Household Tips: How To Prevent And Treat Wax Bleeding

Explanation of wax bleeding and it's causes, how to treat it, and steps to prevention.

It's never a positive experience when your once beautifully painted walls, ceilings, or hardwood exteriors suddenly take on a wet, waxy look. This waxy phenomenon is also known as wax bleeding. Unfortunately, wax bleeding is quite common and serves as an indicator that the surface was not painted or treated correctly in the past. Luckily, even the worst case of wax bleeding can be treated and simple steps can be taken to help guard your home against it in the future.

The term bleeding is used when referring to the discoloration that occurs on hardwood siding, exterior woodwork, repainted wallpaper, ceilings, or areas where dark colored paint has been covered by a much lighter color. Wax bleeding is most common in hardwood siding, but can be found anywhere that moisture and water-soluble dyes are found within the wood. Over time, these substances bleed through the top layer of paint or other surface treatment, leaving a waxy residue that traps dirt, dust, and grime.

Many factors contribute to wax bleeding such as the use of dark paints, as they have a tendency to soak up and hold on to heat and moisture. Also, areas that lack too few coats of paint are likely to stain due to lack of protection from sources moisture. Surfaces painted with products containing very low levels of binder as they allow for more wax migration are also susceptible to wax bleeding problems. Combined with other issues, areas with constant exposure to direct sun and heat will likely suffer the wax bleed process.



To correct discoloration caused by wax bleeding, you must first determine if your problem is truly wax bleeding. To do this, place a few drops of bleach on the discolored area. If there is no obvious bleaching on the surface, the stain is most likely wax. You can perform the same test using tap water. If the stain is wax, the water will bead and run off. If it is determined that the stain is due to wax bleeding, washing the area with dish soap and rinsing with clear water should be adequate for light staining. For severe staining, a heavier solvent such as mineral spirits may be necessary.

Once the staining has been removed, it's time to consider future protection against wax bleeding. Remember, the removal of excess moisture is necessary before further surface preparation should be done. The moisture problem can be easily treated using alkyd-based primers topped with high quality acrylic latex paint for exteriors. For interior surfaces, top quality alkyd based or acrylic latex based stain-blocking primer should be used, finishing with a top of the line acrylic latex paint.

Basic up-keep of your surfaces is of utmost importance, but depending on the environment you may always struggle a bit with wax bleeding. Understanding the reasons why some paint jobs or surfaces are susceptible to wax bleeding will help you plan your projects and maintenance to provide the most protection possible. The most typical causes for paint failure are moisture, insufficient surface priming, the improper application of paints, and weathering. Having knowledge of the surface you're working with, the proper paint to be used on that surface, and the proper technique to apply it will greatly reduce the risk of wax bleeding and related problems in the future.

© High Speed Ventures 2011