Why is my paint coming off in large ribbon like chunks?

What is it?

Paint comes off spontaneously in sheets or ribbons. The peeling could be restricted to only the top coat, or involve subsequent layers of primer and undercoats too.

What are the possible causes?

  • Wood swelling because of seepage, rain, humidity or moisture from uncaulked joints, deteriorating caulk or leaking roof.
  • Excess humidity escaping from inside the home through exterior walls. This is less likely to happen with water-based paints, as they permit water vapour to escape without destroying the paint.
  • Poor surface preparation before painting.
  • Using poor quality paint with less adhesion and flexibility.
  • Applying water-based finishes on very hot, cold or windy days.
  • Applying oil-based finishes on wet or damp surfaces.

How can I fix this problem?

  • Remove all sources of exterior moisture – carry out repairs and maintenance of caulking, roof, gutters etc. Remove moisture-trapping plants and vegetation.
  • If there is moisture indoors, install vents and exhaust fans or dehumidifiers if needed.
  • Scrape or brush away all loose paint. Sand rough surfaces and prime bare wood. Use a high quality water-based finish with high adhesion characteristics. This will also permit water vapour to escape without destroying the surface finish.
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