Why Does Paint Peel  – Most Common Reasons

Peeling paint has been an issue for almost every business owner sooner or later. For commercial properties that were built before 1978, peeling indoor paint poses an even bigger concern, because of the potential exposure to lead and the likelihood of lead poisoning.

The signs of peeling paint are hard to miss: cracks, holes in the surface, or even large strips of paint that simply come off on their own. There are many different reasons why interior paint in commercial buildings can start peeling. PPD Painting experts have extensive experience in painting commercial properties and will be more than happy to share some of the most common reasons for peeling paint with you.

Reasons for Wall & Ceiling Paint Peeling After Painting

Probably the most annoying sight to behold – a peeling paint coming down from a freshly painted ceiling. There are actually quite a few reasons why your ceiling paint might start to peel right after the project is done, and here are the few main ones.

Calcimine Paint

If the ceiling of your building is peeling, then it may have originally been painted with calcimine, sometimes called Kal-Kote. Unfortunately, the only paint that is compatible with painting over old calcimine is new calcimine. Otherwise, the paint will not stick and will begin to flake or peel.

Water Damage

If your commercial space recently suffered some water damage, or there is a leak or high humidity in the office, makes the paint peel. Paint does not adhere well to wet or damp surfaces. Also, when plasterboard becomes wet and then dries, after a few rounds of this, it begins to rot and turn to powder. Paint will not adhere to this, either.

Using Too Many Layers of Paint

Sometimes a bad paint job is a culprit of peeling paint on interior walls. One bad habit some painters have is using too much paint so that the paint is layered on too thickly. This is especially bad for ceilings since the weight coupled with gravity speeds up the paint deterioration process.

High Humidity Environment

High humidity in poorly ventilated commercial buildings can cause moisture build-ups in the walls, leading to the blistering of paint. It results in dampness, which stimulates the growth of mildew and mold over time.

Improper Painting Surface Preparation

The painting surface needs to be thoroughly prepared before the paint job is initiated. When the paint is applied on an unprimed or uneven surface, it will start blistering and peeling. Proper prep work is a must if you want to avoid this.

Painting Over Dirty Surfaces

Paint doesn’t adhere to a dirty surface. Dust, dirt, oil, or grease prevent the paint from being applied properly. Applying paint to dirty surfaces will cause bubbling, which will result in peeling paint on interior walls or ceilings.

High Temperatures

High temperatures can weaken the adhesive properties of paint. Exposure to high temperatures can also cause the paint to dry faster than intended, preventing the layers from forming a strong bond.

High Exposure to Sunlight

Exposure to intense sunlight makes oil-based paints vulnerable to cracking. Elastic and latex paints tend to contract and expand when exposed to direct sunlight, which weakens their adhesive bonds.

Paint Used is Incompatible With the Surface

Some surfaces simply aren’t compatible with a certain paint type.

  • Some synthetic polymer materials can prevent the paint from having full adhesion.
  • Oil-based paints are affected by galvanized steel and concrete.
  • Wood surfaces can produce natural oils which can prevent paint adhesion.
  • Smooth surfaces are unable to form a mechanical adhesion with some paints, so any layers applied to them could peel off immediately.

For this reason, it is extremely important to have experienced painters working on your commercial painting project in order to avoid any unpleasant situations.

Using Several Different Coats on the Same Surface

Different types of paint do not bond well. Applying different paint types together on the same surface can result in paint peeling. Oil-based paints do not adhere to latex-based paints and vice versa. To avoid peeling paint, make sure to always use the same paint type.

Painting Using Low-quality Paint Brands

Some of the low-quality paint brands simply lack flexibility and adhesion. They do not dry or stick properly, and they will start peeling after a short period of time. You always want to choose a paint with a lot of pigment, resin, and fewer solvents.

Incorrect Paint or Primer

Different types of paint are designed for different types of surfaces. There are paints that have been designed for wooden, plastic, metallic, or concrete surfaces. There are also different types of primers available for each of these types of surfaces. Specific primers are designed to be used with different kinds of paints, so using the wrong primer can also lead to peeling.

Using Expired Paint

Similar to any other chemical product, paint tends to expire after a certain period of time. Some paints separate, some grow mold or mildew, while others freeze.

How to Tell If Paint Is Bad?

Oil paint can last up to 20 years, and water-based paints can last up to 15 years. Nevertheless your can of paint can still go bad due to multiple reasons. And if you want to check and make sure that your paint is still good for use, you can do so by following the short simple process.

  • Check the type of paint you’re using and check the label for expiration date
  • Check the surface of the paint – if there is a film-like substance on the surface you can probably break it and still get the paint underneath. However, if your paint remains open for a long time, or exposed to heat, the upper layer can expand and damage the paint.
  • Check of bad smells – bad paint develops bacteria that produces a very characteristic smell. If you’ve ever smelled rotten eggs, that’s pretty much a smell you’ll feel in case that your can of paint is no longer good for use.
  • Check the mixture. Sometimes, when not stored properly, paint can look rather bad and almost hard on touch. Stir it up for about 5 minutes and if the mixture is coming back together – your paint is still good for use.

Exposure to Corrosive Substances

Corrosive substances usually contain strong acid or base. If a corrosive substance happens to come in contact with paint, it can cause blistering, cracking, and peeling of paint.

Extreme Dryness of the Paint Surface

Extreme dryness can prevent the formation of strong adhesive bonds that allow the innermost coating of paint to stick to the surface properly. Similarly to painting highly humid surfaces, extreme dryness causes any newly applied coats of paint to peel.

Improper Application Methods

Not using the correct tools or applying a coat of paint that is too thin will prevent the formation of strong cohesive bonds that hold paint molecules together. Hiring experienced commercial painters will save you a lot of time and resources, as you can be certain that this will not happen.

Coat of Paint is Too Old

Surfaces need to be repainted from time to time to keep the commercial buildings looking neat and clean. The cohesive bonds of paint become stronger than the adhesive bonds over time. This causes the paint layers to detach from the painted surface. For this reason, interior painting maintenance is necessary for any commercial building.

Fixing Issues Related to Peeling Paint

The process of fixing peeling paint is a straightforward sequence of steps that can help you resolve this issue for good. If executed properly, and all the external factors are under control, you can rest assured that your ceiling or wall paint will stay intact after application.

How to Fix a Peeling Ceiling?

The easy answer would be – leave it to the pros! Just call PPD and get a free quote for your project. But if you’re looking for the exact process, here are the steps our team goes through when fixing a peeling ceiling:

  • Scrape off all peeling paint
  • Patch the area and leave it to dry
  • Apply a coat of an oil-based primer
  • Apply a fat coat of acrylic paint

How to Fix Paint That is Peeling from Drywall?

The process to fixing drywall paint peeling is fairly similar.

  • Scrape off all peeling paint
  • Sand the wall to make it even
  • Use joint compound to patch any damage
  • Sand the surface once again
  • Apply a coat of primer
  • Apply 2 coats of colored paint

How to Keep Paint from Chipping?

There are multiple ways to keep your paint from chipping. Our professional team of painters will usually recommend the best solutions based on the surface, but the basis is the same – a protective coat of Protect, polyurethane or poly-acrylic will do the trick, but you can also use a great variety of different waxes, pastes and other materials to make sure you have a long-lasting surface that will stay intact for good.

Cracking and peeling paint detracts from the beauty of the interior space of commercial properties. What’s worse is having just paid to have your commercial space beautified with that new coat of paint, but end up being disappointed. Unfortunately, most business owners experienced this issue sooner or later.

The majority of the causes of peeling paint can be prevented if you choose a trusted commercial painting company. To ensure you get the paint job done right the first time, or to correct the error of a bad paint job in your commercial building, contact PPD Painting and request an estimate for your project!

About The Author

Aaron Moore President PPD Painting
Aaron Moore

Aaron Moore is at the forefront of PPD Painting, bringing a fresh perspective and a commitment to excellence in the painting industry. With a keen eye for detail and a passion for transforming spaces, Aaron has led PPD Painting to become a trusted name in commercial and residential painting services. His approach is centered around quality, customer satisfaction, and the use of environmentally friendly paints and processes. PPD Painting is committed to not just meeting, but exceeding client expectations, offering guidance on color selection, maintenance, and the latest trends in paint technology and application.

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