7 Most Common Gloss Paint Mistakes (& Fixes)

Many DIYers run into problems while applying gloss paint due to the thick and oil-based nature of the paints. But not anymore. Today, this article will discuss the top 7 gloss paint mistakes, why they happen, and how to fix the problem. So let’s dive in.

1. Gloss Paint is Turning Yellow

This is a problem that is very common with gloss paints and it happens after applying the gloss paint. This problem occurs when the gloss paint starts to develop yellow tints in the edges and center of the paint coating. After a while, the whole gloss layer will go from a transparent clear finish to a yellowish finish.

Why Does Gloss Paint Turn Yellow?

The main cause of this problem is the makeup of the gloss paint. Gloss paints are usually oil-based meaning that the paint particles are dissolved in oil, usually linseed oil.

When the gloss paint dries, the oily deposits left behind begin to bind and form yellow spots in the paint. After a few days, the whole gloss paint layer will have an amber-like appearance.

How to Fix Yellowing Gloss Paint?

Sadly, there isn’t a particular way to stop gloss paint from yellowing. However, there are tips that you can follow to reduce the yellow spots.

  1. Apply thin coats of gloss paint. This reduces the level of oils in the paint
  2. Sand the gloss paint with fine-grit sandpaper to reduce the yellow spots
  3. Always leave enough dry time between coats so there is plenty of time for the oils in the paint to be evaporated.

2. There Are Bubbles In Gloss Paint

This problem is common with gloss paints and it occurs during and immediately after applying the paint. This is when you notice air bubbles forming in the gloss paint layer. Sometimes, these bubbles pop causing tiny tears and holes in the gloss paint.

Why Does Gloss Paint Have Bubbles?

Here are common reasons for bubbles in gloss paint:

The Usual Culprit for Bubbles in Gloss Paint Is Improper Mixing

DIYers are usually advised to stir gloss paints before application. If you stir the paint aggressively or too fast, then air pockets will become trapped in the gloss paint. When you apply the paint, the air pockets will form bubbles.

Using Rollers and Foam Brushes to Apply Gloss Paint

Another reason for bubbles in gloss paint is if you apply the paint with a foam brush or roller. Rollers and foram brushes are made from absorbent materials that soak up the gloss paint leading to very thick coats that can easily develop bubbles. It’s better to apply gloss paint with a paintbrush.


Heat can also cause the glossy paint to bubble and this is more common outdoors. The heat outside especially during the day is usually higher than the heat indoors. Gloss paint has a high volume of oils that can easily boil if exposed to sufficient heat. Before applying gloss paint, you should ensure that the temperature is not above 90 degrees Fahrenheit.

Applying Gloss Paint Over a Porous Surface

Putting gloss paint over a porous or open surface can cause bubbles in the gloss paint. Porous surfaces like hardwood usually have space between the material also known as pores.

These pores are usually filled with air pockets. So if you apply gloss paint directly over the porous surface, the air inside the pores will form bubbles in the gloss paint.

How to Fix Bubbles in Gloss Paint?

To fix bubbles in gloss paint, you need to pop the bubbles, sand the surface, apply a sealer coating, and then reapply the gloss paint. Here is a guide on how to do this:

  1. Use a razor or needle to pop the bubbles in the gloss paint
  2. Leave the gloss paint to dry for at least 20 minutes
  3. Sand the gloss paint with fine-grit sandpaper
  4. Apply a coat of sanding sealer over the surface and leave to dry
  5. Carefully stir the gloss paint
  6. Reapply the gloss paint over the sealed surface

3. Gloss Paint Is Peeling Off

Another problem common with gloss paints is for the gloss paint to peel off and this happens a few days or weeks after applying the gloss paint. This occurs when the gloss paint starts to peel off the surface without any contact.

Why is Gloss Paint Peeling Off?

You should know that the main reason gloss paint is peeling off is because of poor adhesion between the gloss paint and the surface. This means that the paint didn’t stick to the surface properly which is why it is peeling off.

Here are the other causes for peeling glossy paint:

The Surface is Filthy

If the surface is affected by dust and filth, then the gloss paint layer will not stick properly. This is because the filth or dirt on the surface will prevent the gloss paint from bonding to the surface properly. Instead, the gloss paint will stay on the filth. So before applying gloss paint, always ensure that the surface is clean.

You Didn’t Sand

Another reason for peeling gloss paint is if you didn’t sand before applying the gloss paint. Gloss paints like all other paints need to bite into the surface to stick properly

. Sanding helps to create ridges and teeth on the surface that the gloss paint can bite into but if you don’t sand before applying the gloss paint, then the paint will not stick well and can start to peel off after a few days.

The Surface is Wet

Gloss paint will also peel off if the surface is wet. As explained earlier, the reason for peeling glossy paint is poor adhesion between the paint and the surface.

If the surface is wet or affected by moisture, then there is no way the gloss paint will stick properly. Applying gloss paint over a wet surface is a recipe for failure. So, ensure the surface is dry before applying the gloss paint.

How to Fix Peeling Gloss Paint?

Sadly, the only way to fix peeling gloss paint is to remove the paint and reapply it. This is because for the paint to be peeling, there must be a problem with the surface. So you have to remove the paint, find what the problem is, and then reapply the gloss paint.

Here is a guide for this:

  • Scrape off the peeling gloss paint with a paint scraper. It’s easier to do this when the paint is not hard so you can use mineral spirits to dissolve the gloss paint first.
  • Find the reason for the peeling gloss paint. If it’s a wet surface, allow the surface to dry. If it’s because the surface is filthy, you should clean it.
  • Smoothen the surface with sandpaper
  • Apply a coat of stain-blocking primer on the surface and leave to dry
  • Reapply the gloss paint.

You should know that it’s generally advised to remove and reapply peeling gloss paint. Painting over the peeling gloss paint with another coat is only a temporary fix as whatever caused the existing coat to peel will also affect the new coat that you apply.

4. Gloss Paint Is Tacky

Tacky or sticky gloss paint is a problem that occurs after applying the gloss paint. Usually, gloss paint dries between 2 and 4 hours after applying the paint. But if the paint remains wet after this time, it will turn sticky. When you touch the gloss paint, it will feel gummy or tacky.

Why is Gloss Paint Tacky?

The main reason that causes gloss paint to turn tacky or sticky is that the paint is not drying as it should. Glossy paint will only turn sticky when the paint can’t dry. So to find out why your gloss paint is sticky, you need to find out why the gloss paint isn’t drying.

Here are common reasons for this:

The Surface Is Wet

When you apply gloss paint over a wet surface, then the gloss paint will not dry and will turn sticky. This is because the moisture or water in the surface will prevent the gloss paint from drying up.

The Weather or Temperature Is Too Cold

Another reason for sticky glossy paint is if you applied the paint in cold weather or temperature. If the temperature or weather is cold, then there will be high humidity (moisture in the atmosphere). This will cause the gloss paint to remain wet and turn sticky in a few hours.

Usually, it’s advised not to apply gloss paint when the temperature is below 50 degrees Fahrenheit. This also means you shouldn’t apply the gloss paint during the cold winter months.

You Applied a Second Coat Too Soon

If you recoat glossy paint too soon, then the paint will turn sticky. The reason for this is that there will be moisture or solvent trapped between the coats causing the paint to remain wet and turn tacky or sticky.

How to Fix Tacky Glossy Paint?

There are two ways to fix sticky glossy paint. The first step involves exposing the gloss paint to increased heat and airflow so the paint can dry faster. You’ll need a heater or hairdryer for this.

Here is a guide to do this:

  • Turn on the hairdryer
  • Set to medium heat or about 80 degrees Fahrenheit
  • Move the hairdryer around the gloss paint layer
  • Turn on the fans in the room
  • Open all doors and windows
  • If possible, take the painted item outside where it will be exposed to sunlight and proper airflow

Now, if you have tried this step and the paint is still not drying, it means that the cause of the sticky gloss paint is the surface. Probably a leak or burst pipe beneath the surface is making the paint wet. This also means that it’s time to try the second method.

The second method involves removing the gloss paint first. Then look for the cause of the sticky gloss paint, and then reapply the paint. Here is a guide:

  • Use a paint scraper to remove the sticky gloss paint
  • Use a clean rag soaked in mineral spirits to wipe the surface
  • Check and fix any leak beneath the surface
  • Apply a water-resistant primer coating or sanding primer and leave to dry
  • Sand the primer coating with fine-grit sandpaper
  • Reapply the gloss paint.

5. Gloss Paint is Smelling Foul

This is a problem that occurs when the gloss paint starts to smell rotten or foul. This happens before, during, and after applying the paint.

Why is Gloss Paint Smelling?

The only reason gloss paint smells foul is because the paint has expired or gone bad. The foul smell is caused by waste being released by paint-eating bacteria inside the expired paint.

How to Fix Smelly Gloss Paint?

The only way to fix smelly gloss paint is to throw the paint out. If it smells foul, don’t even bother using it. If you have applied it, you need to strip it off the surface and toss it out of the house. Then you can use air diffusers to remove the lingering foul smell.

6. There Are Lumps In Gloss Paint

Another common problem with gloss paints is lumps and this usually happens during prep work and before applying the paint. If you open the glossy paint and you see solid particles inside the paint, it means that the paint has gone lumpy. The solid particles are paint particles that have become clogged or packed together.

Why Are There Lumps in Gloss Paint?

Gloss paint gets lumpy for one reason and that is air. If the paint container wasn’t covered or sealed properly, then air can get into the paint and cause it to clog up causing lumps in the paint.

How to Fix Lumpy Gloss Paint?

Luckily, fixing lumpy gloss paint is easy. All you need to do is to add a thinning medium to the gloss paint. The thinning medium will dissolve the lumps and you can easily stir the gloss paint to make it flow well. For gloss paints, the thinning medium to use is mineral spirits.

Here is a guide to do this:

  • Pour the lumpy gloss paint into a clean paint bucket
  • Add mineral spirits to the paint. You are not to use too much mineral spirit as that can easily over-thin the gloss paint.
  • Stir the mixture with a paint mixer or turning stick.
  • Test the mixture before applying it over the intended surface

7. Gloss Paint is Splitting or Cracking

Gloss paint cracking or splitting is another common problem that happens after the gloss paint has dried. This happens when hairline cracks start to appear in the gloss paint causing the glossy layer to split. These cracks become bigger gradually allowing air, dust, and moisture to rush in the gloss paint. If this continues, the paint will begin to fall off.

Why is Gloss Paint Cracking?

The main reason for splitting gloss paint is that the paint dried too fast. In a bit to make gloss paint dry quicker, DIYers often expose the paint to too much heat. Doing so means that the particles in the gloss paint will dry too quickly and will not have enough time to bond well. So after a few days, the particles will begin to crack.

Here are other reasons that can cause gloss paint to crack:


If the temperature is too high, then the glossy layer on the finish can begin to split or break.

The Paint Is Too Light

If the paint coating is too light, then it can split too. This is very common when you over-thin the gloss paint with mineral spirits. If the paint coat is too thin, then it will crack from minimal contact.

How to Fix Cracking Gloss Paint?

Sadly, the only way to fix splitting gloss paint is to remove the paint entirely, apply a coat of sanding sealer or water-based primer and then reapply the gloss paint.

Final Words

In summary, it’s almost impossible not to run into any problem while applying gloss paints due to the nature and texture of the paint.

However, you will find the solution to any problem you encounter while applying gloss paint in the guide above. You should also remember to prep the surface properly before applying the gloss paint to prevent mistakes.


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