Causes, Effects and Solutions to Peeling Paint And Knowing When To Act

Peeling paint is a pervasive problem that plagues homeowners, often causing frustration and aesthetic deterioration in their living spaces. Whether it's the interior walls of your bedroom, the bathroom, or the exterior surfaces like timber decks and trimmings, peeling paint can occur for various reasons and at different times. In this article, we will delve into the causes of peeling paint, its effects on your home, and effective solutions to rectify and prevent this issue.

Understanding Peeling Paint

Peeling paint, in simple terms, refers to the detachment of paint from a surface, rendering it non-adhesive. You've likely encountered this phenomenon on old timber weatherboards where the paint has endured years of harsh weather conditions, gradually stripping away, leaving the surface exposed and vulnerable. However, peeling paint can also manifest in interior spaces over a shorter time frame and due to different factors. It’s especially a problem when trying to sell your home.

Why Does Peeling Paint Happen?

  • Preparation is Key - One of the fundamental factors leading to peeling paint is inadequate surface preparation. Regardless of your painting skills, if the surface is not properly prepared, the paint won't adhere well, resulting in blistering and flaking shortly after application.
  • Water - Water is a common culprit behind peeling paint, especially in rooms where moisture is prevalent, such as bathrooms and kitchens. Water can infiltrate the paint layers, causing them to separate from the surface, ultimately resulting in cracking and peeling. Using waterproof paint in such areas can be a wise choice.
  • Expired Paint - Paint, like many other products, has a shelf life. Unopened water-based latex and acrylic paint can last up to 10 years, while opened, properly stored paint should be used within two years. Applying expired paint can lead to thin layers that struggle to adhere to surfaces, resulting in chipping and peeling. Imperial Painting only uses high-quality Haymes paints for the best results.
  • High Temperatures - Prolonged exposure to high temperatures, such as direct sunlight, can cause paint to crack. The constant expansion and contraction under extreme temperatures can weaken the bond between the paint and the surface, leading to cracks. This is common in Australia with any externally painted area due to our harsh climate.
  • Moisture and Condensation - Poor ventilation in areas like bathrooms can lead to the buildup of condensation and moisture on walls and ceilings. This excess moisture can facilitate the growth of mould and disrupt the paint layers, causing them to bulge and eventually peel. Mainly this happens on the interior but anywhere where excess water is present.
  • Low-Quality Paint - Using low-quality paint not only affects the appearance but also the longevity of your paint job. Low-quality paints lack the necessary adhesive properties to form a strong bond with surfaces, making them prone to peeling and flaking. Here at Imperial Painting we only use high-quality Haymes paints for the best possible results.
  • Poor Application - Incorrect or subpar application of paint can result in weak adhesion to the surface. This can occur due to the use of low-quality brushes or uneven paint spreading, leading to a higher likelihood of paint peeling.
  • Wrong Paint or Primer - Using the wrong type of paint or primer for a particular surface is a common mistake, especially for inexperienced painters. Some paints are formulated for specific surfaces, and using the wrong type can hinder proper adhesion. Similarly, using the incorrect primer can also contribute to peeling.
  • Different Paint Layers - Certain paint types, like oil-based and water-based paints, do not mix well when applied over each other. This poor compatibility can lead to peeling as the layers fail to adhere adequately.

How to Stop Peeling Paint?

Addressing peeling paint requires a systematic approach to ensure a long-lasting solution. Here are the steps to follow:

  • Preparation - Safety should be a priority. Equip yourself with safety glasses, a mask, and gloves, especially when dealing with lead-based paint, which is hazardous. Remove furniture and tape electrical wires to create a safe working space, and use a drop sheet to catch any loose paint debris.
  • Remove Peeling Paint - Use a wire brush, paint scraper, or putty knife to remove loose paint thoroughly. This step is crucial to prevent the problem from recurring.
  • Repair -  After removing loose paint, the surface may have holes and cracks that need repair. Apply a patching compound carefully to ensure full coverage, and let it dry as per the manufacturer's instructions.
  • Sand - Once the compound has dried, sand the area to create a smooth surface for painting. A fine-grit sandpaper is ideal for achieving a polished finish.
  • Clean - After sanding, thoroughly clean the area to remove dust and debris. A slightly damp cloth can help collect any remaining dirt. Ensure the area is completely dry before proceeding to paint.
  • Prime and Paint - Apply a primer to create a strong base for the paint to adhere to. Once the primer has dried, apply your paint evenly, ensuring full coverage. Consider applying a second coat for added durability.

If you're dealing with peeling paint but lack the time or expertise to address it yourself, consider hiring a professional painting service. Experts like Imperial Painting in Mildura offer professional solutions to peeling paint, flaking ceilings, and cracking paint walls at competitive prices, leaving you with a renewed and aesthetically pleasing living space.


Peeling paint is a common issue with various underlying causes. By understanding these causes and following the proper steps to address and prevent peeling, you can maintain the beauty and longevity of your home's interior and exterior paintwork. Whether you tackle the problem yourself or enlist the help of professionals, a well-executed paint job will enhance the appearance and value of your home.

Why Choose Imperial Painting?

  • Over 30+ Years Experience in the Industry
  • Quality Workmanship
  • Proudly Owner Operated
  • Modern Company With Traditional Values
  • Excellent Reviews
  • Free, On-Premises Quotes
  • Great Range of Services
  • Haymes Quality Paints
  • Attention to Detail

Whatever your painting needs in Mildura and the surrounding areas, contact Imperial Painters for a perfect finish every time.