farrow and ball paint problems

Farrow & Ball paints are renowned for their rich pigments and depth of color, but like any premium paint product, they can present challenges during application. This article will discuss common problems encountered when using Farrow & Ball paints, such as bubbling and peeling, and offer solutions to ensure a flawless finish.

The Problem: Paint Bubbling and Peeling

A frequent issue faced by decorators using Farrow & Ball paint is the appearance of bubbles and peeling soon after application. This problem can occur even on surfaces prepared with a mist coat, as reported by users who experienced bubbling on newly skimmed walls and ceilings.

Potential Causes of Bubbling and Peeling

  1. Issues with the Mist Coat: An overly watered-down mist coat or improper application may not provide a suitable base for the paint to adhere to. Farrow & Ball suggest that the problem might stem from applying the second coat before the first has fully dried.
  2. Plaster Drying Time: Paint bubbling can be caused by insufficient drying time of the plaster. Plaster needs to dry thoroughly, and applying paint over damp plaster can trap moisture, leading to bubbling.
  3. Surface Preparation: The surface texture and cleanliness of the plaster can affect paint adhesion. Surfaces that are too smooth or dusty may prevent the paint from adhering correctly.
  4. Environmental Factors: Conditions such as cold weather or moisture in the house can impact how paint dries and adheres to surfaces.

Solutions for a Successful Application

  1. Correct Mist Coat Ratio: Ensure the mist coat is not too watered down. Farrow & Ball recommend a 20% watered-down ceiling and wall primer for their products.
  2. Adequate Drying Time: Allow new plaster to dry completely before painting. This might mean waiting at least a week or longer, depending on environmental conditions.
  3. Proper Surface Preparation: Ensure the surface is clean, dry, and adequately textured for paint adhesion. Lightly sanding overly smooth surfaces can help.
  4. Avoid PVA as a Primer: PVA can create a seal that prevents paint from bonding correctly, leading to peeling. It’s advisable to use a proper primer or sealer suited for painting.

The Decorator’s Responsibility

  1. Professional Assessment: The decorator should take responsibility for preparing the surface and choosing the appropriate products. If problems arise, it is typically up to them to rectify the situation.
  2. Seeking Expert Advice: Engaging with Farrow & Ball’s customer service for their recommendations can provide additional insights into solving specific issues.


While Farrow & Ball paints offer exceptional quality, achieving the best results requires careful preparation and application. Understanding the nature of the product and the surfaces being painted, along with adhering to best practices for preparation and application, can prevent common issues like bubbling and peeling. In case of persistent problems, it’s essential to consult with professional decorators and seek advice from the paint manufacturer to ensure a beautiful and lasting finish.

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