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Fresh Paint Inc. - Commercial and Industrial Painting Services - St. Paul Minnesota

What causes paint chalking?

At Fresh Paint, we’re well acquainted with paint woes, and few are as infuriating as paint chalking. When your beautiful coat of velvety paint starts defecting onto your clothing in a powdery film, you don’t have to give up and call it a fashion statement—We have better solutions. We’re smart that way.

First Thing’s First: Why is Your Paint Chalking?

All paint is made of three key ingredients: Pigment (that’s the color), solvent (that’s what dissolves the color), and binder (that’s what binds it all together.) When those three constituents separate, chalking occurs. The binder deteriorates, so the pigment loosens and attaches itself to your gorgeous black suit.

You can point the blame at oxidation—the very same process that turns your chopped apples brown. It’s an ordinary weathering event that happens when an oxidizing substance like paint (or apples) comes into contact with heat and oxygen. In other words, sunlight is the most common culprit, but time is equally to blame. You can’t put the sun in a closet or turn back time outside The Matrix, but there are a few more rational solutions. We’ll get to those in a minute, but first, we need to stop for an ad break.

At Fresh Paint, we only use the highest quality paint. It can withstand UV rays for longer, which means you can impress your beau with a flawless suit. We’re romantic that way, but if you didn’t hire Fresh Paint to handle your coatings, you might be facing premature oxidation. Bet you wish you’d hired us now.

Second Thing’s Second: Can You Prevent Oxidized Paint?

All paint oxidizes eventually. Some coatings just get there sooner than others. As your parents always told you, prevention is better than cure, and it’s fully within your power to extend your chalking timeline by:

  • Choosing high-quality paint.
  • Choosing a quality paint specialist like Fresh Paint.
  • Not thinning your paint before you apply it.
  • Choosing a quality paint specialist like Fresh Paint. Oh. Did we say that already? Well, it’s really, really important.
  • Using lighter, less UV-absorbent colors.
  • Using inorganic pigments that are more resistant to sunlight.
  • Using a good primer and sealant on porous surfaces.
  • Regularly cleaning your exterior coatings.
  • Choosing a quality paint specialist like… you know the rest.

If you take industrial properties maintenance seriously, you’ll need to prevent hot/cold temperature cycling, which stresses your coating system. A climate-controlled building will keep your staff cozy while prolonging your paint. If your warehouse is situated in a coastal region, salt and humidity will accelerate deterioration, so it’s worthwhile to wash down your walls regularly.

Why You Should Care

Paint chalking makes the industrial properties maintenance field a lot harder to manage. In this industry, aesthetics are everything. If your paint is dull and powdery, clients will assume your brand is just as unimpressive. The way you care for your property reflects on the way you care for your clients and staff. Interior oxidation can have even harsher repercussions. That powdery substance can infect your products or manufacturing process. Can anyone say “product recall”?

Choosing Your Coating

Some paint chalks faster than others. The right coating will serve you for several years. Vinyl-acrylic blends are chief offenders in the chalking problem, as are low-grade, heavily pigmented coats. It’s worth noticing that using interior paint for outdoor surfaces may not provide the best outcome. That’ll serve you right for cutting corners with your industrial property maintenance responsibilities.

Your choice of pigment determines how UV-responsive your coating is as well.

You’re looking for organic pigmentation. Since solvent plays a big part in chalking, the most resistant coatings have a 100% acrylic, water-based finish laid over a well-prepared and primed surface. If your paint is solvent-based, that solvent will ultimately fail. Duh.

The oil in coatings oxidizes, too, so you’ll want to eliminate it as much as possible, particularly on the exterior of your property. Latex and latex-acrylic blends are also an option, but the price you pay is just as important. Cheap binders and pigments will separate sooner, so if you pay a little more at the outset, you’ll pay a lot less over time. Save money by spending money. You’ll be so glad you did.

Is it Really Chalking, Though?

There’s a reason paint oxidation is called chalking. Chalked paint behaves a lot like chalk. It rubs off as a powdery substance on your hand or clothing, so choose a high-contrast cloth and rub it against your wall. If it returns coated in a chalky substance, you can safely assume it’s chalking. Isn’t logic fun? That said, you’ll need to determine the difference between dirt and chalking. If it’s the color of dirt, it’s dirt. If it’s the color of your paint, it’s chalking. Yep. We’re really getting good at this logic thing.

Chalking also lightens the hue of your surface. If you’re experiencing discoloration, perform the cloth test. Then pat yourself on the back for becoming a True Paint Expert™ like Fresh Paint.

Can You Cure Paint Chalking?

There’s no permanent cure for pant chalking, but you can certainly put off repainting for a while with a few industrial property maintenance tricks. A wire brush or sandpaper can work wonders with minor chalking, particularly if you add baking soda to the process. Heavy chalking needs a pressure wash or sand blast, which is best followed by a thorough detergent-based wash.

You won’t necessarily require a new primer, but if your wash didn’t have the desired effect, you’ll need a penetrating additive when you recoat your surface. Don’t get too excited yet, though. Even a thorough wash and repaint isn’t a guaranteed solution. If your recoat has left you with noticeable chalk, an alkyd-based primer, and high-quality top coat might be required. That’s a lot of hard, sweaty work, though, so is it really worth it? Let’s find out in our next paragraph, which is reliably called…

Is it Really Worth it?

Once chalking has begun, it’s irreversible, so there’s no perfect cure for severe oxidation, no matter how fastidiously you handle a fresh coat of paint. If your old coating is in the final stage of heavy oxidation, it will have a dull surface that’s difficult to restore. If you spray a clear coat over it, it’ll look as pretty as The Incredible Hulk wearing a tutu. In other words, awful and embarrassing.

Restoration requires you to remove all chalked paint. If oxidation has penetrated all the way to your wall surface, your preparation stage will leave you without any paint to restore.

At Fresh Paint, we think there’s nothing better than a fresh coat of paint. It’s right there in our name. Paint chalking is one of our most despised enemies, but fortunately, we know precisely how to defeat it. You can count on us to get your industrial property back into tip-top shape.

Fresh Paint Inc. Image Matters

We are ready to help L.I.F.T. yours for an impeccable appearance.


Fresh Paint Inc. is a trusted provider of commercial painting services in Minneapolis dedicated to helping businesses achieve exceptional results. From evaluating the condition of your building to preparing surfaces and selecting the right paint, our team of professionals will manage the entire preparation and paint process.

Contact us today to learn more about our commercial painting services and request a consultation.

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