I just bought a house. The investor painted it about 2 months ago with semi gloss interior paint. I am not sure if paint has fully dried because it feels slightly rubbery when I run my fingers across it. The house seems to have a high humidity problem also where it can range in the 50 and 60 percentages. There is a chemical smell in the house still but I have air meter and it did not show any abnormal VOCs counts.

Here is a video of me taking the picking up the base off the painted mantel. The very first time you will here a slight noise like it was sticking to the surface. After that, there will be no noise because the suction was broken. The next day it will happen again. Its like that for other objects on the mantel. Is this normal for paint to be like this when something sits on it? https://youtube.com/shorts/ZV77qwWWRQA?feature=share

  • 50-60% humidity isn't in the least bit unusual where I live, especially in the summer even with the AC running. It isn't particularly pleasant, but it's not excessive by any means. Chemical smells can come from things other than paint - was there new carpet or vinyl flooring installed?
    – FreeMan
    Commented May 6, 2022 at 13:12
  • New tile flooring. Sometimes the humidity would reach 65%. Would that be your case also?
    – dman
    Commented May 6, 2022 at 14:48
  • 2
    We have an annual humidity festival, runs generally May-Sept. Often temps in the 90s(F) with humidity to match. The only thing that keeps me in this part of the country is my wife. The weather is miserable.
    – FreeMan
    Commented May 6, 2022 at 16:19
  • 1
    Sounds like normal latex paint to me. Commented May 7, 2022 at 3:36
  • latex full cure? : "Depending on color choice, atmospheric conditions, and other variables, latex paint may take up to 60 days for a “full cure”. Latex paint can be put to normal use after a day or two, but should be allowed to cure for at least 14 days before attempting to wipe or wash the walls."
    – Mazura
    Commented May 7, 2022 at 16:44

3 Answers 3


If you can do so, try a cycle of

  1. Ventilate the room for a few hours - leave all the windows/doors open ideally on a warm day. This will clear the air.
  2. Close up the house and run heaters/dehumidifier for the rest of the day. Aim to raise the temperature to "t-shirt" if you can.

If you're living in the house, avoid using unflued gas heaters, and cooking in a way that makes a lot of steam. If you have and use a drier, check that it has a flue to the outside that works and doesn't leak.

Essentially you want to help the paint to set and develop a harder skin.

If you have access to the original paint buckets or know the brand, then read the instructions closely and look for info on curing. It may be that the place has been too cold/damp for final curing to happen.

Sadly it may also be related to initial surface preparation or painting over an incompatible prior layer. This would be more likely to show as paint peeling from poor adhesion.

An alternative approach might be to attach self-adhesive cork or felt pads to the underside of items as a buffer, but this might leave tiny fragments of material stuck to the paint

Your last resort is to remove the paint and do-over with quality paint. I would be leery of painting over it.

  • How would I remove the paint?
    – dman
    Commented May 9, 2022 at 13:16
  • 1
    @dman might be another question right there. I'd try a hot air heat gun and a scraper in an inconspicuous area, to see if it peels off nicely. Since its tacky it probably won't sand off very nicely.
    – Criggie
    Commented May 9, 2022 at 22:35

Some paint never gives up its tackiness. My overhead door panels still stick together in warm weather 4 years after we painted them with a semi-gloss acrylic. It opens with a series of loud snapping sounds. Some is always chalky, so scuffs leave light colored marks. My toddler son's lower walls looked like chalkboards after a few months of play due to the flat sheen latex we used.

Paint manufacturers are constantly experimenting with different formulas to meet various appearance, performance, and environmental requirements, and you'll have to decide whether you can live with yours.

  • Was that from the overhead door panels paint not curing or because of the formula of the paint?
    – dman
    Commented May 6, 2022 at 15:38
  • I don't understand the distinction. One could describe any tackiness as being uncured.
    – isherwood
    Commented May 6, 2022 at 16:09

Wall paint shouldn’t be used for shelves or cabinets. When an object is set on “dry” wall paint and the paint sticks to the object, it is referred to as blocking. Find a good enamel( available in waterbased) for shelves and built ins.

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