How To Fix Fisheyes In Paint?

Fisheyes in paint are a common issue faced by many painters, both amateur and professional.

These small, crater-like imperfections can ruin the appearance of an otherwise perfect paint job.

Understanding the causes and solutions for fisheyes is essential for anyone looking to achieve a flawless finish. Fix Fisheyes Paint

Key Takeaways:

  • Fisheyes are small, crater-like openings in the finish after it has been applied.
  • They are typically caused by oil and grease on a coating substrate.
  • Proper surface preparation can prevent fisheyes.
  • There are specific solutions and products available to fix fisheyes.

What Are Fisheyes?

Fisheyes are small, circular voids or separations that appear in the paint shortly after application. They are characterized by their crater-like appearance and are typically caused by contaminants such as oil, grease, or silicone on the surface being painted.

Causes of Fisheyes


The primary cause of fisheyes is contamination on the surface being painted. This can include:

  • Wax, silicone, or grease: These can be left behind from cleaning products, previous paint jobs, or even from touching the surface with oily hands.
  • Airborne contaminants: In some cases, contaminants in the air, such as aerosol sprays containing silicone, can settle on the surface and cause fisheyes.

Improper Surface Preparation

If the surface isn’t adequately cleaned and degreased before painting, fisheyes are more likely to occur. It’s crucial to ensure that all contaminants are removed from the surface before applying paint.

Preventing Fisheyes

Thorough Cleaning

Before painting, the surface should be thoroughly cleaned with a wax and silicone remover. This will help to remove any contaminants that could cause fisheyes.

Use of Quality Paint

Using high-quality paint can also help to reduce the risk of fisheyes. Some paints are formulated to resist fisheyes and other imperfections.

Proper Spraying Technique

When spraying paint, it’s essential to maintain a consistent distance and speed. This can help to ensure an even coat and reduce the risk of fisheyes.

Fixing Fisheyes

If fisheyes do occur, there are several methods to fix them:

  1. Wet Sanding: Once the paint has dried, the affected area can be wet sanded to remove the fisheye. After sanding, the area can be repainted.
  2. Use of Fisheye Eliminator: Some products are designed specifically to eliminate fisheyes. These can be added to the paint before application.
  3. Repainting: In severe cases, the best solution may be to sand down the affected area and repaint it.

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Understanding the Root Cause

Before diving into the solutions, it’s crucial to understand the root cause of fisheyes. As mentioned earlier, contamination is the primary culprit. Whether it’s silicone, wax, grease, or even airborne contaminants, these impurities prevent the paint from adhering smoothly to the surface.

Advanced Techniques to Fix Fisheyes

Using Fisheye Eliminators

Fisheye eliminators are additives that can be mixed with the paint before application. They help in reducing the surface tension of the paint, allowing it to flow over contaminants without forming fisheyes.

Reapplying Clear Coat

In some cases, applying a fresh layer of clear coat can help in masking the fisheyes. However, this is more of a temporary solution and might not be effective in the long run.

Professional Insights on Fisheyes

For a deeper understanding, here’s a video by 3M application engineer Kevin Ansell, where he discusses identifying and fixing fisheyes:

Preventive Measures

Maintaining a Clean Environment

Ensure that the painting environment is free from dust and contaminants. Using a dust extraction system can help in achieving this.

Using Quality Products

Always opt for high-quality paints and solvents. Some products are specifically designed to resist fisheyes and other paint defects.

Regular Equipment Maintenance

Regularly clean and maintain your painting equipment. Ensure that the air lines are free from oil and moisture.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can fisheyes be prevented entirely?

Yes, with proper surface preparation and by ensuring a contaminant-free environment, fisheyes can be prevented.

Are fisheyes and paint bubbles the same?

No, while both are paint defects, fisheyes are caused by contaminants, whereas paint bubbles are often due to trapped air or moisture.

Can fisheyes damage the surface?

While fisheyes don’t cause direct damage, they can compromise the aesthetic appeal and protection offered by the paint.

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