While finishing my door, I've noticed a lot of small air bubbles after applying the finish. I asked a painter about it and he told me it's normal, but it doesn't seem normal to me. Is this normal or should I hire some other person?

4 Answers 4


It can be a problem when drying conditions are too fast for the finish to release the bubbles. Here are some strategies to try.

  • Good quality brush, china bristle (boar) for oil
  • Slight thinning (up to 10%).
  • Drying extenders (retarders): Floetrol for latex, Penetrol for oil based paints and stains
  • Don't shake your finish, stir only (to prevent mixing air into finish).
  • "Tip off" slowly (lightly drag brush almost laying flat, no pressure) to integrate sections and even out finish.
  • HVLP spraying is within home user capability and pricing.
  • 4
    I'll add another tip: don't squeeze the brush along the rim of the can. Especially with foam brushes this can introduce a lot of air. To get excess finish off the brush just let it trip for a moment, or gently swing it against the insides of the can.
    – Hank
    Jul 20, 2013 at 15:33

If you're using a varnish and a paintbrush it's fairly common. You can apply varnish or oil with a rag and that will cut down on the bubbles but they aren't a big issue most of the time.


I found that thinning was the key - had to experiment a little but once I got used to it the results where very good.I would go so far as to say that almost nothing can go from the can to the project some kind of thinning or cutting back on product is essential .


I find that the bubble almost always disappear during the drying process. Don't pop them.

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