How to Paint Over Flaky Paint

Updated April 17, 2017

Repainting a surface with peeling and flaky paint won't work unless you prepare the surface properly. Painting directly over flaky paint will leave you with an ugly mess and ruin the new paint. The best way to correct a problem with flaky paint is to remove the paint and start with a smooth surface. This will ensure that the new paint adheres to the surface and leaves you with a smooth, lasting finish.

Put on safety goggles. Scrape flaky paint from an affected area using a paint scraper. Do one area at a time so you can clean up the mess from each area as you go.

Sand the area where you scraped the paint using a medium-grade sandpaper to smooth out rough spots and imperfections.

Fill in small holes, dents and other flaws with a wood or drywall filler and then sand until smooth.

Clean the surface with a mix of water and household soap or speciality wall cleaner, using a large sponge or microfiber cloth to remove film, dust and debris.

Apply fresh paint to the area.


Repaint the surrounding area where flaky paint is present. For example, repaint the entire wall and not just the section where paint is peeling. When you remove flaky paint inside, make sure that you have adequate ventilation and that you thoroughly vacuum the paint chips and dust. Exterior flaky paint can be removed with a scraper and power sander at the same time because the area is larger and the mess is easier to clean. When you work outside, cover plants that may get contaminated by the paint remnants.


Wear safety goggles to keep paint particles and dust out of your eyes. You may need to wear a respirator to protect yourself from breathing in toxins.

Things You'll Need

  • Safety goggles
  • Paint scraper or putty knife
  • Sanding tools
  • Wood or drywall filler
  • Wall cleaner or soap
  • Sponge or microfiber cloth
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About the Author

Milenna Russell has a Bachelor's degree in mass communications from the University of Utah. She has been a freelance writer since 2004 and writes for several web-content sites including Lifetips, Ehow and Associated Content.