5 of the Biggest Chalk Paint Problems

Chalk paint is a popular trend in the world of furniture upcycling. It has a beautifully soft finish look that truly brings life into furniture.

However, there are certainly some undesirable qualities in chalk paint that are worth taking into consideration.

This post will explore 5 common chalk paint problems. Think about these flaws before using chalk paint for your next project.

The cost

Possibly the biggest downside of chalk paint is the cost. Chalk paint is often roughly twice as expensive per fluid ounce as typical latex or acrylic paint.

Annie Sloan, the creator of chalk paint costs $1.33 per ounce, while Valspar signature paint (a popular latex paint) costs $.67 per ounce.*

As you can imagine, if you are buying chalk paint regularly over latex paint, this extra cost can add up.

To be fair, chalk paint’s coverage allows you to make the most of a relatively small amount of paint. But nevertheless, the cost can be a huge turnoff for many.

If you are planning on flipping furniture as a side hustle, you might not want to use chalk paint for every project. The extra cost can certainly eat into your profits.

Related: Chalk Paint Prep Best Practices for Furniture

Not durable (unless a top coat is applied)

While chalk paint looks amazing, it’s not as durable as latex or acrylic paint. A top coat is required with chalk paint to protect it from typical wear and tear. Applying a top coat for protection isn’t necessary for other paints.

Without a top coat of wax or protective finish, in some cases, chalk paint can be scratched off with a fingernail or rubbed off with a bit of pressure.

Prep is needed (in some cases)

Chalk paint brands often claim that you don’t need to prep your furniture at all before applying chalk paint. In many cases, this is true. Because chalk paint has such good adhesion, sanding and priming furniture really isn’t necessary. However, some furniture absolutely needs to be prepped before paint is applied. Failing to do this can result in a non-durable paint job. 

There are certain cases where prepping your furniture is a must. If you are working with wood with a high gloss oil-based finish or shiny veneer, lightly sand to remove the finish. Otherwise, the chalk paint won’t stick well at all.

Additionally, if there is an old layer of paint on the furniture that is flaking off, you will probably be better off completely sanding the furniture down and removing the old paint altogether before applying chalk paint.

Lastly, if you have applied wood filler or Bondo to any dents, scratches, or other areas of imperfection, be sure to sand down these rough areas before painting.

Related: Is Chalk Paint Toxic

Only available by certain providers

Annie Sloan, the brand company that founded Chalk Paint, sells its product through third-party independent distributors and its website. Similar chalky paint brands are only sold at specialty paint stores or via their websites.

That being said, there is a very limited selection of chalk paint brands at large hardware stores. For instance, at Lowes, you can purchase Rustoleum chalk paint, but the store doesn’t offer popular brands like Dixie Belle or Jolie. 

This might make purchasing chalk paint slightly more inconvenient for you, especially if you prefer shopping for paint in person. 

Cleaning chalk-painted furniture is difficult

Cleaning chalk-painted furniture can be very challenging. You can’t necessarily use the same cleaning solutions on chalk-painted furniture as you would with other furniture pieces.

With a top coat of wax on chalk-painted furniture, you need to be very delicate when cleaning to avoid damaging the layer of wax. Most of the time, all you can do is lightly brush off dust or liquid with a clean cloth. Rubbing too aggressively can remove the wax and some of the paint with it, resulting in an ugly spot of bare wood.

If you can’t clean a chalk-painted surface by simply wiping it with a cloth, the next best option is to reapply chalk paint over the affected area. Doing so certainly isn’t convenient by any means.

Final words

Often, DIY painters want to know if there are chalk paint flaws unique to certain chalk paint brands. For instance, painters often ask about Rustoleum chalk paint problems vs Annie Sloan chalk paint problems. Ultimately, the formulas for chalk paint are fundamentally similar among all brands. That being said, the consistency, adhesion, and appearance of good-quality chalk paint brands is practically the same across the board.

However, if you were to make your own chalk paint, you may run into various issues that you wouldn’t necessarily get with brand paints.

For instance, if you make your chalk paint too thick, you could have a tough time spreading it evenly along your furniture. The consistency could be gloopy rather than thin and uniform, which can be an issue in and of itself.



*Footnote: Calculation was made based on one liter of Annie Sloan paint and one quart of Valspar Signature latex paint

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