Painting a room in your house can be a difficult project, especially if you want to apply paint to a unique surface or remove old, cracked paint before rolling on the new. Some of the most frequent questions Pro Referral Experts find themselves answering are paint-related, and they’ve provided some very useful advice. Let’s take a look!

1. How Do I Fix Peeling Paint?

Peeling paint can be a headache. If paint is peeling from your walls, chances are the wall was not properly prepped to receive the paint. One of our Experts, Jim Roe, offers some guidance, “As long as [the loose paint] is lead-free [it] can be scraped from the walls. The rest of it can be scuffed up using 120 grit sandpaper, and feathered out at the edges where the paint has been removed. Once the walls are cleaned of dust, a new coat of primer, followed by a coat or two of finish paint, will have the [walls] looking fresh and new.” Want more expert advice? Read the rest of Jim’s response here.

So there you have it! Peeling paint is most likely the culprit of improper preparation. Just remember: prep, prime, and then paint.

2. How Do I Prep a Unique Surface for Paint? 

Another common issue homeowners face is painting unique surfaces. Before applying a coat of paint to a wall made from unique materials, you should always test the paint on that surface. Here’s some advice about how to paint mahogany by our Expert Lou Franchino, “… I would start by testing the new paint on a fresh piece of mahogany to see if there are any issues. Even if your house has latex paint on it already, tannins from the underlying mahogany siding can leach into the paint over time…. I would also test the paint on something simple like a piece of plywood to make sure the new paint is not the issue.” Read Lou’s entire post here.

If you’re unsure about the surface you’re trying to paint, be sure to test the paint on a small portion of that surface first. Some surfaces, like tile and laminate, may need to be sanded prior to painting. Other surfaces, like vinyl, may expand or contract with changes in the weather. The bottom line? Be sure to research the unique surface you want to paint before you begin.

3. How Do I Fix Cracking Paint?

Another common paint-related problem is cracking paint. Paint will crack when new paint is applied on top of an unsuitable surface. Take a tip from our Expert, Adam Caldwell, “Cracking is often a problem that occurs when incompatible paints are applied over one another (such as painting an oil-based paint over a water-based paint).  Since the bases are dissimilar, the paints cannot adhere to each other very well, and when the weak bond breaks, the top layer of paint cracks.  Another common cause of cracking can be moisture, which usually leads to flaking and peeling as well.”

What can you do if this problem occurs (besides pretending you’re going for the vintage look)? Sanding the old paint off the wall is the obvious answer, but sometimes the solution can be easier to achieve. Here’s how Adam explains it: “It may not be necessary to sand the entire surface back to bare wood or to strip off all the existing paint, but you will need to scrape off any loose paint and sand the edges of the irregular areas to feather them into a smooth surface…. Then, to improve adhesion with the existing finish and the new paint, apply one to two coats of bonding primer like KILZ Adhesion.  This is a great product to use when you aren’t sure what’s already on the surface you need to paint; it is designed to improve adhesion between unlike materials.  Be sure to follow the manufacturer’s recommendations for application and drying times to prevent trapping moisture that can lead to more cracks or bubbling.  With your primer dry, apply two coats of finish paint.” Want the full scoop? Check out the rest of Adam’s response here.

Some of the most common dilemmas of painting your home–solved! Thanks Pro Referral Experts.

Let’s Get Creative!

Now that you’ve got the basics, are you up for a challenge? Pam (pictured below) traveled to Thailand where she took a photo of a mountain range. Using the program Illustrator, she augmented the photo into a grid and then transferred it onto her bedroom wall. Can you accomplish a similar project? Ask our Experts how to create your own mural.

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