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3 DIY House Painting Fails: How To Avoid Them

When it comes time for a fresh coat of paint, many homeowners choose to do the job themselves. Unfortunately, this often leads to disastrous results.

Here at Triangle Pro Painting, we’ve seen our fair share of DIY house painting fails. In this blog post, we’ll disclose some of the most common mistakes people make when painting their homes and offer tips on avoiding them.

Read on and learn how to protect your home from costly painting failures!

No. 1: Blistering Paint

This unsavory title refers to the formation of bubbles in the paint film. Blistering commonly occurs when the paint is applied to a surface that’s too hot or humid or has poor ventilation.

Pop the blisters with a sharp knife and smooth the area with a brush if you notice any blistering while the paint is still wet. If the blisters have already dried, you’ll need to scrape off the paint and repaint the area.

To avoid blistering, always make sure that the surface is clean and dry before painting and high-quality latex paint. Be sure to follow all of the manufacturer’s instructions when using any paint.

No. 2: Alligatoring and Checking

Another of those fearsome-sounding painting fails, alligatoring and checking are the results of the following:

  • Paint drying over a still-damp primer or base coat.
  • The second coat of paint layered over an incompatible paint.
  • Oil-based paint that aged and lost its elasticity.

Alligatoring appears like a cracked pattern with deep relief, mirroring an alligator’s scaly skin. Checking is similar but with shallower fissures and more evenly-spaced cracks.

You can resolve these issues by removing all the old paint and replacing it with a fresh layer of high-quality latex paint. If you’re not confident in your ability to do this, hire a professional painter to take care of it for you.

No. 3: Chalking

While this process is typical for paints, like a self-cleaning method after exposure to sun and rain, excessive chalking is far from ideal. Over-the-top chalking is from paint pigment released by the paint binders when broken down by exposure to the elements – especially in dry arid climates with little to no rain. If chalking gets too severe, it could run off and stain the surrounding construction.

The reason behind this paint failure is not enough binders to keep the pigment together, which is usually due to using a low-quality paint or primer. The paint could be cheap, using excessive amounts of pigment extender, or the chalking could result from application over low-quality factory-finished aluminum siding.

Either way, chalking requires removal before repainting. A power washer or cleaning solution with trisodium phosphate should do the trick, followed by high-quality latex paint. The masonry needs a professional cleaning contractor for chalking stains on brick areas.


Those were only 3 of the many possible painting fails in a DIY painting job. To avoid costly mistakes, it’s best to consult with professionals like Triangle Pro Painting.

From start to finish, we know all the ins and outs of exterior house painting in Raleigh, NC! Get a free estimate!


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