Causes of Exterior Paint Failure and How to Fix Them

Exterior paint can face various issues over time, leading to unsightly and costly problems. From peeling and cracking to fading and blistering, these paint failures can affect the appearance and protection of your home. In this article, we will talk about the common causes of paint failure and provide solutions to address these issues effectively.

Common Causes of Exterior Paint Failure

Exterior paint can fail for various reasons, damaging your home’s appearance. Understanding these common causes can help you recognize potential problems.

Moisture Problems

Moisture can penetrate exterior surfaces, leading to issues with paint adhesion. Common sources of moisture include rain, humidity, and leaks. When water gets behind the paint, it can cause the paint to blister and peel.

Signs of moisture-related paint failure include blistering, peeling, and bubbling. These problems indicate that moisture has compromised the paint’s ability to stick to the surface properly.

Poor Surface Preparation

Proper surface preparation is crucial before painting. Inadequate cleaning, sanding, or priming can cause adhesion problems. Dirt, grease, and old paint must be removed to create a clean surface for the new paint.

Poor preparation can lead to paint peeling, cracking, and bubbling. These issues occur because the paint cannot bond correctly with the underlying surface.

Inferior Quality Paint

High-quality paints and low-quality paints differ significantly in performance and longevity. High-quality paints offer better coverage and are more resistant to weather and wear.

Using cheap or inappropriate paint can lead to quicker deterioration. Inferior quality paint is more likely to peel, fade, and fail over time.

Improper Application

Common mistakes during the painting process can cause paint failure. Applying paint in unsuitable weather conditions, such as extreme heat or cold, affects how the paint cures and adheres.

Incorrect application methods, like using the wrong number of coats or not allowing sufficient drying time, can result in peeling and uneven coverage. These errors compromise the paint’s durability and appearance.

UV Radiation and Sun Exposure

UV rays from the sun degrade paint over time, causing it to fade and chalk. Sun exposure breaks down the paint’s binders, leading to a powdery surface that easily rubs off.

Areas most susceptible to sun exposure, such as south-facing walls, often show signs of fading and chalking. These issues result from prolonged exposure to direct sunlight.

Temperature Extremes and Weather Conditions

Extreme temperatures cause paint to expand and contract, leading to cracking and peeling. Fluctuating temperatures and weather cycles stress the paint, causing it to lose its elasticity.

Signs of temperature-related paint failure include cracking and splitting. These problems occur because the paint cannot withstand the constant changes in temperature and weather conditions.

Solutions and Preventative Measures

Peeling paint on gray concrete wall.

Addressing common issues and following best practices is important to maintaining your home’s exterior and preventing paint failure. Below are effective solutions and preventative measures.

Addressing Moisture Issues

Identifying and fixing moisture problems is crucial. Check for leaks in your roof, gutters, and walls. Repair any damage to prevent water from seeping in.

Ensure proper drainage around your home. Waterproofing measures, such as sealing cracks and using moisture barriers, can help keep your exterior dry and protected.

Ensuring Proper Surface Preparation

Proper surface preparation is key to a successful paint job. Start by thoroughly cleaning the surface to remove dirt, grease, and old paint. Sand the surface to create a smooth base for the new paint.

Priming is essential for good adhesion. Choose a primer that matches your paint type. Repair any damaged areas before applying primer to ensure a flawless finish.

Choosing the Right Paint

Selecting high-quality exterior paint is important for durability. Look for paints that are specifically formulated for exterior use. Consider factors like climate and surface material when choosing paint.

Opt for trusted brands and product lines known for their longevity and performance. High-quality paint can withstand harsh weather conditions and provide long-lasting protection.

Correct Painting Techniques

Using the right painting techniques can prevent paint failure. Apply paint in suitable weather conditions, avoiding extreme heat or cold. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for the best results.

Apply multiple coats as needed, allowing adequate drying time between each coat. Proper technique ensures even coverage and a durable finish.

Protecting Paint from Sun Damage

UV-resistant paints and finishes can protect your exterior from sun damage. These products are designed to withstand prolonged sun exposure and reduce fading and chalking.

Strategic placement of shade, such as awnings or trees, can also protect your painted surfaces. Regular maintenance, including cleaning and touch-ups, can prolong the life of your paint.

Handling Temperature Extremes

Choose paints that are formulated for extreme weather conditions. These paints are more flexible and can expand and contract with temperature changes.

Apply paint during moderate temperatures to avoid issues. Regular inspections and touch-ups can help identify and address any damage caused by temperature fluctuations.

Finding the Best Professionals to Help You with Exterior Paint Failure

builder facade painter at work

If you don’t have the skills or knowledge to deal with exterior paint failure, then hiring the right professionals can be the best solution. Here are several tips to help you find the best experts for your project.

  • Check Credentials: Ensure the professionals are licensed and insured. This provides protection and guarantees they meet industry standards.
  • Read Reviews: Look for online reviews and testimonials from past clients. Positive feedback can indicate reliable and high-quality service.
  • Ask for References: Request references from the contractor. Speaking with previous clients can give you insight into their work quality and professionalism.
  • Evaluate Experience: Choose professionals with extensive experience in exterior painting. Experienced painters are more likely to handle challenges effectively.
  • Get Multiple Quotes: Obtain quotes from several contractors. This allows you to compare prices and services to find the best value for your budget.
  • Inspect Previous Work: Ask to see examples of their past projects. This helps you assess their skill level and the quality of their work.
  • Discuss Materials: Ensure they use high-quality paints and materials. The right products can enhance the durability and appearance of your paint job.
  • Check for Guarantees: Inquire about warranties or guarantees on their work. A guarantee shows confidence in their service and offers peace of mind.
  • Communication: Choose a contractor who communicates clearly and promptly. Good communication is key to a smooth and successful project.
  • Written Contract: Always get a detailed, written contract. This should outline the scope of work, materials, costs, and timelines to avoid misunderstandings.
  • Research Their Specialty: Make sure the contractor specializes in exterior painting. Specialists are more likely to have the skills and knowledge needed for outdoor projects.
  • Ask About Their Process: Understand their painting process from preparation to cleanup. A detailed explanation can give you confidence in their methods.


Understanding the causes of exterior paint failure can help you maintain your home’s appearance and avoid costly repairs. From moisture problems to poor surface preparation, there are several factors to consider. 

By choosing high-quality paint and using proper techniques, you can achieve a durable and attractive finish. Regular maintenance and addressing issues promptly will keep your exterior looking its best.

For professional help with exterior paint issues, contact Custom Painting, Inc. Call us at 925-866-9610 or fill out a Contact Form for more information.