalk paint.

Final Words

Overall, chalk paint problems are usually not a big deal. There is usually a quick fix to solve the problem. But in most cases, the best way to fix the chalk paint problem is to remove the chalk paint, prep the surface, and apply new coats. This would also ensure you get a smooth and fine finish.

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