Identify the Problem
Identifying the problem can be difficult. You should invest in a putty knife that will help you peel up chips of the peeling paint. When you peel up the paint, you can likely find the source of the problem. If the wall underneath looks rough and/or dirty, then that’s the issue. The wall underneath your paint should not be dirty, as walls should be gently washed before paint is applied. If you can see moisture either under or over the paint, that is likely the source of your issues.
You should be careful when peeling up paint chips, especially if you have children. If your house was built and painted before the 1980s, it could have lead paint. You can find a testing kit at most hardware stores; if you want to be absolutely certain, you should send some paint chips off to a lab.
Once you’ve identified the problem, you’re ready to move forward.
Prepare the Space
You need to get everything you need in one place before you get started. You’ll need your putty knife to peel up the old paint; it will also be used to apply a repair putty if you have cracks or damage to the wall. If the problem is moisture, make sure you seal up any possible leaks with the putty. You’ll need repair putty, the putty knife, a fine grit sandpaper, a tack cloth or damp sponge, primer, and paint.
Get to Work
Once you’ve got everything assembled and ready to go, you can start working. You should peel up as much damaged paint as possible. If you are not worried about paint matching, you can peel up only the damaged sections. If you want the paint to match, you’ll likely have to paint over the entire wall. Do not put latex paint over an oil-based paint or vice versa.
After you peel up the damaged paint, apply the repair putty to the damaged parts of the wall. Allow that to dry according to the directions on the container. Once it is dry, sand it smooth with a fine-grit sandpaper. Using a tack cloth or a damp sponge, clean up any dirt or residue that is on the wall to be painted.
If you used a damp sponge, make sure the wall is completely dry before you apply your primer. Apply the primer and allow it to dry. Finally, you can paint the wall.