Learn how to fix latex paint adhesion issues on enamel surfaces in your home. Get tips on sanding away latex paint and how to make latex paint adhere better with a primer.
LESLIE: Now we’re going to take a painting  question from David in Oklahoma. What’s going on at your money pit?
DAVID: Well, we have a house that I guess the people before hired some just handyman kind of guy and they gave him latex paint and I think that he’s painted latex paint on enamel.
TOM: Where is the paint? Are we talking about the trim inside the house or outside? What have we got?
DAVID: No, no. It’s inside. It’s on the trim and also on some of the walls. Some of the walls are a natural wood but most of them are painted.
TOM: So basically we’re having an adhesion issue here?
DAVID: Oh, yes. You can just rub it with your thumb and it’ll come off. So of course if you’re ever moving things around and you bump something …
DAVID: … it really comes off.
TOM: Well, you bring up a common problem, David, and that is that you can’t put latex on top of enamel without you at least prepping the surface. Prepping the surface when you’re changing from an enamel to a latex means sanding it and also hitting it with a primer. The primer is the glue that makes the paint stick and if they’ve skipped that step then this is going to be a constant problem. So unfortunately there’s no magic solution here that’s going to stop the problem from happening. When you have a bad adhesion problem with paint it’s going to be a matter of you sanding off what’s there trying to get to a durable surface that’s not peeling …
LESLIE: What about using a stripping agent to sort of help you get further along than just sandpaper would?
TOM: Well, he certainly could do that but I don’t think you have to strip it down to raw wood. You certainly have to rough up the old surface. If this latex coat is coming off pretty easily you could probably do this all with sandpaper.