Interior painting problems

Covering Stains, Grease, Graffiti, and Problem Surfaces.

Most folks find out about stains and problem surfaces after it is too late — during, or after they are done, painting. Repeated coats of paint won’t cover properly because the problem areas bleed through the new paint.

Special Problem Areas

• Old paint, oil or lead based
• Grease, oil, mold, or mildew
• Graffiti, ball point ink, permanent markers, paint
• Bad plaster, crumbling or water damaged

Old oil and lead base paints often used special pigments that bleed through new latex paints. Light colors might not bleed at all while some darker colors cannot be covered even with several coats of paint. You can test a small area, let it dry for 24 hours, and check for coverage.

To seal the old paint, you need to use a special primer. Normally, it will be an oil base primer especially made to cover oil base paint before painting with latex paint. Be sure to get one designed for this purpose. Be sure to follow the directions for drying time before applying the first coat of paint.
Grease, oil, mold, or mildew should be cleaned with a household clearner first. Next, clean with a solution made for use before painting, such as Soilax. You can purchase it at a paint or hardware store. After the soiled areas are dry, paint them will a special primer designed for hiding these kind of spots.

Porters–Stay-Kill–primer works well. You can prime the entire surface, or just cover up the soiled areas. Be sure to follow the directions for drying time before applying the first coat of paint.
Graffiti, ball point ink, permanent markers, and paint can be covered with a special primer designed for hiding these kinds of spots. Porters Stay-Kill primer works well. You need to cover the soiled areas. Be sure to follow the directions for drying time before applying a second coat of primer or the first coat of paint.
Bad plaster, crumbling or water damaged needs to be cleaned first. Use a scrub brush and water to remove all the loose plaster. If there’s extensive damage, you should repair the damaged plaster, too. Water damage causes some of the chemicals in plaster to bleed through new paint. It’s a good idea to use a primer like Porters Stay-Kill before painting. Be sure to follow the directions for drying time before applying a second coat of primer or the first coat of paint.

Painting tips . . .
Buy good quality paint. Porters are one of the brands that are good, however, other name brands are good, too, and have similar types of primers and paints.
In kitchens, bathrooms, and high-traffic areas, use a “latex enamel” paint which is more waterproof and can be cleaned easily
Allow plenty of drying time for a primer, and between each coat of paint. Getting in a hurry might end up with a poor finish, or require an additional coat of paint
If you’re trying to get by with just one coat of paint, don’t apply it to heavy. If a second coat is needed, you will have wasted paint
If you plan to use two coats of paint, don’t put the first coat on too thin. Two even coats will look better and last longer
Be sure you have plenty of ventilation. If you’re painting your home, plan to does it during warm weather so you can leave the windows open during, and for several days after, painting?

How to remove stains from hardwood floors


Water and other liquids can penetrate deep into the grain of hardwood floors, leaving dark stains that are sometimes impossible to remove by sanding. Instead, try bleaching the wood with oxalic acid, which is available in crystal form at home centers or paint stores.

How to remove stains from hardwood floors:

1. Remove the floor’s finish by sanding the stained area.

2. In a disposable cup, dissolve the recommended amount of oxalic acid crystals in water.

3. Wearing rubber gloves pour the mixture over the stained area, taking care to cover only the darkened wood.

4. Let the liquid stand for 1 hour. Repeat the application, if necessary.

5. Wash the area with a solution of 2 tablespoons borax in 1 pint of water to neutralize the acid.

6. Rinse with water, and let the wood dry.

7. Sand the area smooth.

8. Apply several coats of wood stain until the bleached area matches the finish of the surrounding floor.


Wood expands and shrinks according to weather conditions— especially humidity—causing floorboards to rub against each other and against the nails holding them in place, and thus to squeak. It pays to check, however, whether the source of persistent squeaky boards is more than a change in weather. Sometimes shifting or squeaking boards can indicate a bigger problem, like leaking pipes or drains. Be sure to check under the floor to make sure it is free from water damage or rot.
Although there are little tricks to get rid of those squeaks, sanding and refinishing the floor is not one of them, so don’t let any professional talk you into something you don’t need and that won’t fix the problem. Little tricks are good, but to truly fix the problem, you will need to uproot your flooring and repair what’s going on underneath it.

One trick, for a temporary fix, is to put some baby powder between the boards that: squeak. Step on the boards in a bouncing action to allow the powder to seep into the joints.

How to recaulk a tub or shower stall

1. First, remove the damaged caulking with a utility knife by cutting at the very edge where the caulking meets the surface. Then pull it away with your hand. Remove any excess by scraping with the utility knife or small putty knife.

2. Clean the area well. Use a little bit of bleach and a scrub brush, this will prevent mildew and mold from coming back quickly.

3. Dry the area thoroughly. Let it dry for at least a couple of hours before you begin.

4. You will apply the caulk directly out of the container or caulking gun. Start by cutting off the tip of the tube after you take off the cap. Cut off just a little. There should be a mark on the tube itself, but just in case there is not, only cut off a little less than ¼ inch. Apply the caulk directly to the replacement area as a thick bead (or line), starting in the corner or at one end. Squeeze the tube slowly so that you leave an even, solid line behind you as you go.

5. Once you have a line of caulk along the replacement area, run your finger (wet it first so it doesn’t stick) along the bead, which will even out the caulking. You can also do this with a caulking tool, but I say save the money and use what God gave you.

6. Take a clean finger or paper towel and wipe up any excess caulk, including any that may have blended out too far.

7. Let it dry for 24—48 hours before using the tub or shower.

TIP: When you go to buy caulking, make sure that you don’t skimp. Spend the couple of extra dollars and purchase a good caulking. It will last longer and provide a better moisture barrier.

In order to be sure that you’re caulking won’t crack or stretch unnecessarily, fill the tub with water before you caulk, making sure that you don’t splash any water up into the caulking area. Caulk with the tub full. The water will provide the necessary weight to position the tub where it settles when you use it on a daily basis. Leave the tub full of water until the caulking is completely dry (twenty-four to forty-eight hours).

Interior Foaming Cratering Interior Paint Solution

Foaming – Cratering: Formation of bubbles (foaming) and resulting small, round concave depressions (cratering) when bubbles break in a paint film, during paint application and drying.

Possible Causes:

Shaking a partially filled can of paint.

Use of low quality paint or very old latex paint.

Applying (especially rolling ) paint too rapidly.

Use of a roller cover with wrong nap length.

Excessive rolling or brushing of the paint.

Applying a gloss or semi-gloss paint over a porous surface.


All paints will foam to some degree during application; however, higher quality paints are formulated so the bubbles break while the paint is still wet, allowing for good flow and appearance. Avoid excessive rolling or brushing of the paint or using paint that is more than a year old. Apply gloss and semi gloss paints with a short nap roller, and apply an appropriate sealer or primer before using such paint over a porous surface. Problem areas should be sanded before repainting.

Interior Painting – Frequently asked questions

Can I paint directly over wallpaper?
No. Wallpaper can be painted over with the proper preparations. Be sure to remove any loose wallpaper, scuff/sand the surface, then apply interior oil-based primer.

Can I apply latex paint over oil based paint?
Yes. Be sure to prepare the surface properly before painting. Oil-based paints should be sanded to a flat finish before painting. After rinsing, apply Dutch Boy® oil-based primer and apply desired latex paint.

Can I apply paint directly over a semi-gloss paint?
No. Semi-gloss paint must be dulled to a flat finish by sanding*, allowing proper adhesion. Removing or disturbing old paint from interior or exterior surfaces by sanding, scraping, abrading or other means may produce dust, debris or fumes that contain lead. Exposure to lead dust, debris or fumes may cause brain damage or other adverse health effects, especially in children and pregnant women. Structures built before 1978 should be tested by a licensed inspector prior to removing or disturbing old paint.

Can I use exterior paint on the inside of my house?
No. Exterior paints are formulated to be more flexible to withstand temperature and climate change.

How can I best prepare my walls before I paint?
Walls that have never been painted should have a recommended primer applied before painting. For previously painted walls, thoroughly wash them with a mild soap and water solution, then rinse with clean water. If your existing surface was painted previously with semi-gloss paint, the surface should be lightly sanded to a duller finish. If the walls have not been painted in five years or longer or are stained then primer should be used.

How much paint do I need?
To achieve one-coat coverage, paint should be applied at a maximum of 400 square feet per gallon. Rough or textured surfaces may require more paint. On these areas allow for 125-300 square feet per gallon.

How do I prepare the surface?
As a general rule, all surfaces should be clean before painting. Remove any loose, peeling paint, and/or any other substrate that is on the surface*. Scrub all surfaces to remove all dirt, grease, oil, etc. Rinse surface well and allow to dry. Apply appropriate patching material to cracks, nail holes, or other surface imperfections, sand smooth, and remove sanding dust.

*If your existing surface is glossy, dull surface by sanding or use an abrasive cleaner. Remove any residue.

How do I take care of my freshly painted surface?
Freshly painted surfaces may be washed after 30 days. Avoid touching, wiping, or wetting any freshly painted surface for 30 days. After that time dirt and stains may be removed with a mild, non-abrasive cleaner and water. Do not place objects on windowsills and shelves until paint is thoroughly dry.

How long should I wait before applying a second coat of paint?
A second coat of latex paint may be applied 6 hours after the first coat. With oil-based paint, you should wait 24 hours between coats.

Should I paint the trim before or after I roll the walls?
The wall area around the doors and windows and along the ceiling should be cut in with a brush, this will prevent the wall from having an obvious and unsightly picture frame effect. Then, the main part of the wall can be painted with a roller, rolling into these areas.

Why do I need to use a primer?
Primers are specifically formulated to seal porous surfaces, block stains, as well as to insure the proper adhesion of the topcoat and produce the best possible coverage.

What is the proper order to follow when painting a room?
When painting a room, the ceiling should be painted first, followed by the walls, then the trim (including doors and windows) and finally the baseboards.

When should I apply?
Room and surface temperature should be between 50 and 85 degrees. Paint dries best between 65F and 85F. Allow at least 4 hours of drying time before recoating.

What is the proper rolling technique?
Fully load the roller with paint by dipping the entire cover deep into the tray of paint. Carry as much paint to the surface as possible. Make a letter “V” in a small 2 foot by 2 foot area with a generous roller load of paint. Fill in the “V”, spreading the paint evenly from left to right. Lightly smooth out with downward motions. Repeat “V” with a freshly loaded roller for every 2 x 2 foot area.

Cracking Flaking Interior Paint Solution

Cracking Flaking: The splitting of a dry paint film through at least one coat as a result of aging, which ultimately will lead to complete failure of the paint. In its early stages, the problem appears as hairline cracks; in its later stages, flaking occurs.

Possible Causes:

Use of a lower quality paint that has inadequate adhesion and flexibility.

Over thinning or overspreading the paint.
Inadequate surface preparation, or applying the paint to bare wood without first applying primer.

Excessive hardening and embrittlement of alkyd paint as the paint job ages.


Remove loose and flaking paint with a scraper or wire brush, sanding the surface and feathering the edges. If the flaking occurs in multiple layers of paint, use of a filler may be necessary. Prime bare wood areas before repainting. Use of a top quality primer and top coat should prevent a recurrence of the problem.

Painting tips & tricks

Color Frequently asked questions

How do colors effect room size?
Generally, warm colors like reds, oranges, and yellows close in a space. Blues, greens, and violets tend to make a room look larger. Dark colors have a diminishing effect. Whites are always a good choice for making a room look larger.

My room has a chair rail and I am using two colors….?
This depends on the look you want to achieve. If you want an open, airy look, always paint the portion of the wall below the chair rail darker allowing the lighter color to dominate.

Should trim work be painted the same color as the walls…?
Use the same color to hide trim work, use a lighter or darker color to bring out the trim work and add highlights.

Will the paint I choose look lighter or darker on the wall?
Larger surfaces make the paint appear darker. As a general rule, always choose colors that are a shade or two lighter than what you want. Do keep in mind that colors can also appear lighter or darker depending on surrounding colors and lighting.

What is the best way to decide which color is best for my room?
Take color chips home to determine the color of your room. A nice technique is to hold the color chips in the daylight and at night so you will see how lighting will effect your color choices.

What color should I paint my ceiling?
White or off-white colors will create the illusion of having a higher ceiling and more open space. Whereas medium to dark colors will create the illusion of lowering the ceiling. Customarily, white or off-white tend to be used.

Will the paint actually match the color chip?
As a general rule, paint on a color chip will appear slightly lighter than when applied in a room. Always take into account the sheen of the paint, the lighting in the room, and other colors that are in the room.

Caulk Failures Interior Paint Solution

Caulk Failures: Loss of caulk’s initial adhesion and flexibility, causing it to crack and/or pull away from the surfaces to which it is applied.

Possible Causes:

Use of lower quality caulk.

Use of wrong type of caulk for particular application (e.g., using latex or vinyl caulk in areas where there is prolonged contact with water or considerable movement of the caulked surfaces).


Use a top quality water-based all-acrylic or siliconized acrylic caulk if prolonged contact with water is not anticipated. These caulks are flexible enough to adapt to minor fluctuations in the substrate, stretching in gaps that widen slightly over time. They also adhere to a wide range of interior building materials, including wood, ceramic tile, concrete, glass, plaster, bare aluminum, brick and plastic — even in areas where moisture is present. Note: Silicone caulk should not be painted.

Painting tips & tricks

Rub petroleum jelly on the hinges and door knobs before you start to paint a door. If you get paint on them, they will wipe off easily.

To keep white paint from yellowing, add 2 drops of black paint to each Gallon of white.

When painting ceilings, cut a child’s rubber ball in half and put your paint brush in one of the halves to catch the drips.

An old pair of swimming goggles will protect your eyes from paint splatters and drips when painting ceilings.

When painting, protect your hands and face with moisturizer. Cleanup will be easier and the moisturizer will prevent paint from seeping into the pores.

To stop paint from dripping, punch a few holes in the rim of the paint can. When the brush is wiped against the edge, the paint flows back into the can. The lid covers the holes so the paint won’t dry out.

Before pouring paint from a can, cover the rim with masking tape. After pouring, remove the tape — the rim will be clean and the cover will fit tightly.

Burnishing Interior Paint Solution

Burnishing: Increase in gloss or sheen of paint film when subjected to rubbing, scrubbing or having an object brush up against it.

Possible Causes:

Use of flat paint in high trafficked areas, where a higher sheen level would be desirable.

Frequent washing and spot cleaning.
Objects (furniture, for example) rubbing against the walls.
Use of lower grades of paint with poor stain and scrub resistance (see Poor Stain Resistance and Poor Scrub Resistance.)


Paint heavy wear areas that require regular cleaning (e.g., doors, window sills and trim with a top quality latex paint, because this type of paint offers both durability and easier cleaning capability. In high traffic areas, choose a semi gloss or gloss rather than a flat sheen level.

Clean painted surfaces with a soft cloth or sponge and non-abrasive cleansers; rinse with clean water.

Painting tips & tricks

Drying paint and the temperature
Paint in a ventilated and temperate space. When temperatures are between 10C and 32C there’s no risk, although 15c to 22C is ideal. Latex paint will dry in a few hours at this temperature. Oil-based paints will dry more rapidly in a warm, dry environment.

Wood preparation before painting
When we paint wood, we’re decorating it, but we can also protect it for good if the surface is prepared properly. New wood must be sanded along the grain. Painted or stained wood as well, unless you strip it down to its bare surface. Pores, screw and nail holes can be filled with plastic wood or joint compound, according to the case. Remove all accessories to minimize trimming. Paint over knots with orange shellac to hide them forever. Finally, be sure that the wood is dry and clean.

Painting old moldings
Over the years and after many coats of paint, door frames, windows and wall molding joints are no longer well defined and easy to trim. Carefully trace over the joints with a plasterboard knife using a yardstick if necessary. The traced cut will act as a paint dam? as long as you don’t use too much.

Paint without removing fixtures
To avoid having to remove fixtures before painting, particularly when the pieces are difficult to get off, nothing works like Vaseline petroleum jelly. Just spread it on the surfaces to be protected before starting to paint and when finished, clean the fixtures with a paper towel or a soft cloth.

Blocking Interior Paint Solution

Blocking: Undesirable sticking together of two painted surfaces when pressed together (e.g., a door sticking to the jamb).

Possible Cause:

Not allowing sufficient dry time for the coating before closing doors or windows.
Use of low quality semi gloss or gloss paints.


Use top quality semi gloss or gloss acrylic latex paint. Low quality latex paints can have poor block resistance, especially in warm, damp conditions.

Follow paint label instructions regarding dry times. Acrylic latex paints generally have better early block resistance than vinyl latex paints, or alkyd or oil-based paints; however, alkyds develop superior block resistance over time. Application of talcum powder can relieve persistent blocking.

Painting tips & tricks

Helpful Tip
When taking a break, don’t leave your brushes or rollers sitting in paint. Cover trays with a damp rag.

Giving old wood a fresh look
Exterior wood siding can be painted, or stripped and painted. Strip paint using a torch by burning the old paint and scraping it lightly being careful not to damage the wood. Clean the surface with trisodium phosphate (TSP), which you can find in the paint department of your local home renovation centre. Repair siding where needed and caulk. If you are repainting in the same colour, apply the finishing coat after the wood is dry. If you are changing colours, apply a primer coat followed by the new colour, using exterior paint (an oil based primer will be necessary if going from oil to latex). Avoid painting in full sun, at sunset, in the early morning, in the rain or in the wind. To keep bugs from sticking to the fresh paint, simply add two tablespoons of citronella to the paint.

Finishing product: paint, stain, varnish, etc.
Different customers have different needs. No product meets every need. To select the appropriate product, start by identifying your needs based on the following specific criteria in order to create a “funnel” leading to your ideal product. The product selection process is simple, effective and based on eight product selection criteria: function, environment, surface, use, composition, appearance, colour and quality.

Masking knots before painting
Knots in finished wood will appear sooner or later after painting. Before painting, seal the knots with a lacquer. It is the only liquid sealant that will efficiently seal in knot resin, without discoloring the finishing paint.

Blistering Interior Paint Solution

Blistering: Bubbles resulting from localized loss of adhesion and lifting of the paint film from the underlying surface.

Possible Causes:

Applying oil-based or alkyd paint over a damp or wet surface.
Moisture seeping into the home through the exterior walls (less likely with latex paint).

Exposure of latex paint film to high humidity or moisture shortly after paint has dried, especially if there was inadequate surface preparation.


If blisters do not go all the way down to the substrate: Remove

blisters by scraping and sanding, and repaint with a quality acrylic latex interior paint.

If blisters go down to the substrate: Remove the source of moisture, if possible. Repair loose caulking; consider installing vents or exhaust fans. Remove blisters as above, remembering to prime before applying the top coat.