Go back
Protective Coatings

How To Correct Surfactant Leaching On Walls The Easy Way

how to correct surfactant leaching on walls

When you decide to paint your exterior walls, you do so in an effort to make them look more attractive and to protect them from damage and water ingression.

What you don’t expect is for the walls to look worse than ever, and for them to suffer from surfactant leaching – an unsightly residue from some types of paint that can ruin the look of your home, and often result in the job needing to be started right from scratch.

However, there are other exterior paint types that can avoid this issue, and may offer even better forms of protection for your home, as the following article reveals…

What Is Surfactant Leaching?

Surfactants are a necessary and important ingredient in latex paints, and are designed to allow the mixture to be applied with minimal fuss. However, these ingredients migrate to the surface of the paint after use, which can, in some cases, cause a variety of challenges to address.

Two common causes for concern occur when these surfactants fail to evaporate properly, or they come to the surface too quickly, with the end result a sticky brown residue that ruins the look of your paint job, and can be decidedly difficult to fix.

This can happen for a number of different reasons, including:

● Latex paint can take some time to dry or cure, and if the weather is humid, or there are high moisture levels, the surfactants can rise to the surface too early, and fail to evaporate.
● Latex paints used in high moisture areas such as bathrooms and kitchens are particularly prone to this problem. In addition to this, issues can also arise when paint is applied early or late in the day, as moisture or dew begins to settle on the freshly painted surface.
● Tinted latex paints are more likely to suffer with this issue, as extra surfactants are added to the mix to achieve the right colours. It may also show up more readily on darker paints as well.

how to correct surfactant leaching on walls

It is also stated that surfactant leaching is not a huge problem, as it occurs only when weather conditions are exactly right – such as on cool but humid days. Heavy dew in the Summer can also cause the problem – but this is unusual, and easily avoided by competent painters

Surfactant Leaching On Walls: Problems And Pitfalls

Paint manufacturers reassure their customers that surfactant leaching is perfectly normal and that it is nothing to worry about.

But if you have paid a £1000 to have your house painted, you do not want it to start looking streaky and blotchy after just one month – even if the finish will start to improve over time.

Additionally, you don’t want to have to maintain the finished paint job by constantly washing it – the whole point of having your home painted is to avoid maintenance issues altogether.

It is also stated that surfactant leaching is not a huge problem, as it occurs only when weather conditions are exactly right – such as on cool but humid days. Heavy dew in the Summer can also cause the problem – but this is unusual, and easily avoided by competent painters.

Surfactant Leaching On Walls: Savvy Solutions

It is recommended that after the painting is finished, you should keep a close eye out for any leaching, and immediately wipe away the brown residue as soon as you see it. In some cases – especially outdoors, rain will wash away the brown stains – but only on exposed areas.

In other places, you will need to wash it away by hand before it dries too hard, and becomes nigh impossible to remove.

Surfactant leaching cannot be painted over, and must be removed before you can try again with a new type of paint.

Always start and finish a painting job while the weather is dry if at all possible, and do not use showers until the paint is completely dry.

Surfactant leaching does not affect the durability of the paint – but it can look unsightly, and ruin the look that you were trying to achieve.

In most cases, people are advised to let the problem sort itself out, as the weather may allow the blotches to be removed naturally – but this may not be possible on non exposed walls. In this instance, it may be better to paint over it, with a paint that is designed for application in damp conditions.

Do not paint over the surface of the leaching until you are certain the leaching process is complete, and the paint is fully cured. By doing so, you could find that you are doubling the leaching process by locking in the moisture and the top coat may not adhere correctly.

In some cases, you may need to wait three to six months for the process of leaching to fully play out-although thankfully, this is a rarity.

how to correct surfactant leaching on walls

With the right preparation, the new paint can be applied directly over the existing layer, enabling you to rest safe in the knowledge that it will last longer, and look far better in the long run!

Surfactant Leaching On Walls: How Hydrophobic Paint Can Help

When it comes to the exterior of your home, it is best to choose a paint that will not suffer with surfactant leaching, and one that is designed for eradicating damp and moisture for good.

A hydrophobic paint is the perfect solution to this problem, as it will not suffer from the issue of surfactant leaching; instead it will improve the look of your home, and it is a great way to prevent water from seeping through, and leading to difficulties with damp inside.

These paints have a number of tangible benefits for all types of properties, including:

● They can be applied to almost any surface with a minimum of preparation. On most already painted surfaces, all that is needed is a power wash, and the removal of any dry or flaky paint.
● They offer a way to protect your exterior walls from water that might seep into the brick, or affect the grouting. This water can cause all kinds of problems including: cracks in the brick work, and interior damp and mould.
● They will prevent water from entering the wall cavity area of your wall construction, where it could cause your insulation to become wet, and, ultimately, render it ineffective.
● It allows you to add a further layer of insulation to the outside of your home. This can mean that your energy bills could come down, and your home is warmer.
● Hydrophobic paints are designed to be either coloured or clear so you can choose to keep your existing brickwork, and maintain the original look of your home.
● You can expect that these paints will last 15 – 20 years, as this is the extent of the manufacturer’s guarantee. There are very few household paints that offer this level of longevity, and it means you will avoid that bi-yearly repaint of your home that you will need to do with other paints – including latex paints.
● There is no problem with surfactant leaching with hydrophobic paints, as they are designed with damp conditions in mind.
● Once applied, these paints are marvellously maintenance-free; they will keep doing the required job for many years to come. In particular, they will not get as dirty as other paints, as the hydrophobic surface means that dirt runs right off.

Even if you have already had your home painted with a latex paint, and have experienced issues with surfactant leaching, it isn’t too late to choose a more suitable paint to apply to your property’s walls.

With the right preparation, the new paint can be applied directly over the existing layer, enabling you to rest safe in the knowledge that it will last longer, and look far better in the long run.

No more wiping down walls to remove brown residue-with a hydrophobic coating, you can look forward to a home that retains its exterior aesthetics over time-regardless of inclement weather. Take the first step to premium property protection today, by calling 0800 1700 636, or by simply clicking the button below!