Paint Bubbling – Reasons and Remedies


The major cause of bubbling of exterior paint is the moisture in the substrate like wood siding and stucco for instance. Unlike heat blisters, moisture bubbles are seen going deep down till the substrate. Paint bubbling can be a highly concerning issue in painting jobs as it can rob the quality of the output and can steal the great looks of the painted surfaces. Also, it can reduce the life of painting. Here are the common reasons for paint bubbling and the proven remedies to try.  

The science behind paint bubbling

Under normal conditions, water always wants to evaporate from the surfaces of things. This is not a problem if water is there in the substrate and there is no paint coating on it. Under such condition, the water will just evaporate leaving no signs on the substrate. However, if the paint coating on the substrate gets in the way of water that is trying to evaporate, the evaporating water will put a pressure on the coating to find its way. This will result in paint bubbling. If you want to stop moisture bubbling, you must find out the reason and eliminate the cause of moisture intrusion. 

Major causes of paint bubbling

  • Leaks in roofs and gutters, leaky windows, lack of flashing

  • Unsealed wood end-grain, un-caulked vertical joints and seams around the doors and windows

  • Moisture leaking from walls due to causes like tub overflows, plumbing and sink leaks

  • Vapor from hot showers, damp basements, cooking spots and use of humidifiers

  • Respiration and perspiration of people that lets moisture out of people’s bodies, which can evaporate under the heat of the day, might find its way through the exterior paint coating. This is the common cause of paint bubbling on bed room walls.

Tips to prevent paint bubbling

  • As much as possible, it is good to use only light colors of paints for painting jobs. Lighter colors tend to reflect more sunlight and hence do not heat up the surface quickly. On the other hand, darker colors absorb more sunlight leading to heating up of the surface.

  • Help the painted surface to let the moisture out by enhancing its breathability. To this end, provide proper ventilation and in case of wood siding, make the joints free to move.

  • When the thickness of paints builds-up due to repeated paint jobs, the breathability of the surface is significantly reduced. Therefore, while repainting, scrap off the existing paint before applying a new coat of paint.

  • If a substrate has lost its breathability, even a little amount of moisture getting into it can lead to paint bubbling. So, when you add coats of paint, the breathability comes down. Use of darker colors can increase the temperature build up in surfaces. Avoid these factors to rule out paint bubbling in surfaces in the long run.

Take away

Find the best residential painters near me to get the paint jobs done in the most efficient way. They can suggest you the ways to mitigate the risks like paint bubbling and extend the life of paints. Remember, their experience and knowledge can assure you the best results across your painting jobs. 

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