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What is Paint Bubbling? Common Causes and Solutions for Paint Blistering on Walls

Paint bubbling can be a frustrating issue for homeowners and DIY enthusiasts alike. Not only does it detract from the aesthetics of your walls, but it also raises concerns about the underlying causes and potential damage. In this blog post, we will explore the common causes of paint bubbling on walls and provide you with practical solutions to tackle this problem effectively.


Have you ever noticed unsightly bubbles forming on the surface of your painted walls? Paint bubbling, also known as paint blistering, is a frustrating issue that can blemish the appearance of your home and raise concerns about the overall condition of the paint job. 

This phenomenon occurs when bubbles or blisters form beneath the painted wall, causing it to lift and distort. It is characterised by raised areas that may look like small bumps or bubbles, and these can range in size from tiny dots to larger patches. If left untreated, paint blistering on walls can worsen over time, leading to more extensive damage like peeling and cracking and the need for costly repairs. In this blog, we will delve into the common causes behind paint bubbling and provide you with effective solutions to prevent and fix this issue, ensuring your walls remain pristine and visually appealing.


What are the causes of paint bubbling on walls?

Bubbling over paint can be attributed to several factors that compromise the integrity of the painted wall. Understanding these causes is crucial in order to address the issue effectively. Let's explore some of the common causes behind this problem and the solutions to fix them:


1. Dirty painting surface

One of the primary causes of paint bubbling is applying paint on a dirty or poorly prepared surface. When the painting surface is contaminated with dust, dirt, grease, or other substances, it hampers the paint's ability to adhere properly. As a result, bubbles or blisters may form as the paint dries.



To prevent bubbling caused by a dirty painting surface, it is essential to thoroughly clean and prepare the walls before painting. Start by removing any loose or peeling paint using a scraper or sandpaper. Next, wash the walls with a mild detergent solution or a specialised wall cleaner to remove dirt, grease, and other contaminants. Rinse the surface thoroughly and allow it to dry completely before applying the paint.


2. Skipping the use of primer

Primer acts as a crucial bonding agent between the surface and the paint, promoting better adhesion and reducing the likelihood of paint blistering on walls. Skipping the use of a primer, especially on porous or unpainted surfaces, can lead to inadequate bonding and eventual blistering of the paint.



Before painting, make sure to apply a suitable primer to the surface. The primer creates a uniform and stable base, enhancing the paint's adherence and preventing blistering. Choose a primer that is compatible with both the surface material and the type of paint you intend to use.


3. Moisture on the painting surface

Excessive moisture on the painting surface is a significant contributor to paint bubbling. When water or excessive humidity penetrates the surface, it can get trapped beneath the paint film. As the moisture evaporates, it creates pressure, causing the paint to blister and peel.



To address moisture-related paint blistering on walls, it is important to identify and resolve the source of moisture. Inspect the area for any leaks or water seepage issues, such as plumbing leaks, roof leaks, or condensation buildup. Repair any leaks and ensure proper ventilation in areas prone to high humidity, such as bathrooms and kitchens. Additionally, allow sufficient time for the surface to dry completely before painting.


4. High temperatures in the surroundings

Extreme heat or high temperatures can accelerate the drying process of paint, leading to the formation of bubbles. When the paint dries too quickly, solvents or moisture trapped within the paint film may not have enough time to escape, resulting in blistering.



To prevent paint bubbling caused by high temperatures, it is advisable to avoid painting during extremely hot weather conditions. Choose a cooler time of day or consider painting in seasons with moderate temperatures. Additionally, ensure proper ventilation during the drying process to allow for adequate evaporation of solvents and moisture.


5. Selecting the wrong roller cover

Using an inappropriate roller cover can also contribute to bubbling. The wrong roller cover may not apply the paint evenly or may leave behind lint or fibres, leading to an uneven paint film and subsequent blistering.



When selecting a roller cover, consider the type of surface you are painting and the type of paint you are using. Different roller covers are designed for specific surfaces, such as smooth or textured walls, and for different types of paint, such as latex or oil-based. Choose a roller cover that is suitable for your specific painting project to achieve a smooth and even application.


By addressing these common causes of paint bubbling and implementing the recommended solutions, you can minimise the occurrence of blistering paint on your walls. However, it is important to note that severe or persistent paint-bubbling issues may require professional intervention to identify underlying problems and provide appropriate remedies. 

Some tips to avoid paint blistering on wall

Preventing paint blistering requires attention to detail and following proper techniques during the painting process. Here are some additional tips to help you avoid paint bubbling ceilings and walls:


1. Slowly stirring the paint

Before using paint, it's crucial to give it a thorough and slow stir. Rapid stirring can introduce air bubbles into the paint, which can contribute to blistering on walls during the drying process. Instead, use a stirring stick or paddle and gently mix the paint to ensure a smooth and consistent texture without introducing excessive air.


2. Apply gradually with a roller

When applying paint with a roller, it's important to use a gradual and even rolling motion. Avoid pressing too hard or applying excessive pressure, as this can create air pockets beneath the paint film. Start from one side and work your way across, maintaining a consistent speed and pressure to achieve a uniform coat of paint.


3. Not using oil-based paint directly over latex paint

Applying oil-based paint directly over a surface previously painted with latex paint can result in poor adhesion and paint blistering on walls. The two types of paint have different properties and require proper surface preparation and priming to ensure compatibility. If you intend to switch from latex to oil-based paint or vice versa, it is advisable to prime the surface with an appropriate primer before applying the new type of paint.


These tips, combined with the causes and solutions mentioned earlier, can help you minimise the occurrence of paint bubbling and achieve a smooth and long-lasting paint finish on your walls.

Paint bubbling is a common issue that can be caused by various factors, including environmental conditions, surface preparation, and painting techniques. Identifying the cause will help you select the appropriate solution. By considering some painting tips and taking the necessary steps to avoid paint blistering on walls you can give your walls a professional and smooth finish, adding value to your home while ensuring a long-lasting paint job.

Also Read: Dampness In Walls

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