Paint With Confidence

Exterior Common Issues & Solutions


Text & image courtesy of the Rohm & Haas Paint Quality Institute


Patterned cracking in the surface of the paint film resembling the scales of an alligator.

Possible Cause

  • Application of an extremely hard, rigid coating, like an alkyd enamel, over a more flexible coating, like a latex primer.
  • Application of a top coat before the undercoat is dry.
  • Natural aging of oil-based paints as temperatures fluctuate. The constant expansion and contraction results in a loss of paint film elasticity.


Old paint should be completely removed by scraping and sanding the surface. The surface should be primed with a high quality latex or oil-based primer, then painted with a top quality exterior latex paint.

NOTE: Alligatored surfaces may be lead-based paint, so follow precautions for preparing, disposing of and painting lead-based paint.