I love to paint.  It’s relaxing and therapeutic for me.  Except when it’s not.


Ever have your paint just not want to stick?  That happened to me on this piece.  Here’s what to do when paint won’t stick.

when paint won't stick

 I was painting some old cabinet doors for a project.  I had cleaned the doors with Fusion’s TSP degreaser and scuff sanded. When I began to paint, I realized that paint wasn’t going to stick!

This is called “lacing.”  Something on the surface was interfering with adhesion!

paint lacing

I knew that painting more wouldn’t make a difference, so I took a wet paper towel and wiped off the paint.


When paint won’t stick it can be caused by several things.  Wax is a resist so if it’s been previously waxed, that can keep the paint from sticking.  Some pieces, especially IKEA things, can be coated with a fire retardant coating that keeps paint from sticking.  And sometimes the use of Pledge and other furniture polishes causes a buildup of silicone.  Paint won’t stick to silicone, either!


The solution is simple.  I grabbed a bottle of Fusion’s Odorless Solvent and scrubbed the surface down.  Sometimes I’ll use a green scrubby sponge to really loosen stuff up.  Odorless Solvent will dissolve wax and other residues that interfere with adhesion.  So I scrubbed and wiped back with a paper towel.  Repeat until the paper towel is clean.



scrub with odorless solvent

After the resist had been removed, I cleaned again with TSP and gave it a scuff sand.  I LOVE my sanding gloves.  They make scuff sanding SO EASY.

sanding gloves

After sanding I always wipe down with TSP again to clear away the saw dust.  Then it’s ready to paint.  I knew that  the paint should now stick.  If it didn’t I’d be pulling out Ultra Grip.


Good news!  This time the paint stuck!


So what started out as a frustration was an easy fix.  I should have checked for wax before I started.  You can do that by scratching the surface to see if you get wax residue under your fingernail.  With it being a kitchen cabinet, I didn’t think that was a possibility.  I suspect that the most likely culprit was a fire retardant coating.  There’s no way to test for that prior to painting.


So if you paint and get lacing, now you know what to do when your paint won’t stick!