Decorating Interior Painting Painting Tips How to Fix Peeling Paint and Prevent Walls from Chipping Again Paint peeling off walls can be an eyesore for homeowners. Tackle the issue easily with this step-by-step guide. By Kelly Roberson Kelly Roberson Website Kelly Roberson is a home and garden writer with more than 20 years of experience as a writer and editor. She has been a project manager, editor, and writer for a long list of magazines, including many gardening, home design, and holiday crafts titles. Learn about BHG's Editorial Process and Jessica Bennett Jessica Bennett Instagram Jessica Bennett is an editor, writer, and former digital assistant home editor at BHG. Learn about BHG's Editorial Process Updated on May 26, 2022 Share Tweet Pin Email Project Overview Working Time: 1 hour Total Time: 12 hours Skill Level: Beginner Estimated Cost: $30 The telltale signs of peeling paint are hard to miss—spidery cracks, holes in the paint surface, even large strips or sections of paint that come off on their own. The reasons for peeling paint can vary widely. Painting over dirty walls, excess moisture, improper prep, and using latex paint on top of oil paint can all affect the paint's adhesion and cause it to eventually begin flaking off. To solve the problem, you'll need to remove the peeling areas and start over with fresh coats of primer and paint. Use our step-by-step guide to learn how to fix peeling paint. Before you get started, it's important to determine whether the peeling paint contains lead. If your home was built prior to 1978, it could have lead-based paint, which can pose serious health risks, especially for children. You can find testing kits at hardware stores, but to be sure, hire a certified company to collect chips and send them to a lab for testing. If you think your home has lead-based paint, do not try to fix the peeling paint yourself. Instead, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recommends hiring a professional from their approved list of providers who can follow lead-safe work practices. Dana Gallagher What You'll Need Equipment / Tools Personal protective equipment Plastic drop cloth or tarp Wire brush or paint scraper Putty knife Paint roller or brush Materials Painter’s tape Patching compound Fine-grit sandpaper Primer Paint Instructions How to Fix Peeling Paint Peeling paint needs to be removed before you can paint over the surface. Follow these instructions to repair peeled paint. BHG / Sanja Kostic Prep Your Workspace Even if you don't have lead-based paint, you should protect yourself by wearing a safety mask, glasses, and gloves. Regardless of the size of the area, or the type of paint used, place a large piece of plastic or a tarp in the area where you're working to catch any stray pieces of paint. Tape off nearby trim areas, such as baseboards, and remove any furniture, rugs, or other finishing from the space. Place drop cloths around the room to keep paint off other surfaces. BHG / Sanja Kostic Remove Peeling Paint Areas If your paint is peeling, you'll need to remove it from the affected area. Use a wire brush or paint scraper ($13, The Home Depot) to scrape off all loose paint. Don't use too much pressure while scraping, or you might damage the surface underneath. BHG / Sanja Kostic Make Any Necessary Repairs Once the peeling paint is removed, you might be left with cracks or holes in the wall. Any damage should be fixed before you repaint. Apply a patching compound ($10, The Home Depot) with a putty knife, as needed. Smooth the surface and let dry according to the manufacturer's directions. BHG / Sanja Kostic Establish a Smooth Surface Whether or not you've had to patch the peeling paint area, you'll want to sand the space in order to ensure a wall surface free of any grooves or lines. Use very fine-grit sandpaper to smooth the area down. Run your hand over the surface to ensure it's completely even with the surrounding wall. BHG / Sanja Kostic Clean the Area The area should be completely clean to allow the new paint to adhere properly. Using either a tack cloth or a lightly damp (not wet) sponge, wipe off the area to be painted. Wipe the surface again with a clean, dry rag and let it dry thoroughly. BHG / Sanja Kostic Prime the Walls If moisture was the cause of peeling paint, it's particularly important to protect your newly painted area from having the same problem. Primer can help seal the surface, protect against moisture, and allow the paint to properly adhere. Cover the area with primer, allowing the surface to dry according to the manufacturer's directions. Paint Walls Your wall is now ready to be painted. Apply the first coat evenly over the prepared area. Dry according to the manufacturer's directions; apply a second coat if necessary and let dry. Remove the tape and drop cloth and enjoy your new smoothed-out surface! Ready to paint? Get inspired by The Better Buy, our new podcast. On this episode, Carmeon Hamilton shares how to "Elevate the Everyday" in any space, from a rental to a home remodel, and why a DIYer's first project should be to learn how to paint a room.