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Paint Problems: Chalking

Chalking is a process by which the surface of the paint degrades and some paint erodes or can be wiped off and occurs most frequently in alkyd paints. Chalking is easy to identify - a fine powder will come off on hands when wiped - and darker colored paints show visible signs of chalking more than lighter colored ones. House paints today have what's known as "controlled chalking" - special formulas designed to chalk at a slow rate. During a rain, small amounts of paint wash off, taking dirt and grime with it, cleaning the surface. It also results in a gradual reduction of the thickness of the paint coating. Chalk stains, caused by degrading alkyd paints, are extremely difficult to remove. Therefore, alkyd paints should not be used above brick or masonry surfaces as the chalk will run down on the masonry. To correct a pre-existing chalking problem, remove the excessive chalk by scrubbing the surface with a cleaner and water, then apply a coat of primer, followed by two coats of the new finish. Latex finishes are generally recommended because they are non-chalking, non-yellowing, and retain their flexibility much better than alkyd paints.


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