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Interior Paint Problems: Paint Foaming and Cratering

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Foaming and cratering on paint

            Dried paint bubbles can create cratering.
            (Photo courtesy of The Paint Quality Institute)

Paint bubbles or foam can form during paint application, and when they break and dry out, they create paint cratering.

Some formation of tiny bubbles (foaming) is normal during paint application. Higher-quality paints are formulated so that any bubbles that may form break while the paint is still wet.

What Causes Paint Foaming and Cratering?

  • Shaking a partially filled can of paint
  • Using low-quality latex paint, or paint that is old
  • Applying (especially rolling) paint too rapidly
  • Using a roller cover with the wrong nap length
  • Excessively rolling or brushing the paint
  • Applying a gloss or semi-gloss paint over a painted surface without first priming

How to Prevent Paint from Foaming and Cratering

  • Avoid excessive rolling or brushing
  • Avoid using paint that is more than a year old
  • Prime porous surfaces before applying paint
  • If applying gloss or semi-gloss paints, prime before painting and use a short nap roller
  • Avoid vigorous shaking or the paint can or swirling the brush in the paint
  • Sand problem areas before repainting

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