How To Fix Chalk Paint That Scratches Off With Your Fingernail!

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The unique look and texture of chalk paint has really helped its popularity spike over the last year or so with more and more people choosing to use chalk paint on their surfaces both inside and outside of their house. With so many people switching over to using chalk paint for their home decor projects, we have noticed more and more questions being asked from the community about getting the most out of their chalk paint with the best possible end result too.

A very common question that we have noticed more and more people reaching out and asking about recently is about chalk paint scratching off with their fingernail after its initial application. This does tend to be a very common “problem” with beginners using chalk paint but thankfully it is very easy to avoid in most cases.

In our experience, the most common cases of chalk paint being able to be scratched off with your finger nail is down to user error on the painters part but there is a small amount of blame with low quality chalk paint formulas too. Keep in minds though, the unique texture of chalk paint is not as tough and robust as a full gloss pain and it will always be on the flakey side by design.

Why Does My Chalk Paint Scratch Off With My Fingernail?

The most common reasons that your chalk paint will scratch off with your finger nail is due to you having used a low quality chalk paint, not having used a wax sealant, using your chalk paint on an unsuitable surface, and only using a single coat of your chalk paint on the surface. These are all very easy to fix and avoid in the majority of cases with minimal effort being required on your part.

If you are applying your shall paint to a surface that is out side such as a lawn chair then the weather during the painting session and during the drying time of the paint can come into play too. This tends to be rarer and depend on where you are living but if you are using a cheaper chalk paint, temperature and UV light from the sun can come into play.

Thankfully, it is quick and easy to avoid this one is many cases as you can usually bring something like a lawn chair indoors to paint it and while the paint dries. This can prevent the issues with the paint drying to be flakey and easily being able to scratch off with your finger nail.

How To Stop Chalk Paint Scratching Off With Your Fingernail!

The method to stop chalk paint being able to be scratched off using your finger nail is to use a high quality chalk paint, apply your first coat, leave it to dry, apply your second coat, leave it to dry, and finally apply a wax coat. This method has been proven time and time again to be able to deliver excellent end results for chalk paint users.

Although the final chalk paint wax layer is optional and can change the texture and look of the chalk paint, it can greatly increase the robustness of the paint once dry. This will be down to your own personal preference and budget though and many people don’t use wax and still get great results.

The rest of the method is pretty much set in stone though and is exactly how the major chalk paint brands recommend that you apply your chalk paint to your surfaces. Provided you follow it, you shouldn’t have problems and your chalk paint should be bonded to the surface correctly and not be easy to scrape off.

Use A Decent Chalk Paint!

A very common reason that you may be able to scrape your chalk paint off with your finger nail is due to using a cheap, low quality chalk paint formula. A decent chalk paint is usually only around $5 more than the cheaper formulas but offers much better performance once dry.

If you are having consistent issues with your chalk paint being flakey and easy to scrape off with your finger nail and you went with a cheaper chalk paint, we would highly recommend that you go with a better formula. Most people are surprised at how easy of a win this is an the difference that a better formula makes with the robustness of their chalk paint.

This is due to the majority of the cheapest chalk paint product on the market having been designed to maximise the profits of the producer so they use the lowest quality ingredients. These ingredients are often not used in the correct ratios too meaning that the performance is even lower than it could be so always try to go with a reputable paint formula.

Use A Wax Product!

As we touched on earlier in the article, using a chalk paint wax is not essential by any means with many people opting not to use it over their chalk paint but it can drastically improve how tough your paint is. The wax essentially forms a barrier over your chalk paint to protect it and prevent you from being able to easily scrape it off with your finger nail or any other means too.

The wax does tend to change the texture of your chalk paint though as well as the look in many cases. Different wax products do work in slightly different ways though with some of them being surprisingly low impact on the actual results of the wax paint when dry.

If you live in a colder area or an area that has colder temperatures during the winter months then a wax can help to protect your chalk paint as well as the surface that it is painted on too. You have to try and factor these additional benefits in when and where possible to as wax does more than just protecting your chalk paint.

Add A Second Coat!

Even though most chalk paint formulas clearly state on their label that you are required to apply at least two coats (sometimes three or even four coats) of the paint for optimal results, a huge number of people apply a single coat and then leave it. The unique formula of chalk paint is very different from other paint types and a single coat will almost always offer poor results.

You will be surprised at the difference that adding a second layer of chalk paint can make when it comes to preventing it from easily being scratched off with your finger nail. As the majority of chalk paint formulas have been specifically designed to be used with more than one coat, this not only helps to prevent your chalk paint from being easily scratched off but adds a number of other benefits.

We went into detail on this in our article going over how to prevent your chalk paint from being blotchy once dry but the main method is to apply at least two coats of chalk paint to the surface. Although applying more than one coat of chalk paint to the various surfaces you want to paint may increase the required budget for the project, it is almost always worth it and offers a much better end result.


That brings our article going over how to prevent your chalk paint from scratching off with your fingernail to an end. We hope that you have found it helpful and although people often make a number of easily avoidable mistakes with chalk paint, once you understand how to apply chalk paint, you can prevent yourself from making them.