Deterioration of the paint film, resulting in excessive or rapid loss of lustre of the topcoat.

Possible cause

  • Use of an interior paint outdoors
  • Use of a lower quality paint
  • Use of solvent-based paint in areas of direct sunlight



Direct sunshine can degrade the binder and pigment of paint, causing it to chalk and lose its gloss. While all types of paint will lose some degree of lustre over time, lower quality paints will generally lose gloss much earlier than better grades.

The binder in top quality acrylic latex paint is especially resistant to UV radiation, while solvent-based binders actually absorb the radiation, causing the binders to break down.

Surface preparation for a coating showing poor gloss retention should be similar to that used in chalking surfaces (see Chalking).

More problem solving advice

When droplets appear on acrylic paint

Have you noticed small droplets appearing on your fresh coat of acrylic paint? Don't panic – it’s a normal part of the curing process. Find out more.


Yellowing describes the development of a yellow cast in aging paint solvent-based enamels. Find out more.


Wrinkling is a term used to describe a rough, crinkled paint surface occurring when paint forms a 'skin'. Find out more.

Tannin staining

Tannin staining is the brownish or tan discoloration on the paint surface due to migration of tannins from the substrate through the paint film. Find out more.