How To Fix Latex Paint Problems? (Easy Solutions)

DIYers have always struggled with different problems before, during, and after applying latex paint. But not to worry because today, we are going to look at common latex paint problems, why they occur, and how to fix them. So, let’s dive in.

Latex Paint Peeling?

One of the most common latex paint problems is peeling latex paint. This is when the latex paint starts to peel or chip off the surface without any contact. This usually happens after applying the latex paint.

So why does latex paint peel? Let’s find out.

Why Does Latex Paint Peel?

Latex paint will only peel if the surface was poorly prepped before applying the latex paint. If you don’t prep the surface properly, the latex paint will not adhere strongly to the surface and this will cause the latex paint to peel off.

Here are other reasons why your latex paint may be peeling off the surface:

  1. The Surface is Wet

Its generally recommended to only apply latex paint over a dry surface. If you apply latex paint on a wet surface, then the latex paint will peel off the surface because the paint will not stick properly. You should ensure that the surface is fully dry before applying latex paint.

  1. The Surface is Filthy

Another reason for peeling latex paint is filth. If the surface is dirty, the paint coating will not stick to the surface because the dirt will interfere with its bonding. You should always wipe and clean the surface before applying latex paint.

  1. Painting Over Oil-based Paint

A lot of people will tell you that you can apply latex paint over oil-based paint. Well, you can but only if you sand the oil-based paint first. Without sanding, latex paint will never stick properly to oil-based paint. This is because oil-based paints usually have a glossy sheen that repels paints and moisture.

Asides from that, latex paint is water-based and as such, not compatible with oil-based paint. So if you put latex paint directly over oil-based paint, the latex paint will peel off due to poor paint adhesion.

Next, let’s check out how to fix peeling latex paint.

How To Fix Peeling Latex Paint Easily?

The best way to fix peeling latex paint is to scrape off and remove the entire paint. Then properly prep the surface before reapplying the latex paint.

Here is a guide on how to do this:

  • Scrape off all the latex paint from the surface
  • Find out what caused the latex paint to peel either moisture, dirt, or an existing oil-based paint
  • Sand the surface with medium and fine-grit sandpaper to remove dirt and gloss
  • Apply two coats of stain-blocking water-based primer paint and leave to dry
  • Wipe the primer coating when it gets dry to remove dust nibs
  • Reapply the latex paint.

Bubbles Forming On Latex Paint?

Another common problem with latex paints is bubbles. This is when paint bubbles start to form in the latex paint. This usually occurs while applying the latex paint or immediately after applying the paint.

So let’s find out why bubbles form in latex paint?

Why Does Latex Paint Bubble?

Bubbles will form in latex paint if you don’t stir the paint properly. Usually, painters recommend thinning latex paint before applying it. After applying the paint thinner, you’ll need to stir the mixture so it has a uniform appearance, flow, consistency, and color.

If you stir the mixture too quickly or aggressively, air pockets will become trapped in the paint. So when you apply the latex paint, the trapped air pockets will form bubbles.

Here are other reasons for bubbles in latex paint:

  1. Heat

One thing that can cause your latex paint to bubble or blister is heat. If the room temperature is too high, latex paint will gradually form bubbles and tear.

The intense heat almost causes the paint to boil off the surface. Before applying latex paint, you should ensure that the room temperature is not higher than 90 degrees Fahrenheit (or 32 degrees Celsius).

  1. Painting Over a Porous Surface

Another reason for bubbles in latex paint is if you apply latex paint over a porous surface. Porous surfaces are usually riddled with pores.

Inside these pores are tiny air pockets that cause the latex paint to swell into bubbles. Before you put latex paint over a porous surface, you should seal the porous surface with a sanding sealer. You can also spread wood filler over the surface if it’s wooden to cover holes.

  1. Moisture

Moisture on the surface can also cause bubbles. If the surface is wet, the high moisture content will cause the paint to soak and tear in some areas. Gradually, air will rush in these areas causing the latex paint to bubble.

So how do you fix bubbles in latex paint? Let’s find out.

How To Fix Bubbles In Latex Paint Easily?

To prevent bubbles in latex paint, you should first apply a sealer on the surface to cover holes and pores. Then you can apply the latex paint. But if you have already applied the latex paint and there are bubbles in the coating, there are two ways to fix the bubbles.

The first method is a 3-step strategy. First, you need to pop the bubbles with a needle or razor. Then sand the surface smoothly with a fine-grit sandpaper. Finally, you should apply a sealer over the surface before you apply the latex paint.

The second method is a more aggressive one. In this case, you need to remove the entire latex paint coating. Then sand the surface, apply a sealer, and reapply the latex paint.

You should know that the first method is safer on delicate materials including wood. This is because paint removal can be harsh on delicate materials so it’s safer to just seal the existing latex paint and reapply the latex paint.

Latex Paint Smells Like Ammonia?

This is another problem with latex paints. When the paint starts to smell like ammonia, this means that the latex paint has gone bad.

This usually happens with old latex paints and the smell is usually noticed before you even apply the paint. When you open the paint container, you would be greeted by a strong whiff of ammonia smell.

So why does the latex paint smell like ammonia? Let’s find out.

Why Does Latex Paint Smell Like Ammonia?

The main reason your latex paint smells like ammonia or urine is that the paint has gone bad. This happens with old latex paint. When the latex paint has spent over 3 years in storage, paint-eating bacteria will begin to eat the paint and grow in the paint container.

As the bacteria eat and grow in the can, they release hydrogen sulfide gas which builds up in the can for several months till you open the paint can. This is the reason for the ammonia smell. If you don’t open the can, the can will get puffed or swollen.

So how do you fix ammonia-smelling latex paint? Let’s find out.

How To Stop Latex Paint From Smelling Like Ammonia Easily

If you have applied the latex paint and then you notice the ammonia smell, you can get rid of the smell by using air diffusers, air fresheners, perfume oils, or air purifiers.

All of these will produce fragrant scents that will cover the ammonia smell. You can also put vinegar, baking soda, or onions in the corners of the room to absorb the ammonia smell.

Latex Paint is Sticky?

This is literally a sticky situation. If the latex is sticky or tacky after applying it, this isn’t a problem as the paint is still wet and will turn smooth when it dries. But if the latex paint remains sticky for hours or days after applying it, that is an issue.

So why does this happen? Let’s find out.

Why Does Latex Paint Stay Sticky?

Latex paint stays sticky because the paint has not dried properly. Usually, the culprit for this is a damp surface. If the surface is wet, then the latex paint will not dry properly because of the moisture.

Here are other reasons for sticky latex paint:

  1. Painting in Cold Temperature

Usually, you are to apply latex paint only when the room or weather temperature is above 50 degrees Fahrenheit (or 10 degrees Celsius). If you apply latex paint in temperatures lower than this, the latex paint will not dry properly because the temperature is too cold.

With the cold temperature comes an increase in humidity (the moisture level in the air). So there is no way the latex paint will dry well. Instead, it will remain a sticky mess.

  1. Painting on a Damp Surface

Applying latex paint on a wet surface gives the same results as painting in cold temperatures. The moisture in the surface will prevent the latex paint from drying properly and it will turn sticky too.

  1. You Applied Another Coat Too Soon

If you apply the second coat too soon, the first coat will not dry properly. This means you’ll be applying the second coat on a wet existing coat. This can cause the paint not to dry and remain sticky

  1. You Laid It on Too Thick

Latex paint is naturally thick so if you apply thick coats, the paint will take hours to dry and will remain sticky till it does. In this case, the paint will eventually dry. It will just take longer than usual. So how do you fix sticky polyurethane? Let’s find out.

How To Fix Sticky Latex Paint?

There are two ways to fix sticky latex paint but the method to use depends on why the paint is sticky.

If the paint is sticky because it was applied in a moist or cold environment, you can fix the sticky latex paint by making the latex paint dry faster. To do this, you need to increase the heat around the latex paint coating and you need to reduce the moisture level in the atmosphere.

Here is a guide on how to do this:

  • Turn on the heater or radiator if you have one installed
  • Increase the room temperature using the thermostat
  • Plug-in and move a hairdryer around the latex paint coating every 15 minutes
  • Turn on the dehumidifier to reduce the moisture in the air
  • If you can, move the latex-painted surface outside when the sun is out.

The steps above will make the latex paint dry faster but the guide only works for latex paint that is applied in a cold environment.

For latex paint that stays sticky because the surface is wet, the only thing to do is to remove the latex paint coating and reapply it.

Here is a guide on how to do this:

  • Remove the latex paint
  • Allow the surface to dry properly. If it’s being affected by a leak, find and fix the leak
  • When dry, apply a sanding sealer or shellac-based stain-blocking primer on the surface
  • Sand the sealer with fine-grit sandpaper when it gets dry
  • Re-apply thin coats of the latex paint and leave for 1 hour to dry

As a pro tip, always leave enough time between coats of polyurethane.

Latex Paint is Cracking?

Cracking latex paint is a problem. This is when the paint starts to split or develop hairline cracks. These cracks increase and become bigger causing parts of the latex paint to fall gradually.

So why does this happen? Let’s find out.

Why Does Latex Paint Crack or Split?

The main reason for cracking latex paint is that the paint dried too quickly. When the latex paint dries too quickly, the paint particles will not have enough time to bond quickly. So after a while, the particles start to separate by hairline cracks or tiny splits. The splits allow dry air to get underneath the latex paint causing the cracks to get larger and eventually causing the latex paint to fall off.

Here are other reasons for cracking latex paint:

  1. Over-thinning the Latex Paint

When you over-thin latex paint, the coat becomes very light and will crack easily with minimal contact.

  1. Heat

Heat also causes latex paint to crack. If the temperature is above 100 degrees Fahrenheit, the latex paint will dry too quickly. This wouldn’t give enough time for the paint particles to bond. Eventually, the paint will begin to split and fall off. If heat is the cause, you will notice the latex paint turning brown or dark.

  1. Pest Activity on the surface

Pest activity will also cause your paint to crack. For instance, if you apply latex paint over insect-infested wood, the burrowing and movement of the insects in the wood will cause large cracks in the latex paint.

How To Fix Cracking Latex Paint Easily

Unfortunately, the best way to fix cracking latex paint is to remove the paint, apply a sealer coating or water-based primer and reapply the latex paint.

Final Words

In summary, latex paint problems are usually caused by poor prep work and inadequate preparation. Also, if you apply the paint in extreme temperatures, there is bound to be a problem.

You should remember that you can fix these problems by following the guide above. Finally, if the latex paint smells bad or the can looks puffed, you shouldn’t use the paint.

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