Advice & Tips


Here’s How To Avoid Scary Paint Failures

Spring House, Pa -- With Halloween nearly here, and colder weather to follow, it’s time to get serious about your outdoor painting projects, says Debbie Zimmer, spokesperson for the Paint Quality Institute.

“In the spirit of the season, if you go about your painting the right way, you’ll be treated to years of problem-free performance; if not, your new paint job may soon ‘trick’ you by giving up the ghost,” she says.

According to Zimmer, it’s not terribly difficult to avoid scary paint failures – frightful outcomes such as peeling and flaking paint, wrinkling, blistering, and hideous “alligatoring”, where paint cracks open in a pattern that resembles a reptile’s scales. You can begin to put all these fears to rest by doing the following:

Properly prepare the surface. It was Ben Franklin who said, “By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail” -- apt advice for almost everything, including painting. Good surface preparation is essential if you want to avoid the nightmare of early paint failure. So, before ever picking up a brush or roller, be certain that the surface is sound and clean, with no sign of loose or peeling paint. Prime any bare or unpainted wood or metal. Only then should you begin to apply your paint.

Invest in top quality paint. If the surface has been properly prepared, the best way to protect against frightening failures is to use a top quality 100% acrylic latex paint. “This type of paint will tightly adhere to the surface below, but remain flexible enough to expand and contract when temperatures rise or fall,” says Zimmer. By investing in top quality paint, you’ll get an extremely tough and durable finish that will keep the demons of paint failure at bay.

Work with high quality brushes and rollers. The best quality tools permit you to apply a thicker, more uniform coat of paint, one that offers maximum protection against forbidding failures. Choose brushes with split bristles of multiple lengths that are packed tightly together. And, when working with latex paint, use brushes and rollers made of synthetic material, which are better at holding their shape to give a better result.

Apply paint only in moderate weather. When applying any exterior coating, avoid working in spine-chilling temperatures. They’re uncomfortable for you… and, they can have dire consequences for your paint. Paint forms the best protective film when it isn’t too cold or too hot outside, and when the wind isn’t excessive. Still, days with temperatures above 50 degrees F are ideal.

So, if you’re thinking about doing some exterior painting this fall, don’t cringe in fear of possible paint failure. Just follow the advice above and you’ll soon see that your worries were just harmless hobgoblins, and nothing more!

For more specifics about surface preparation and exterior painting, visit


The Paint Quality Institute was formed in 1989 to educate people on the advantages of using quality interior and exterior paints and coatings. The Paint Quality Institute's goal is to provide information on the virtues of quality paint as well as color trends and decorating with paint through a variety of vehicles, including television appearances, newspaper and magazine articles, and instructional literature. Please be sure to visit the Paint Quality Institute at PAINT QUALITY INSTITUTE and PAINTQUALITY.COM are trademarks of The Dow Chemical Company ("Dow") or an affiliated company of Dow.


Deborah Zimmer
The Paint Quality Institute℠
Dow Coating Materials
Office 215-619-1683
Cell 215-962-5551

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