Why is my paint sticky/tacky ? Can this be corrected?

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Have recently built (well my hubby built, I designed) an awesome pedestal stand for our front loading washer/dryer- (since I think the plastic drawers are useless, ugly and expensive) -- once built, we sanded, primed and painted 2 coats of name brand paint- satin finish I think (sherwin williams line of paint )-- and have let it cure/dry/etc.... for more than enough time (couple of weeks); not to mention we live in AZ, so its not humid here. It still has a tacky rubbery feel. Why did this happen? Can it be sanded and start again with a diff paint? Will it even sand properly? what should we have done differently?

  14 answers
  • this is from a website called STACK EXCHANGE where someone asked the exact same question

    It's called "blocking" and often happens w/latex paints - especially if the 1st coat wasn't allowed to dry fully before the second coat was applied. It's not much of an issue on walls, but horizontal surfaces are a different story.
    The ultimate solution is time - possibly a few months. The inner coat's moisture is blocked from evaporating by to outer coat. It will slowly wick through the surface over several weeks.
    You might be able to reduce the stickiness by spreading some fine talcum powder on the surface, then lightly vacuuming it off - but TEST in an unobtrusive area, first, because if it's too sticky, you could end up with permanent, visible, dust built into your paint job.
    You may be able to speed the process by blowing warm (not hot) air across the surface for several days (hot air can cause the paint to peel). This can open the pores in the paint to allow slightly more rapid evaporation, but a lot depends on what paint you used, how much moisture is trapped in the undercoat, etc.

  • Kit23306710 Kit23306710 on Oct 28, 2017
    You should have used a flat enamel paint. We , my husband and I, built our own too. I always use flat paint because it doesn’t have that tacky rubbery feel. You can sand down the job you did and paint with flat. I wish you luck.

  • Cindy Hagemann Cindy Hagemann on Oct 29, 2017
    It sounds to me that it has not dried completely for some reason, rainy weather, cold weather, primer was not dry before painting, or did not let it dry completely between coats of paint. Best solution is to just let it continue to dry - put a heater or fan on in the room to help.

  • Kathyy Kathyy on Oct 29, 2017
    It won't sand nicely, semi gloss paint is awful stuff. I'd try the powder trick, a top coat of varnish or place a sheet of something thin on the horizontal surfaces.

    I've had great success using thinned flat paint in several coats, allowing to cure for 4 days then using watered down wipe on water based poly sanding between coats until I'm satisfied with the uniformity of the gloss. I expected to have to wait a week to use the piece but a trial showed zero blocking after something like 12 hours. Seems like a ton of extra work but the sanding is to remove dust so super fast and easy and each coat is dry in a couple hours so it can take just a day to put all that poly on.

    • Karen gibson Karen gibson on Sep 22, 2020

      Hi keep seeing people saying use a flat paint what is this please if I varnish over the stickiness will it cure this please

  • Brenda Ellison Brenda Ellison on May 25, 2018
    Paint that is stacks

  • Zoe Brewer Zoe Brewer on Feb 25, 2020

    Dont know what to do I painted the banister gray not gloss been 3 day not dry still sticky what can I do

  • Michelle Leslie Michelle Leslie on Jun 16, 2021

    Hi, you can use automobile wax to help with tacky paint. Just apply it with a clean cloth and rub it in circular motions over the tacky surface. Wait about 10 minutes for the wax to dry and remove any excess wax with a buffing cloth to remove.

  • Sherwin Williams is an excellent company that guarantees their products. They have local shops with trained brand pros. I would speak directly to them and explain the situation. They may offer a solution and your money back for the first paint.

  • For some reason, it sounds like the base coat didn't dry. I wouldn't try to sand it, it will just 'gum up' the sandpaper. Either try to let it dry longer, or strip everything off with Citristrip and start over. So sorry this happened.

  • Maura White Maura White on Jun 18, 2021

    I used a semi-gloss paint that is still sticky at my house. It's not sticky enough to let it bother me. But if I were you, I'd get the same shade of color that is a step down from the glossiness level you chose before. I'm pretty sure mine was cheap paint from Walmart, which may be why as well. Maybe spend an extra few bucks on higher quality paint.

  • Annie Annie on Jun 20, 2021

    Something still has moisture in it. Either the wood itself from before it was painted, or the paint (the first coat).


    I suggest sanding the paint down, leaving it be for awhile before repainting. And leave lots of time between coats

  • What did you use to build the stands with? That might have something to do with the paint not drying properly. Was the paint purchased new for the project or was it older, leftover paint? Maybe the paint and the primer were incompatible.


    You can sand it off with a low grit sandpaper like 60 or 80, then sand again with 120 or so, then start over.

  • Johnavallance82 Johnavallance82 on Oct 13, 2021

    Strip the paint off and start again with a Primer, then Undercoat and then 2 top coats for durability.