When you’re new to painting, it can be silly to think that there’s a chance your paint won’t stick to wherever you applied it. But you can bet that it does happen, and several factors can increase your chances of encountering it. Let’s talk about paint adhesion.

What is Adhesion

In painting, adhesion is defined as how well a coating of paint sticks to a surface. It’s important because it has a direct effect on the durability and quality of your coating.

Paints with good adhesion will ensure that the coating will last long and be better able to beautify and protect your surface. When there’s poor paint adhesion, the coating will deteriorate faster and you see paint problems like peeling, flaking, and blistering.

Achieving Good Paint Adhesion

Good Paint Adhesion: Why It’s Important and How to Achieve It | MyBoysen

1. Have the Right Paint for Your Surface

New to painting? When buying paint, check to see if you’ve got the right kind for what you’re painting.

There are different types of paint (e.g. water-based, enamel, lacquer, etc.). And, each one is specifically formulated for the surface (e.g. concrete, wood, metal, etc.) it’s meant to be applied on. This is to ensure good adhesion and to provide adequate protection to the surface.

To put it simply: wood paint for wood, concrete paint for concrete, metal paint for metal, and so on. Matching the wrong type of paint with the wrong surface can lead to big headaches—and not limited to just bad adhesion either. (You can learn about it here.)

2. Don’t Skip the Primer

Working on a bare substrate? (This means your surface has never been painted before.) If you are, apply primer first.

Primers are designed to adhere directly to the substrate such as concrete, wood, or metal. Direct application of topcoat to a bare surface will lead to poor adhesion and eventually paint peeling.

Again, make sure it’s the correct primer for whatever you’re working on too. An easy way to figure out how is to check the painting schedule of your chosen paint product. It should say which primer is best.

Good Paint Adhesion: Why It’s Important and How to Achieve It | MyBoysen

3. Clean the Surface Well

Dust, dirt, or any other foreign materials can interfere with adhesion. Instead of sticking to the surface itself, the coating sticks to the contaminant. So, clean the surface well and clean it thoroughly.

Cleaning is part of a lot of surface preparation procedures that need to be done before the actual painting. If you don’t know the proper steps for your particular paint project, Let It B has useful beginner-friendly surface preparation guides ready for you. You can also find it on the Boysen website via the paint product you’ll be using.

4. Sand When Necessary

If you’re repainting, sanding is an important step of surface preparation. Sanding is done to introduce texture to your existing coating so that the new paint will be able to adhere better. Directly applying a new layer of paint without any sanding may cause the new paint to slip or flow on your surface. Don’t forget to wipe away the sanding dust after.

5. Address Paint Problems

Applying new paint over existing paint problems won’t make them go away. When repainting, you will need to address issues like peeling and chalking prior to your new coat. It’s for good adhesion but also to save you from wasting your energy and money. If you don’t, you’ll likely see the same problem arising with your new topcoat or it could even lead to more serious issues that will be harder to solve.

Have questions on paint adhesion or Boysen products? Feel free to ask us. Send an email to ask@myboysen.com or call (02) 8363-9738 local 413 to 418.


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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