Can You Paint Over Peeling Paint? (Cracked, Chipped & Flaking Paint)

As tempting as it may be, cutting corners rarely saves time in the long run. This is certainly true when it comes to painting over peeling paint, so here’s why it’s not a good idea.

It’s not advisable to paint over peeling paint as the paint will begin to peel again within a few months. Cracked, chipped, flaking, or peeling paint needs to be removed before priming and repainting to ensure the paint adheres properly to the surface. Priming before painting ensures the paint lasts for many years.

My guide will take you through the necessary steps to ensure your paint job lasts for many years to come. I’ve included all the equipment you need, which you can purchase on Amazon by clicking the link.

How to Fix Peeling Paint Before Painting

If scraping your paint back to bare wood or concrete sounds unappealing, you can try repairing the peeling paint. This is both cheaper and faster than starting from the beginning.

You will need the following:

  • Fine-grit sandpaper
  • Wire brush and/or scraper
  • Painter’s tape
  • Drop cloth
  • Patching putty
  • Putty knife
  • Clean rag
  • Primer
  • Roller and brush

Step 1: Preparation

Protect the floor and any areas of the wall that you do not want to splash with paint. You may also want to use painting garbs if you want to keep your clothes decent.

Step 2: Scrape and Brush

Remove any residues and loose paint. Start by scraping off the peeling and cracked paint. Use a wire brush if you want to avoid gouging out the wall.

Step 3: Fill

Apply the putty with a putty knife. The fill does not need to be perfect, but try to keep it free of holes and level with the surrounding material. Wetting the knife can help with smoothing off the putty.

Step 4: Smooth

Let the putty dry to the point that there are no soft spots. Sand down any small imperfections with the fine-grit sandpaper. You will be able to tell if it is smooth by running your fingers over the surface.

Step 5: Clean

Any left-over residue and dust need to go if you are to have a good surface for the paint to adhere to. Use a damp cloth to wipe away particles of putty, dust, and other debris.

Step 6: Primer

After drying, you can apply the primer. The dryer the surface, the less the chance that you will end up with peeling or sticky paint.

Step 6: Paint

Depending on how well you painted on your primer, you may want to give the area a once-over. Use the fine-grit sandpaper to level the primer and a damp cloth again to wipe away any dust.

Once dry, you can apply the paint. For the best protection and coverage, you should paint any surface at least twice.

How Do You Fix Peeling Paint on Exterior Walls?

There is no point in repainting a peeling exterior wall until you pinpoint and treat the reason for the damage. Moisture retention is common in exterior walls and can lead to fresh paint flaking off in huge chunks.

Follow these tips to stop your paint from peeling off your wall:


All exterior walls should have a damp course, which prevents water in the ground from soaking up through the base of the wall. As the water rises, it will leave a visible damp mark, peel off paint, and you will also see mold growing.

A supporting wall should have a damp course, but peeling can be because of the lack of a primer or the use of a poor-quality sealant. Rain will also wash away protective coatings over time.

Most sealants last less than 5 years, though you can find long-lasting masonry creams that are good for over 20 years.


Check the weather before you set up all your painting gear. It seems like an obvious starting point, but it is surprising how many people get caught painting in the rain. Ideal paint conditions are between 40% and 70% relative humidity and between 40 and 70°F (4 – 21°C).

Even if the rain does not wash out all the color, it will wash out a lot of the chemical protection in the paint. The rainwater will also be a root cause for your paint flaking off the moment it begins to dry.

Scrape the Paint

You want to stop the paint from flaking as early as possible, as it will pull more paint with it and create voids that will gather water when it rains.

Scrape the loose flakes off and scrape away anywhere it looks like the paint is puffing out. Use a wire brush.

Cleaning Solutions

Salt crystals and mold can grow on the surface of brickwork. Mold will degrade and push the paint off from the surface of the wall.

This is why it is important to use a cleaning solution on the wall before painting. A cleaning solution will kill off mold spores and give you a clean surface to work on.

Air Bubbles

This is often due to old paint or a non-porous surface – trapping moisture beneath a newer coat of paint. You can pop the blister and remove the loose paint. But it is better to treat the surface with a primer to prevent it from happening again after you repaint.

Exterior Quality Filler

When it comes to filling, buy a superior quality poly-filler that states that it is suitable for exterior use. You want to fill any cracks or holes that may have developed over the years, as these are moisture traps. Vegetation can grow in these gaps and push them even further apart.

Exterior Primer and Paint

Use paint and primers with latex and with clear indications on whether you can use them for exterior walls. Acrylic latex paint is a popular and durable choice for an exterior that has high exposure to the elements.

The latex resists water and humidity, while the acrylics help protect against UV radiation from the sun.


For many people, this is an unrewarding chore, and it is difficult to get the new surface to look like the old one, especially if the pattern is complex. Though it is possible to reproduce simple textures with a brush, a roller, or a household sponge.

What Happens if I Paint Over Peeling Paint?

You can paint over peeling paint on wood, though the results will be poor, and it will not stop the peeling. If you have the time and the energy, it is better to remove all the peeling paint and start from the beginning.

A roller may end up pulling more paint away, so use a brush. You can try painting over small flakes with high-quality paint, but you are probably wasting time and money.

Follow the steps to help you find the reasons for your flaking paint, repair it well, and your paint should last for many years.

Joshua Milton

I want to share everything I know about home improvement in order to help you. Whether you're a home enthusiast or an industry professional, I have the information that you need.

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