Painting Tips: Preventing Wrinkling Paint



There is only one solution for wrinkling paint. You must first scrape off the wrinkled paint and then sand the affected area, blending it in with the surrounding unaffected paint. Then you must repaint the problem area. In some cases, you may need to use a primer, especially if you sanded down to the substrate.

These corrective actions, though necessary, waste time and materials, cutting into your shop’s profit. Nobody makes money on rework. Below is a list of probable causes for wrinkling paint as well as suggestions for preventing problems.

  • Thick applications of paint can cause paint to form a skin and wrinkle. Be sure that paint is thinned properly according to the manufacturer’s instructions and applied in thin coats. Multiple thin coats of paint are preferable to one heavy coat.
  • Painting in extreme heat can cause the surface of the paint to form a skin before the interior of the coating dries. The dried skin can then crinkle as it shrinks over the undried paint underneath it.
  • High humidity can slow down the curing process and also contributes to wrinkling. When painting in a humid environment, allow additional time for paint to fully cure.
  • Wrinkling can also result if a coating is painted on another coat of paint which has not cured sufficiently. To prevent wrinkling, make sure that the lower coats are dry before painting a top coating.
  • Make sure that primer and top coats are matched for compatibility. Ideally primer and top coat should be tested and evaluated prior to use.
  • Wrinkling also occurs after painting on a surface contaminated with grease, waxes or dirt. Follow proper surface cleaning procedures before painting.

Even if you follow every precaution, the unexpected can occur. The best that you can do to avoid wrinkling problems is follow my suggestions and always read and follow the information that the paint manufacturer provides.