Modern paints are tough and some will last for decades before you begin to see imperfections. Chalking is one of those imperfections, and it’s a common sign that paint is breaking down. Not only does chalky paint feel bad, but it can also make your walls look faded or streaky. If your paint has developed a chalky coating you’ll need to follow a few simple steps to fix it properly before new paints can be applied.
What Causes Paint Chalking?
When you run your hand over a painted surface and it leaves a powdery residue on your fingers, that’s paint chalking. That powdery surface is due to the normal aging process and it happens to even the highest quality paints. There are a few major causes of chalky paint:
- Normal Aging: Paints are essentially a mix of pigments and a binder like resin. Over time, the resin in the paint breaks down, and the solid pigments are exposed on the surface where they often appear and feel like chalk dust.
- Exposure to Sunlight: Chalking isn’t limited to exterior paints, but outdoor surfaces degrade faster thanks to sunlight breaking down the binder. Other weather elements also play a role in paints that are failing, which is why it’s so important to use exterior-grade paint where it’s called for.
- Low-Quality Paint: It’s true that paint chalking happens regardless of quality, but cheap coatings have lower quality binders and suffer from short lifespans.
Prepare The Surface
The biggest challenge when dealing with chalky paint is preparing your surfaces for recoating. The chalky texture provides a poor surface for new paints, and painting directly over chalking will produce a finish that adheres badly and flakes away quickly.
Chalky surfaces need to be cleaned thoroughly with soap and water. A pressure washer can be used for this task, but you may still need to use a scourer or brush to remove the worst of the chalking. Allow the soap to sit on the surface for a few minutes before thoroughly rinsing with a hose or pressure washer. Once the surface has dried you can run your hand over it to see how much chalk remains. A little bit is okay - you won’t be able to perfectly clean the surface - but the majority of the chalking needs to be cleaned off.
It’s important to make sure any scrubbing is done with non-metallic brushes and pads. Metallic scourers leave behind tiny particles of iron that will eventually rust and cause unsightly streaking on your newly painted surfaces.
Use A Quality Primer
Once your walls have been cleaned off as much chalky residue as possible, you may need to apply a new layer of primer. Whether you need to apply primer depends on the degree of chalking. If you are repainting a wall with minimal chalking then you can skip the primer, but if you are repairing severe chalking it’s important to seal and prime the wall with quality paints.
Before buying any primers you should choose your topcoat. Some modern top coats don’t require a primer or are self-priming, so there’s no need to double up. Visit your local paint store and do some research or speak to a professional painter to find out whether you need to prime your surfaces or not.
Choose the Right Paint for the Job
Most paints will develop a chalky texture over time as the binders break down. While that’s normal, high-quality paints designed for your application will last significantly longer. Water-based exterior acrylic paints are often recommended for outdoor surfaces and they often include anti-UV additives that prolong their life significantly. If you are repairing an internal wall, the same process applies, and you should still choose a high-quality water-based paint as your new coating.
Building Ready for New Paint? Contact Pristine Painting Perfection Today!
If your walls are looking dusty and faded then a fresh coat of paint is probably on the cards. Fixing paint chalking needs to be done properly and the team at Pristine Painting Perfection have the tools and experience to get your walls looking new again! Contact us today if you’d like more information or need help fixing chalking paint around your home or business.