How to Solve Common Problems

How to Solve Common Problems

Many interior painting problems can be traced back to a handful of common problems. And when your time, supplies, and budget are in play, you want to get the job done right the first time. So to help things run smoothly, here’s the lowdown on common problems and how to solve them.

Poor Paint Adhesion

When a paint cracks or peels from an interior surface, it’s usually because of one of these causes:

  • Excessive glossiness of the underlying surface.
  • A dirty surface or a surface contaminated with sanding dust.



Water in the substrate behind the paint film is bad news for otherwise good work. Certain materials, such as ceiling tiles, contain water-soluble extractives that leach through the paint, creating dark brown water spots.


  • Identify the source of the moisture – such as a roof leak – and repair it.
  • Apply a stain-blocking primer to keep the water spot from continuing to bleed through. 
    • Note: These primers are available in solvent- and water-based formulations.
  • Paint the surface with an acrylic latex paint.


Picture framing or hat banding is a term for visible lines around the corners and sides of walls. It happens when too much time lapses between cutting borders and rolling the rest of the wall.



Mildew is a mold growth that thrives in warm, moist areas, such as a bathroom. It is usually green or gray in color, and can look like dirt. The challenge is that mildew cannot be removed or killed with just soap and water. And even mildew-resistant coatings won’t get rid of it, they’re designed to stop it from appearing on the surface of the coating. Mildew must be killed before you paint, or it will continue to grow.


  • Scrub the surface with a commercial mildew remover, or a solution of one part liquid chlorine bleach to three parts water.
  • Rinse thoroughly and avoid contact with skin or eyes.
  • Choose a coating with a mildew-resistant finish.

Tip: Use Valspar Signature 100% Acrylic Paint + Primer or Valspar Ultra 100% Acrylic Paint + Primer – they both protect against mildew growth on the dried coating.


Mud cracking appears as tiny hairline cracks in the painted surface, similar to the look of cracked mud in a dry river bed. The problem can occur when applying paint too heavily, or painting when the air or surface temperature is too cold.

The solution depends on the severity of the cracking:


Poor hide can happen because of low paint quality, cheap applicators, or overspreading paint. The downsides are self-explanatory, and since a client settling on the perfect color can take long enough, you shouldn’t take any chances with the end result.


  • Use premium quality paint with high quantities of hiding pigments.
  • Use quality brushes and rollers.
  • Follow label instructions on coverage and adjust for surface porosity – a porous surface will absorb paint at an uneven rate.
  • If changing color dramatically, the job will benefit from a specialty, high-hiding primer.
  • Seal bare wood and drywall with primer before painting.


Surfaces with inconsistent porosity like wood or drywall can throw a wrench into the works, especially when it comes to sheen uniformity. Surfaces like this make primer all the more important, because they seal the surface and create uniform porosity.


High-quality paint is recommended to achieve the best look after primer has been applied.