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  • The L.A. Design Team

Paint Problems, Episode IV; A New Wrinkle

Don’t worry you don’t have crows’ feet. Or maybe you do, I don’t really know.

What I’m talking about is wrinkles in your paint film. A crinkled and rough surface that happens when an uncured paint forms a skin.

There are a few different reasons this can happen. First off you may have applied your paint to heavily or painted under extremely hot conditions or when it was cool and damp. These situations can cause the paint film to dry faster on the top than it can on the bottom. Your paint may have been exposed to moisture such as rain, dew, fog or high humidity before it could dry completely. If your primer or first coat was not thoroughly dry before doing the next coat you could end up with unsightly wrinkles as well. And once again, I am bringing up adequate surface preparation. If you painted over a contaminated surface, you can wind up with wrinkles in your beautiful new paint. Make sure you do your prep!

So now that we know the causes let’s talk prevention.

  • Apply your paint with an appropriate roller so that it doesn’t go on to thick. And make sure you don’t have too much product in your brush or your roller to begin with. Remove excess product back into your can or tray.

  • Make sure air temperature and surface temperature are appropriate for painting. Don’t paint if its 35°C and you’re in direct sunlight or if it’s a crisp early fall morning and its 8°C and it rained heavy the night before.

  • Give your paint has adequate time to dry before it is exposed to moisture. For example, DO NOT paint 2 hours prior to a rainstorm. The weather forecast isn’t always right but still take it into consideration.

  • Be sure your paint is completely dry between coats. If you aren’t patient, then you probably shouldn’t be painting. Don’t expect a beautiful finish if you start your next coat 15 minutes after you’ve applied the first.

  • Clean you surface before painting. DO NOT paint over a contaminated surface. I’m just going to throw this out there again, read our blog post on surface preparation; Be Prepared, A Surface Story.

See, a little common sense and you can avoid this problem all together. But if you’re already having this issue, I suppose you are looking for a way to correct it.

So, let’s begin shall we.

It’s simple to fix really. But it’s going to take some work. Dig out your elbow grease and get started.

paint being scrapped off off trim
Scraping removes loose paint that didn't stick due to wrinkling.

1. Scrape the wrinkled surface to remove any loose paint.

2. Sand until you’ve got everything smooth again.

3. Thoroughly clean with a good degreaser like TSP. Rinse to remove any remaining residue.

4. Make sure the surface is dry.

5. Check weather and make sure conditions are appropriate for painting.

6. Prime any bare spots if required. Make sure your primer is dry before starting the topcoat.

7. Re-apply your paint according to the instructions on the can. Note your dry times and spread rate.


You are wrinkle free. Now if only it was that easy to remove those crow’s feet…

Next week the roller strikes back. In Episode V we talk brush and roller marks.

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