There are many reasons why coating defects or, worse, failures occur. They may occur due to inadequate surface preparation or incompatible product selection. In addition, improper application techniques, insufficient curing time, and under/overcoating can contribute to your asset’s protective coating or paint prematurely failing.

The cost to repair such failures may be extensive, particularly in lost revenue, liability issues, or other undesirable consequences. To avoid these ramifications, it is best to consult with an independent coating inspector like RFI Consultants. They can assist you in the prevention of these causes of coating defects and failures.

In addition to relying on the professional expertise of an independent coating inspector, consider enrolling in an educational course to gain a better understanding of the importance of proper surface preparation and coating selection. RFI Consultants also offers a presentation called “Understanding Coating Defects and Failures.”

We like to think of our consultation, inspection, and training services as an insurance policy in which you have absolute control. RFI Consultants is committed to achieving excellence in both the architectural and industrial coatings spectrum for various applications. We are further dedicated to minimizing coating defects and failures.

Common Coating Failures

Adhesion Failure

Painting over existing coatings, mainly when aging or damaged, can result in the new layer failing to adhere correctly to the substrate. In addition, adhesion failure can occur due to using an incorrectly specified coating system. A coating inspector can help you avoid adhesion failure by lending their expertise and identifying the correct products, surface preparation, and application method.


While not necessarily a coating failure, per se, you can prevent common types of corrosion, including uniform attack and pitting, just by using corrosion-resistant products identified during a coating consultation. NACE International estimates savings between 15 and 35 percent can be realized when applying the correct methods to prevent corrosion.


Wrinkling appears as wrinkles in the coating or painting system, often beginning during curing. Several factors must be considered during the preparation and application stage to prevent this type of failure. That includes but is not limited to proper mixing, surface preparation, and weather conditions. Other factors may also need to be considered, depending on the specific product and asset, making it an excellent idea to work with an independent coating inspector from the start.

Consult a Local Independent Coating Inspector

RFI Consultants is an Arizona-based and veteran-owned coating inspection and consulting company that provides commercial and industrial consultations and inspections throughout the Valley.

Our NACE-certified coating inspectors have the expertise necessary to identify the best protective coating for your commercial, industrial, or municipal asset. They will also address factors contributing to coating defects and failures, such as improper surface preparation, incompatible protection materials, and inadequate application techniques.

RFI Consultants’ services are designed to help prevent premature or catastrophic coating failures and, therefore, any potential implications. For more information about RFI Consultant’s coating inspection and consulting services, or to inquire about our coating training courses, please contact us at (480) 560-7182.


“Economic Impact: Assessment of the Global Cost of Corrosion.” NACE International.

Eyre, David. “5 Coating Defects That Can Be Avoided by Adhering to Coating Specs.” Corrosionpedia, January 22, 2018.