For those new to home painting, it can be easy to assume that painting a wall is a straightforward task. It’s probably a lot like filling in the pages of a coloring book, right? Unfortunately, not exactly. A lot can (and does) go wrong. Unlike crayons on plain paper, there’s a lot more that goes into home painting than simply applying color. For one, there is the right type of paint to consider for the surface you’re painting on.

There are different types of paint (e.g. water-based, enamel, lacquer, etc.) and each is specially formulated depending on the surface it’s to be applied on (e.g. concrete, drywall, wood, metal, etc.). Matching the wrong type with the wrong surface can lead to adverse reactions.

Common Painting Mistakes: Using the Wrong Type of Paint for the Surface | MyBoysen

There’s a Wrong Type of Paint for the Surface You’re Working With

As previously mentioned, for those new to painting, know that there are several different types of paint—a quick look at the different labels on paint cans can tell you as much already. And, there’s a reason for it. Each paint product is specifically formulated for the surface they’re meant to be applied on. This is to ensure good adhesion and to provide adequate protection to the surface.

Hence, paint that’s manufactured for concrete surfaces, for example, will work best on concrete surfaces. To put it simply: concrete paint for concrete, wood paint for wood, metal paint for metal, and so on.

Note that some paints are compatible with more than one type of surface such as how Boysen Quick Drying Enamel can be applied on both wood and metal. It’s also common to find paint for concrete that’s also suitable for drywall. All of this leads back to ensuring the correct pairing of type of paint to type of surface.

This also emphasizes the importance of reading the paint packaging label in full as it should contain important information including the product’s intended use. Going against manufacturer recommendations will lead to paint problems. This includes “kumukulong pintura,” a phrase you may have heard before from your trusted pintor.

5 Most Common Paint Problems Caused By Water Seepage and Moisture | MyBoysen

What Happens When You Use the Wrong Paint

Pairing the wrong type of paint with a surface it’s incompatible with can lead to many unwanted consequences, one of which is kumukulong pintura. And no, this isn’t paint literally boiling on your walls.

One of the ways kumukulong pintura happens is when an oil-based product (such as enamel paint) which is typically for use on wood and metal surfaces is applied on a concrete surface (such as a cement wall inside your home). The result is a chemical reaction called “saponification.”

(Take note: There are other situations that lead to kumukulong pintura such as applying solvent-based paint over water-based paint. It’s a particularly common mistake when repainting. For now, we’re focusing on kumukulong pintura as a result of pairing incompatible paints and surfaces.)

So, what is saponification? You’ll notice saponification on your walls when the paint you’ve applied does not seem to dry. When you touch it, the paint will feel sticky or tacky even days after you’ve finished painting. You might even notice it as you’re painting—the paint you’ve just applied doesn’t seem to sit right or isn’t as smooth as it should be.

Another example is when you use paint meant for concrete surfaces on a metal surface, like for the gate of your house. Paints for metal surfaces are typically made with corrosion-inhibiting properties, meaning they will help prevent your gate from rusting. So, when you use paint for concrete surfaces, you miss out on this crucial feature of paints specifically for metals.

Using the wrong paint for the surface can also lead to other adverse reactions such as peeling, flaking, and paint aging faster than it’s supposed to.

Quick Guide to Painting Surfaces

The label on the paint can should say where it’s meant to be used. It’s good practice to always read a label in full. To give you an overview, here’s a Boysen infographic you can use as a quick guide:

Common Painting Mistakes: Using the Wrong Type of Paint for the Surface | MyBoysen

What to Do When You’ve Applied the Wrong Type of Paint

Unfortunately, there’s not much you can do at this point. In situations where unsuited paint is applied, the recommendation is usually to strip the surface bare and start all over again. The wrong paint was used, after all. There’s nothing you can apply over it to make it right.

Prevention is better than cure. And, in this case, it’s easier too. Such mistakes usually happen when the painter has not thoroughly informed themselves about the product before using it. Remember, doing a fair bit of research on proper procedures is necessary prep work before starting a project.

It’s always best to thoroughly read the label on the paint can before starting your project. The label will say which surfaces you can apply the paint. It may also contain other useful information such as if the product is best for interiors or exteriors (or both), the thinning solvent you should use for it, dry time for recoats, and more.

Tip: Comprehensive information about Boysen products can be found on the Boysen website ( To find info on a product fast, type the product name in the search bar.

When in doubt, it’s never a bad idea to ask someone more knowledgeable. The Boysen Technical Team will be happy to answer any questions and concerns you may have regarding painting and Boysen products. Send an email to or call (02) 8363-9738 local 413 to 418 during office hours for a one-on-one consultation.


Jill is a writer on a continuous journey to learn about paint and share them with you, the reader. She has an interest in the technical side of things but also thoroughly enjoys playing with colors. She likes calm greens, quiet blues, and mellow yellows best.

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