May 6

Commercial Paint Problems and How to Prevent Them

Clients, employees, and the general public will likely judge your business by the appearance of your building. Good curb appeal conveys that a business is flourishing and will attract more customers. Your business needs an up-to-date paint job to maintain a clean, professional image, especially if you rely on foot traffic for customers.

Does your building have fading, peeling, or cracking paint? It could be something painting professionals refer to as “paint failure.” Paint failure is when paint peels, blisters, or fades prematurely. The majority of these problems are due to insufficient or improper surface preparation.

Here are a few of the most common commercial paint problems and how to prevent them.

1. Fading 

Faded paint gives an exterior a tired or dull appearance. Over time, ultraviolet light (UV) rays can break down the paint’s pigment leading to faded or dull appearance. Some colors are more susceptible to fading, including bright reds, yellows, and medium-to-deep blues. Applying high-quality primer and fade-resistant paint reduces the chance of fading.

commercial paint problems

2. Blistering or Peeling 

Poor adhesion can result in sections of paint peeling off walls. Peeling often occurs when multiple layers of paint are applied. It can also be caused by moisture issues or poor-quality paint. Blistering occurs when excess moisture gets underneath the paint surface. It’s essential to find out what’s causing the problem and resolve it. Repainting will be pointless until you’re sure the surface will remain dry. Hidden water leaks or improper ventilation are two common causes of dampness in commercial properties.

3. Chalking

Chalking, a powder that forms on the surface of paint as it ages, is normal. As exterior paint ages and wears, a small amount of chalking can be expected. This normal process speeds up when low-quality products are used. A high degree of chalking indicates that the paint is no longer an effective barrier between the underlying surface and the elements. Heavy chalking can cause the color of the paint to fade and age before its time. Before applying a special bonding primer, thoroughly cleaning and removing the chalky residue should be part of any high-quality paint job.

commercial paint problems

4. Alligatoring

Alligatoring is patterned cracking that resembles the scales on an alligator. These paint failures are usually the result of having a very hard coating applied over a softer coating. When the softer undercoat expands and contracts with temperature changes, the top layer, which is not as flexible, will begin to crack. Alligatoring is usually the result of insufficient surface preparation when applying a high-gloss coating.

5. Mold or Mildew Growth

If a section of your building receives substantial shade throughout the day, it’s a prime candidate for mold and mildew growth. Shady areas are often damp and provide an ideal environment for fungal growth to develop. If mold or mildew is allowed to grow, it can permanently stain exterior paint. A paint job applied over mildew will not solve the problem. Mildew will grow right back through a new coat of paint. Special fungicides can be added to paint to retard or prohibit mildew growth. 

Common Causes of Paint Failure

Water/Humidity: The leading cause of paint failure is moisture. Paint that’s applied to a damp surface or paint exposed to high humidity can begin to peel, crack or blister. Hidden leaks, clogged gutters, and vapor transfer are common causes of excessive moisture.

Low-Quality Products: Cheaper paint products are less durable and have shorter lifespans than high-quality options. They are also harder to apply, more difficult to maintain, and fade quicker. Cheaper products end up costing property owners more in the low run.

Lack of Surface Preparation: When the surface is dirty or hasn’t been primed properly, it’s prone to poor adhesion, which leads to cracking, flaking, and peeling. Good surface cleaning removes all forms of contamination, including dust, dirt, grease, oil, mildew, and other stains. A high-quality primer should be applied to ensure stains don’t bleed through.

Poor Application Techniques: Applying paint too thickly or thinly creates problems. Painting in unsuitable environmental conditions (especially temperature and humidity levels) is another common cause of premature paint failure. Using the wrong products or application techniques for a particular surface can also cause significant problems.

Restoring Your Commercial Paint

Trying to paint over peeling, cracking, or other paint issues won’t solve the problem. When it’s time to repaint your commercial property, it’s best to hire a professional contractor specializing in industrial and commercial painting projects. They have the expertise, training, and equipment to repair flaws and properly apply high-quality paints and coatings formulated for specific surfaces and environmental conditions.

Choose the Local Facility Painting Experts

When it’s time to update your property’s interior or exterior paint job, call Adam Roe Painting at (208) 306-4240 or contact us online to discuss your needs. In business since 1985, our team of painting professionals has helped hundreds of clients keep their commercial and industrial buildings painted. Because every facility has different requirements, we offer customized service plans according to your schedule and budget.

Adam Roe Painting provides professional painting services for commercial buildings and facilities. We offer custom color matching, a residential exterior warranty of 5 years, and a one-year warranty on commercial and industrial projects. We are fully licensed, insured, and bonded for your protection. 


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