Paint With Confidence

Exterior Common Issues & Solutions

Cracking/Flaking

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

Cracking/Flaking

The splitting of a dry paint film through at least one coat, which will lead to complete failure of the paint. Early on, the problem appears as hairline cracks; later, flaking of paint chips occurs.

Possible Cause

  • Use of a lower quality paint that has inadequate adhesion and flexibility.
  • Overthinning the paint or spreading it too thin.
  • Poor surface preparation, especially when the paint is applied to bare wood without priming.
  • Painting under too cool conditions or in warm, windy conditions that make latex paint dry too fast.

Solution

  • It may be possible to correct cracking that does not go down to the substrate by removing the loose or flaking paint with a scraper or wire brush, sanding to feather the edges, priming any bare spots and repainting.
  • If the cracking goes down to the substrate, remove all of the paint by scraping, sanding and/or use of a heat gun; then prime and repaint with a quality exterior latex paint. Old, flaking paint may contain lead, so precautions for lead paint should be followed.