Still smells and paint scrapes off easily.

Questions & AnswersCategory: Paint Types and Paint ProblemsStill smells and paint scrapes off easily.
Karin Antal asked 10 years ago

We painted our living room almost a month ago now, and it still smells like paint faintly, especially when the sunlight warms up the room. Also, the paint still feels slightly tacky and scratches off easily with a fingernail. We used Olympic premium interior latex paint that is environmentally safe. We did not prime the whole room first because it was a basic off-white color and was pretty neutral as far as gloss goes.

We did sand and prime problem areas, but it doesn’t seem to be any different in those areas either. Still scrapes off way too easily. What’s going on? Is it possible that the paint that was already there was oil-based? Do people still use oil-based paints indoors? We just bought this house 8 months ago and it had been freshly repainted.

We’re confused and now concerned that we have a big problem. We have 3 kids, and smelling those fumes isn’t good for them, even if the paint is “safer”. It’s still paint fumes.

I look forward to your response. Thank you.

1 Answers
Crowder Painting answered.

It is possible the paint is still curing but it should have a good bond after a couple of weeks. I don't know much about Olympic products, don't use them, but all good paints will cure rather fast and dissipate any smell quickly while curing.

For most paint manufactures the environmentally friendly part is really a ploy to increase sales. Most paints are low VOC now and the government doesn't regulate much so any manufacture can state it's safe(er) for you and your family. Unless it states on the can and MSDS (material safety data sheet) zero VOC, use zero VOC tints and doesn't contain all of the bad stuff that most paints do then it really isn't any safer than any other paint.

FYI: You can request a MSDS from the retail store before purchasing and they must, by law, provide this information. If they don't know what an MSDS is then they are not a paint store! You should purchase from a real paint store not a hardware store.

It could be a bad batch of paint. First contact the manufacture, number should be on a paint can, and describe what is happening. They will want other info from the paint cans.

Now go to the retailer where you purchased the paint and let them know what is happening.

I recommend opening windows and ventilating the areas effected by the smell. Keep them open as long as possible.

If this is bad paint, fixing this situation won't be easy. All recently painted areas will need priming, shellac primer would be best to stop the smell, and repainted. Shellac primer has a strong alcohol smell so this won't be pleasant.

For a true environmentally safer paint try Mythic Paint. I do use them and there is no smell but the cure is a bit slow, about a week here in Colorado. All paints will cure slower where you live due to higher humidity. Both Benjamin Moore and Sherwin Williams have good zero VOC paints and great customer support.