DIYers and painters sometimes struggle with the thickness of enamel paint leading to mistakes and problems with the paint. Today, we are going to look at common enamel paint mistakes, why they occur, and how to fix them easily. So, let’s dive in.
1. Enamel Paint Developing Wrinkles
The first enamel paint problem is wrinkles in the paint coating. This is a problem that develops a few days after applying the enamel paint and it’s very common with oil-based enamel paints. This problem occurs when the smooth paint coating begins to develop interlinked wrinkles and lines.
Why Does Enamel Paint Develop Wrinkles?
The reason for wrinkles in enamel paint is that the enamel paint hasn’t dried fully. In most cases, the enamel paint goes through a process known as surface drying. This is when only the top layer of the gloss paint gets dry while the paint underneath the dry layer remains wet.
When this happens, the wet paint underneath will cause wrinkles in the dry top layer. These wrinkles will start as single irregular lines and then begin to link forming a web of wrinkles over the enamel paint.
Here are other reasons for wrinkles in enamel paint:
Another reason for wrinkles in enamel paint is cold weather. When you apply enamel paint in cold temperatures, then the paint will begin to contract until it forms wrinkles.
You Applied Thick Coats of Enamel Paint
If you apply thick coats of enamel paint, then the paint will not dry properly and will remain wet for several hours. After a while, the wet enamel paint will begin to form wrinkles.
How to Fix Wrinkles in Enamel Paint?
Sadly, the only way to fix wrinkles in enamel paint is to scrape off the wrinkled paint, sand the surface, and reapply the enamel paint.
Here is a guide to do this:
- Use a putty knife or trowel to scrape off the wrinkled enamel paint
- Sand the surface to remove any enamel paint residue
- Smoothen the surface with fine-grit sandpaper
- Wipe and clean dust and stain off of the surface
- Apply a coat of stain-blocking primer
- Reapply the enamel paint
If you paint over wrinkled enamel paint with another coat of enamel paint, the new coat will also develop wrinkles after a while because you haven’t addressed the cause of the wrinkles. So if you notice wrinkles, remove and reapply the enamel paint.
2. Bubbles In Enamel Paint
Bubbles in enamel paint are a problem usually noticed after applying the paint. This is when bubbles begin to form on the enamel paint coating. Sometimes, these bubbles will pop causing tiny tears and spaces in the enamel coating.
Why Do Bubbles Form in Enamel Paint?
The main reason for bubbles in enamel paint is trapped air pockets. When the air gets trapped in the paint, there will be bubbles in each coat that you apply.
Here are other reasons for bubbles in enamel paint:
You Stirred the Paint Too Hard
The thick nature of enamel paint makes it difficult to apply the paint directly. So it’s common advice to thin the enamel paint before applying it. However, if you stir too hard or too fast, you will trap tiny air pockets in the paint.
These air pockets will remain in the paint and when you apply it, the air pockets will form bubbles in the enamel paint coating. This will make the enamel paint look like it’s being boiled.
High Moisture Content in the Surface
Moisture or water can also cause enamel paints to bubble. If the surface is wet or soaked, then the water in the surface will prevent the enamel paint from sticking properly. Since there is poor adhesion between the paint and the surface, air can easily get underneath the enamel paint and cause bubbles in the finish.
How to Fix Bubbles in Enamel Paint?
The best way to fix bubbles in enamel paint is to pop the bubbles, sand the surface, and reapply the enamel paint.
Here is a guide for this:
- Use a needle to pop the bubbles in the enamel paint
- Leave the enamel paint to get dry
- Scrape the enamel paint off the surface
- Smoothen the surface with fine-grit sandpaper
- Apply a coat of sealing paint over the surface and leave to dry
- Reapply the enamel paint.
After removing the enamel paint, check for leaks and stains on the surface that may be casing bubbles before reapplying the enamel paint.
3. Enamel Paint is Sticky
Another common enamel paint problem is sticky enamel paint. This is when the paint doesn’t dry and instead turns sticky or tacky when touched. In addition to being sticky, the enamel paint will begin to smell.
Why is Enamel Paint Sticky?
There are different reasons for sticky enamel paint but the bottom line is that the enamel paint is sticky because it’s not drying as it should. Instead of getting dry, the paint will remain wet and will turn sticky. So to find out why the enamel paint is sticky, you need to find why the paint isn’t drying as it should.
Here are common reasons for this:
The Weather Temperature is Below 40 Degrees Fahrenheit
If you apply enamel paint when the weather temperature is cold or below 40 degrees Fahrenheit, then the paint will most likely turn sticky. This is because the weather temperature is too low for the paint to dry as it should. So instead of drying, the enamel paint will remain wet and turn sticky.
The Surface is Wet
If the surface is wet, then the enamel paint can turn sticky. If you apply the enamel paint on a wet surface, the moisture in the surface will prevent the enamel paint from drying as it should. Instead, the enamel paint will also become soaked and turn sticky.
You Recoated Too Soon
If you apply a second coat of enamel paint before the existing coat is dry enough, then the entire finish can turn sticky. This is because there will be oils and solvents trapped between each coat of the enamel paint. The trapped solvent will continue to make the enamel paint wet and sticky. It takes enamel paint up to 24 hours to dry.
How to Fix Sticky Enamel Paint?
The best way to fix sticky enamel paint is to make the paint dry faster. As explained earlier, the enamel paint is only sticky because the paint is not drying. So if you don’t want the paint to be sticky, you have to make it dry quicker.
Here is a guide for this:
- Open all windows and doors to increase airflow
- Use a hairdryer to make the enamel paint dry faster
- Expose the sticky enamel paint to sunlight
- Use a dehumidifier to reduce the moisture in the atmosphere
- Turn on fans in the room
These tips above will make the enamel paint dry quicker and hopefully stop being sticky. However, if you have tried the steps above and the enamel paint is still sticky, that means that the problem is from beneath the enamel paint. The only thing to do in this case is to remove the enamel paint and reapply it.
Here is a guide:
- Dissolve the enamel paint with mineral spirits
- Use a paint scraper to scrape off the sticky enamel paint
- Use mineral spirits to wipe off any remaining enamel paint
- Find and fix the cause of the sticky enamel. It could be a leak within the surface or a burst pipe
- Apply two coats of a moisture-resistant primer paint
- Reapply the enamel paint and leave it to dry.
4. Enamel Paint is Turning Yellow
This problem occurs a few days after applying the paint and it is very common with oil-based enamel paint. This is when the enamel paint starts to develop yellowish tints. The yellowing starts as tiny spots on the enamel paint and these spots gradually spread till the enamel paint develops a yellow or amber-like look.
Why is Enamel Paint Turning Yellow?
The reason for yellow enamel paint is the paint formula. Enamel paint has a high volume of natural and synthetic oils like linseed oil in its formula. While the enamel paint is drying, it leaves behind oily deposits in the paint. These oily deposits begin to form tiny yellowish tints that eventually spread and give the yellow look to the enamel paint.
How to Fix Yellowish Enamel Paint?
Unfortunately, there is no way to fix yellow enamel paint since the cause of the yellowing is in the formula of the paint. However, you can reduce the yellowing by following the tips below:
- Apply light coats so there are fewer oily deposits in the paint
- Thin the enamel paint before applying it
- Sand the yellowing spots on the enamel paint as they begin to appear
- Add color to the enamel paint
- Use yellow enamel paint. With yellow paint, the yellowish tints wouldn’t be obvious.
5. Enamel Paint is Smelling Foul
This is a common problem with enamel paints and it occurs when the enamel paint starts to smell bad, foul, or like ammonia. This is usually noticeable before, during, and after applying the enamel paint.
Why is Enamel Paint Smelling Foul?
The main reason for foul-smelling enamel paint is that the paint has gone bad. When enamel paint goes bad, paint-eating bacteria develop in the paint.
The bacteria eat the paint and release gas which causes a foul smell. Enamel paint can go bad when the paint has expired. Also, when the paint isn’t sealed properly after opening it, contaminants can easily get into the paint and make it go bad.
How to Fix Smelly Enamel Paint?
There is no way to fix this. If the paint is starting to smell foul, then it has expired and should be tossed out. If you have applied the paint, you should remove it from the surface and toss it out.
You should know that enamel paint is meant to smell but the paint smells like chemicals. So if you catch a strong chemical whiff, you shouldn’t panic. This means that the paint is still good and can be used. You should only remove the paint if it smells rotten or foul.
6. Enamel Paint is Cracking
Cracking or splitting enamel paint is another common problem that occurs after applying the paint. This problem starts as hairline cracks and splits in the enamel paint.
As time goes by, these cracks will get bigger allowing air and contaminants to get underneath the enamel paint and cause the paint to fall off eventually.
Why is Enamel Paint Cracking?
The main reason for cracking enamel paint is that the paint dried too quickly. When enamel paint dries too quickly, the paint particles will not have enough time to bond together meaning that the enamel paint will be weak.
After a while, hairline cracks will begin to separate the particles in the enamel paint due to the weak nature of the paint. These cracks will get bigger and eventually cause the enamel paint to fall off.
Enamel paint can develop hairline cracks if you over-thin the finish. If you over-thin the paint with paint thinner, the coat that you apply will be very light and will easily crack under minimal contact.
How to Fix Cracking Enamel Paint?
Unfortunately, the only way to fix cracking enamel paint is to scrape off the finish and reapply it. This is because the paint will be too weak to be painted over. Here is a guide on how to do this:
- Peel and scrape off the cracking enamel paint
- Sand the surface with fine-grit sandpaper
- Apply a coat of stain-blocking primer paint on the surface
- Apply two coats of enamel paint
- Leave the paint to dry.
After reapplying the enamel paint, you can seal it with polyurethane to protect the finish from impact and dents that can cause it to crack.
Pro-Tips To Prevent Mistakes While Applying Enamel Paint
- Always clean the surface before applying enamel paint to get rid of grease and filth
- Use a stain-blocking primer as an undercoat for enamel paint
- Always leave enough dry time between coats of enamel paint
- Stir the paint carefully
- Always measure and add only the required amount of paint thinner while mixing enamel paint
- Don’t dry the enamel paint too fast or it will crack and peel off.
In summary, enamel paint problems are somewhat unavoidable but you can limit these mistakes by prepping the surface and the paint properly before applying the paint.
Remember to follow the tips explained above to prevent mistakes and if you encounter any mistake, you can find the quick fix for it in this article.