Paint bubbling is common in many homes, and could be a result of different factors.

These bubbles can occur when vapor or paint solvent builds up in the paint causing it to rise.

In this article, we will be discussing the different factors that can cause the paint on your wall to form bubbles, and how you can get the wall looking again.

So here are a few reasons for the damage.

Proper prepping was not done

Before painting, curtain wall preparation steps are usually done, and one of these is priming. This serves to act as a coating for walls before the paint is applied; there are many benefits to this. It makes the painting look better, and also lasts for a longer period.

Asides from priming, not properly preparing a surface generally can cause the paint to bubble. This involves leaving dirt, oil, grease, or any other contaminant sticking to the wall, which consequently prevents the paint from staying on the surface. By sanding the walls before painting you can easily prevent future damage to your painting.

Moisture before and after

If the paint is applied on a wet surface there is a tendency that the paint will start to bubble over time. For this reason, it is important to ensure that surfaces are dry before painting. Likewise, also make sure that the surface is free of dirt. Painting over a dirty surface is one other reason why paint eventually bubbles.

Now, painting over wet walls is one factor, and the surface is exposed to moisture after the painting is another. Although proper precautions may be taken to prevent wet surfaces before painting, if the paint is exposed to moisture afterward, it may eventually still bubble.

This is why paint bubbling is common in bathrooms and kitchens and likewise in waterlogged areas. However, if you find bubbling paint in unusual locations, such as the upper part of a wall, or the living room, it could be a sign of another water problem. Paint bubbles at the top of a wall, maybe a sign of a leaking roof, probably from a damaged or missing shingle.

In the same way, finding paint bubbles in the living room in an area that is not waterlogged may signify a potential pipe leak, which can be a significant plumbing problem. You can also find paint bubbles in rooms that are not properly ventilated. This is because moisture gets absorbed into the wall, causing it to bubble.

Paint bubbling

Exposure To heat

If painting is done over a heated surface, it is very likely that bubbling occurs eventually. Heated walls are common in homes that use heaters instead of air conditioners. Or in areas with generally hot climatic conditions.

This keeps the wall surfaces heated up for most hours of the day. Likewise, paint bubbles are also common in parts of a building that are constantly exposed to sunlight which is a big source of heat, such as the external parts of the house, or kitchens with constantly opened windows.

When the painting is done on heated surfaces, it may become too warm for the paint to adhere to the wall, and the result – bubbling.

For areas that are constantly exposed to sunlight, the top coating of the paint may dry off before the one underneath does, which consequently causes the paint to get damaged. Therefore it is important to limit the amount of wall exposure to sunlight. Use curtains or blinds in kitchens and bedrooms.

Correcting the damage

If your paint starts to bubble there are a few things you can do. But first, know that you can decide the leave the bubbles if you want to, but if you don’t, you can also fix it. Paint bubbling alone may not be so obvious on the wall and can be fixed by simply placing a heated iron on the bubbles for about 30 seconds, then removing the iron and allowing the surface to cool.

However, note that this works for paint bubbling caused by moisture. If you are not sure whether the paint has bubbled because of excess moisture, there are other methods to try out.

This can also work if the paint bubbling is caused by heat or improper wall preparation.

Correcting the damage

What you need

  • A putty knife
  • Sandpaper
  • Primer
  • Paint
  • Rags/dusters

How to do it

Using a putty knife, scrape off the paint bubbles on the wall, then sweep them off the floor to create a clean working environment. Use the sandpaper over the wall to eliminate dirt and create a surface to the paint to adhere to. If there is an uneven surface on the wall, go over it again with sandpaper.

After sanding, clean the surface with the rag or dusters to further remove particles on the wall and create a smooth surface for you to apply the primer. Use a primer that works well with the type of paint that you want to use.

If you don’t know which one it is, ask for a primer at the paint store, and if they offer painting services, you can as well let them do it for you. Latex and oil-based primers are usually very effective for blocking stains.

How to do it

When you’re done priming, allow the primer to dry up then you can start repainting. Before fixing paint bubbles, it is preferable to identify the cause of the problem and correct it. If it is an effect of a leaking pipe or roof, ensure that you have it repaired before fixing the bubbles.

However, this can be a little difficult for houses in waterlogged areas. The most effective way to prevent further damage to walls in such a situation is to install tiles on walls, either completely or halfway with paintings.

Paint bubbling can be a thing of concern especially if located in visible areas on the wall, so the best way to handle it is by prevention. If the paint bubbling on your wall is not an effect of the factors mentioned earlier in this article, then you may want to check your home for termites, these are also likely to cause damage to walls.


Sumona is a persona, having a colossal interest in writing blogs and other jones of calligraphies. In terms of her professional commitments, she carries out sharing sentient blogs by maintaining top-to-toe SEO aspects. Follow her contributions in SmartBusinessDaily and RealWealthBusiness

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