May 17, 2024 5 min read

From priming your walls to covering each square foot with a new color, painting a property interior is no small feat. It's why spotting signs of peeling paint soon after you've completed the task is so frustrating!

Our guide will explore some common reasons why paint peels off interior surfaces. In addition, we'll outline how to fix peeling paint on walls and share some tips to prevent similar occurrences in the future. 

Why Is My Paint Peeling Off the Wall?

There are several reasons why paint peels off walls — understanding the cause behind flaking paint will help you resolve the issue more effectively. Here's an overview of the factors that contribute to peeling paint:

1. Hot and Dry Climates

While most areas in the United States exhibit comfortable temperatures, some regions are notably warmer. High temperatures and a lack of moisture in the air have an adverse effect on paint.

If a room receives excessive sunlight, the evaporation rate is likely to increase significantly and cause the paint to flake. Oil-based paints are particularly susceptible to sunlight, but latex and elastomeric paints will also weaken in hot conditions. 

2. Excessive Paint Layers 

It's good practice to do a second coat on interior walls, but the first layer must be sufficiently dry before you add any more paint. Failing to observe the drying process or making each coat too thick will result in peeling paint. 

Similarly, the combination of different paint variants — such as latex and oil-based paint — will deliver poor results. As the properties of these paint types are unique, they do not blend well when mixed together. 

3. Lack of Preparation

It's no secret that preparing interior walls takes time. Skipping this step may require you to redo the project, occupying significant time in the long run. Here are three things to do during preparation: 

  • Sand your walls to remove uneven surfaces. 
  • Wipe down the walls with a soft cloth, ensuring they are free of dust and grime.  
  • Prime surfaces with a high-quality interior primer. 

4. Old or Poor-Quality Paint 

Many things get better with age, but paint is not one of them. Over time, the substances in paint begin to separate and may even become a breeding ground for mildew. Before painting walls with the paint left over from your last home renovation project, be sure to check the expiry date. 

Another reason behind peeling is poor-quality paint. Choosing paint from reputable brands ensures premium pigments and higher volumes of resin, allowing for a smoother finish. 

5. High Moisture Levels

When water gets in between the paint and the wall surface, it weakens the adhesion. Periods of high humidity or a concealed leaking pipe will likely result in paint peeling off the walls like rubber. 

If you work in an area that experiences high humidity, advise clients to install humidifiers or optimize their heating to ensure interior walls remain at their best. You can also exercise these precautions in your own home.

How to Fix Peeling Paint

Peeling paint detracts from the overall aesthetic of a room. As such, it's best to fix it as quickly as possible. Follow our step-by-step process to repair peeling paint on walls effectively:

1. Prepare the Area 

Before you begin the painting process, take the time to remove furniture, rugs and other decor elements. If items are too big or heavy to move, you can always cover them with a drop cloth. It's also a good idea to protect your floor with plastic sheeting and use painter's tape to keep skirting boards paint-free.

In addition to preparing the room, you will need to kit yourself out appropriately. Use safety glasses, gloves and a mask to prevent exposing yourself to paint fumes. 

2. Scrape Off Loose Paint

The new layer of paint will bond best on a smooth surface. Use a scraper to remove any loose paint, applying gentle pressure to avoid damaging the bottom layer.

Once you've completed this process, survey the wall and identify any holes or cracks. Use a putty knife to fill these blemishes with filler and restore the wall's surface. 

3. Sand Rough Surfaces

While a paint scraper will remove most loose paint, there will likely be some rough surfaces that need a second look. Use fine-grit sandpaper to prepare the walls and remove any rough edges that will prevent a smooth finish. Use a broom or vacuum to get rid of excess dust, and wipe down the walls with a mild cleaner.

4. Coat Your Walls With Primer 

When your walls are clean and dry, apply a quality primer suited to interior projects. By priming your walls, you ensure a smoother surface paint application while preventing stains from showing through the paint. 

If you suspect high levels of moisture caused your peeling paint, you may want to use a sealer for the specific surface, too. 

5. Repaint the Walls

The final step is to coat your walls with paint that matches the existing color and brand. A roller will help you cover large areas quickly while maintaining even results. You can use a small paintbrush to apply the finishing touches around windows and near skirting boards.

If there is no record of the current wall paint, you can leverage innovative paint apps to help you determine the shade. The Benjamin Moore Color Reader is a dependable choice for contractors. 

5 Tips to Prevent Paint Chipping in the Future 

While it's certainly possible to fix peeling paint on interior walls, there are some measures you can take to keep it from happening in the first place. Here are five quick tips to remember: 

  1. Identify the problem. Knowing the cause of your peeling paint helps you address the issue correctly and prevent it from reoccurring. Use our list of common reasons to narrow down why your paint is peeling. 
  2. Check the weather. Painting on hot, breezy days will accelerate the drying process, causing your paint to peel. Choose a mild day with minimal wind to tackle your repainting project. 
  3. Use quality products. From primers to paint to brushes, quality painting tools and products deliver long-lasting results. 
  4. Inspect walls periodically. Periodically check for signs of peeling paint. Spotting flakey patches early on can prevent the problem from becoming worse. 
  5. Ventilate areas. Frequently opening windows and doors helps circulate air and prevent moisture buildup. If this isn't an option, consider using a humidifier. 

Aboff's Has What You Need to Repair Your Peeling Paint

Since 1929, Aboff's Paints has delighted homeowners and contractors with its superior painting products and unmatched service. As the number one Benjamin Moore Retailer on Long Island, we make it easier to achieve long-lasting results in your home or building renovation project. 

Now that you know how to stop paint from peeling on walls, you can shop for the products you need online and make use of our curbside pickup! From high-performing primers to scrapers and rollers, we have everything you need to complete your repainting project. Shop in-store at one of our 32 Long Island locations or get in touch with our team today!


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