This article is featured on the Helium site and also a few others on the net. It's an informative article on how to fix common paint problems.
Common problems with paint, both in and outside the house include peeling, cracking, chipping, fading, and mildew. There can be several reasons for these problems occurring and they can be solved with a bit of paint and some other measures.
All paint, regardless of the brand, will last for a certain amount of years on its surface before it starts to "break down". Paint "break down" is when the first layer on your surface is failing. This is common in older homes with several layers of paint. When paint "breaks down", it will start to crack and peel from the wall or wood surface. This will cause the drywall or wood to be exposed. It may be hard to distinguish the paint from drywall at first look, if your walls are light in color. In this case, look to your chipped paint, feel the thickness and inspect it for fibers from the drywall.
Another reason for paint cracking and peeling is due to moisture build-up, excessive condensation, or a leak. You will often find mold and mildew concurrently with this problem because of the moisture. This is most commonly found in a bathroom because of ventilation problems. But this can happen in other parts of the house due to a leaky roof, or near outdoor shrubs. The moisture can pull paint off of the surface right down to the wall or wood in this case, as well, however, you will not see fibers in the chips of paint.
The last common problem with paint is fading color. This is mostly found as a common problem outside, but it can happen inside when certain colors are used for the interior walls. Color will fade when exposed to the sun in excess.
The good news about common paint problems is that they can be solved easily with a bit of time, primer, and paint. Paint brands are probably as vast as the paint colors themselves and have many features, benefits, warranties, and durabilities to them. Consulting a consumer magazine for comparisons, or asking a paint sales associate is best when you want "the best" for your money. However, I find that most brands fall under a general rule of thumb. Most brands will have a "good", "better", and "best" product and there can be a considerable difference to each.
Your "good" paints are not great at durability or removing stains from the walls or exterior surfaces. They will also only have a slight, (one year) if any, mildew resistance to them. Your "better" paints will remove stains or marks much easier from the surface and usually have about a three year mildew resistance. Your "best" paints have the highest durability and remove stains very easily. They also have the highest mildew resistance which is five years. Additives for mildew resistance can be purchased for paints, however, most paint stores will not recommend the additive to paint with a resistance to it already. The reason for this is because you can only get five years out of the resistance. They will also not suggest an exterior paint for an interior surface due to the additives in the paint. An exterior paint may be more durable because it has to withstand the elements, however, the fumes it may emit can be toxic indoors, therefore, it is not recommended to put an exterior paint on interior walls.
If your paint problem is mildew or mold, it can be cleaned off an interior surface using one part bleach to three parts water. Your exterior surfaces can be washed off with an exterior solution for a pressure washer. Both can be purchased at your local hardware store. You can also rent pressure washers at some stores for a weekend.
For peeling paint, scrape (or pressure wash) your surface, fill any holes with putty or spackle (putty for wood, spackle for walls), and then follow with a fine sanding. Gently wipe off the dust from the surface and allow it to dry completely before you paint. A rule of thumb for a pressure wash (or even a rainy day) is 24 hours, but check your manual and paint can for a better gauge.
To avoid fading color, most people will shy away from bright, bold colors like a deep red for example. If you like deep colors, but not the fading, look for hues that have a golden or ruddy tone to them. A paint associate can assist you with this by finding out how much yellow oxide or red oxide colorant is used for the particular color in question. Generally, if there is about one ounce or so of each colorant going into the tint base to make a color, it will be a color that will resist fading.
Once your surface is dry, you can start to prime. Priming is beneficial to your surface for proper paint adhesion. Primer works well for new drywall areas where peeling has occurred, areas where staining has occurred, and general prep from paint "break down". Primer can also save the homeowner time and money because a second coat (in most cases) won't be needed.
Your painting can start as soon as your primer is dry. Try to purchase the same batch code for your paint to have a consistent color. A batch code for paint is like a die lot for yarn, the color may be the same, but the shade may be different. If it is impossible to purchase the same batch code, mix your gallons together, or finish your project at a "natural break" in the room or outside. A "natural break" can be the end of the wall. After following these steps, your painting problems are over. Unless, you decide to change the color.