Paint blisters and flakes in same spot for 40 years

We have been repainting the same areas of our house for more than 40 years. Professional painters have failed with their techniques, so we no longer use them but do the work ourselves. We scrape, sand, prime, and paint the same areas over and over, but nothing adheres for more than a couple of years. These spots occur on all sides of the house, there are no trees next to the house, there is free movement of air, but the paint first blisters and then sheets off. Any ideas on how to stop the peeling?

  6 answers
  • Sharon Sharon on Jul 02, 2017
    Are there knot holes in the wood there where it blisters, cause its hard to get paint to adhere to knots. Does that part get more sun? Is there an old oil-based paint below where you've been painting with latex? that would cause blistering and peeling. Did you ever try going back to oil-based house paint?
    If there is still something on the surface you are painting, I would give it a good wash after sanding with some degreaser and maybe a second wash with TSP, let dry prime and paint.

    • Shari Carver Shari Carver on Jul 02, 2017
      No, no knotholes or paint problems. The paint just blisters and sheets off in the same places a couple of years after painting, no matter how many things we try. It peels down to the bare wood. There was no skimping on paint quality--the last time we painted, it was Sears' most expensive, guaranteed house paint (which they would not honor because, as they said, '"how do we know you followed the correct preparation steps." Beware Sears' promises.).

  • B. Enne B. Enne on Jul 02, 2017
    Here are some possible reasons. Good luck!

    If it isn't humidity or water behind the walls, # 6, 8 and 10 are interesting.

    I would try sanding, wiping down with a damp cloth and then using Liquid Sandpaper (any knock off deglosser will do), with steel wool. Then I would wipe it down with a damp cloth again, and let it dry thorougly, at least one day. I normally just do the deglosser and steel wool, but it sounds like your walls need more help...overkill? Perhaps

    I like Zinsser Bin 123 (red label) primer. It is shellac based, and covers knots, stains etc. I find the 2-in1 paints just aren't as durable as a good primer and topcoat.

    I was told years ago that paint is like carpeting. If you want to buy a cheaper paint, buy the best primer you can afford. For the carpet, buy a good underpad, because even a good expensive carpet won't hold up if you cheap out (not to say you did)/ or don't prep well underneath.

    Here are some really good solutions. Find the one that resembles your problem, and click on it for the solution.

    • Shari Carver Shari Carver on Jul 02, 2017
      Thanks for the suggestions, but we've been doing all that for the past 40 plus years. There is no consistency with the problem--some walls are never in the sun, some are always in the sun. There is no moisture problem (we live in San Diego and xeriscape--no watering, other than hand watering pots on the patio). The spots are always in the same places, and scraping, sanding, and priming do nothing to stop the problem. The paint peels down to the bare wood. Thanks for trying, though. Those were good suggestions.

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    • Suzette Suzette on Jul 03, 2017
      Most likely, those are the only areas that may need repair. I'll be interested to know what you find!

  • Judy Judy on Jul 02, 2017
    Perhaps the painters used a thinner coat, in that area. Clean it off real good, and the other areas as well, then do it yourself. Be sure to paint at a good level of paint. Even give this 2 coats just to be sure. Best wishes, J.

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    • Hillela G. Hillela G. on Jul 03, 2017
      Best of luck!!!

  • B. Enne B. Enne on Jul 03, 2017
    You're welcome, sorry it didn't help.
    Hmmm so maybe in your case it is dry air as mentioned in the SW link?
    Have you tried peeking underneath? Maybe the insulation's vapour barrier is damaged in those spots, and condensation is building up? Maybe just those parts of the walls could be replaced?
    Good luck with everything, I know how tough it is when you can't find a solution.

  • Sharon Sharon on Jul 04, 2017
    There has to be something on that wood that's preventing adhesion. I would use a degreaser and/or TSP to wash down with a brush.