Why Does Paint Crack?

Randy Charles
Randy Charles
Professional Painter

Hi, I’m Randy Charles, the creator and chief editor of this site Paintcentric. I’m a businessman now by profession, but I used to work as...Read more

You might have come across painted surfaces with a scale look. Or even walls with the paint layer peeling off with each touch; this might make you wonder, “why does paint crack?” No one wants this to happen, as it ruins the entire beauty and functionality of the paint. When paint fails or crack, the underlying surface is exposed to external agents.

This is caused by paint failure. This can be so frustrating, especially when it happens with outdoor furniture. Paints like every other product tend to fail if the conditions are not right. This causes the paint layer to begin to bubble, crack or even peel off. In this piece, we’d see why paint cracks and how to prevent cracking paint.

Key Takeaways:

  • Paint cracks can be caused by various factors ranging from technical errors, environmental factors, and paint conditions.
  • You need to be proactive at every point of your paint job.
  • Paying attention to the minute details will go a long way in ensuring that your paint does not crack.

Is It Normal For Paint To Crack?

If you have ever seen paint crack, there is a great chance you might have yourself. Is this normal? There is no straightforward answer to this as it depends on the conditions and time one applied the paint. Often, when paint cracks, it is a result of the things we did wrong.

Is It Normal For Paint To Crack

Although, paint cracking can also be due to aging. It is normal for the paint to crack or show other defects in this case. A total replacement of the paint job is advised.

Why Does Paint Crack?

A lot of reasons can cause paint cracks & failure. Knowing these can help you reduce the tendency of your paint cracking. Below are some of the major reasons why paint cracks;

Why Does Paint Crack

1. Use Of Substandard Paints

Your paint job is more likely to crack when low-quality paint is used. You should ensure you spend quality time researching the paint products you want to use. The higher the quality of the paint you use, the less likely it is to crack, bubble or peel. Getting higher quality paints might cost you more now, but it would help you long-term. Carrying out personal research on the required paint quality needed for each job would go a long way too. When in doubt, it would do great help to ask for professional help.

2. Exposure Of Painted Surface To High Humidity

Humidity & exposure to water is usually the top reason paints crack, bubble, or peel off. Most paints can’t withstand high humidity. This is especially common when the painting is done in a humid climate. To avoid this scenario, ensure you paint when humidity is low at the time of year. A great alternative is to use a dehumidifier.

3. The Paint Was Spread Too Thin

Spreading the paint layers too thin increases the chances of cracking your paint job. This is because there is not enough thickness to withstand external factors. Paint layers that are too thin have a high tendency to dry up fast. Thin paint layers also have low adhesive power; hence they do not grip surfaces well.

4. Painting On A Dirty/unprepared Surface

Unprepared or poorly prepared surfaces cause cracks more often than not. Directly painting over dirt, worn-out paints, or dust will not cause the paint to adhere evenly. So when next you are on a paint job, ensure you pay painstaking attention to preparing the surface. Rid the surface of loose old paint, dirt, dust, and moss with a scraper.

5. Applying Paint Layers That Are Too Thick

If you apply paint layers that are too thick and inconsistent in texture, only the lower layers stick. As a result, the outer upper layers dry up and crack up. Nobody wants this to happen. Next time you are doing your paint job, ensure the layer of paint applied is just of the right consistency. Resist the urge to overapply paint. This would ensure you maximize the quantity of paint used and reduce the possibility of your paint cracking. Remember, just the right quality and quantity is vital. So, avoid heavy-handed strokes when painting.

6. Use Of Old Paint

Never use old paint when you can easily purchase new ones. As paint ages on the shelf, it has a very high tendency to lose its adhesive properties. One of the greatest power your paint has is its ability to stick without flaking off. Understanding this, ensure you don’t use old paint: the older a paint, the lesser its adhesiveness. We recommend checking the manufacturing date and selecting paints with earlier dates.

7. When Your Paints Age Naturally

Paints are just like us; they age too. Don’t be surprised. As time passes on a paint job, it tends to lose its adhesive properties. This depends on the lifespan of the paint. So you should check up technical articles on the lifespans of the specific type of paints you are using on a particular project.

When paint begins to crack due to old age, it needs to be scraped off and replaced with another paint layer. You tend to see this a lot on old properties and surfaces. As painted surfaces age, they tend to become brittle and cannot adapt to environmental conditions. Therefore, it is essential to constantly check for cracks on aging surfaces and make the required amends.

8. Paint Drying Too Fast

The drying process of paint layers is as necessary as its application. Paint cracks can also occur if the natural paint drying process is altered. Hastening the drying process using fans or blowers can result in cracks. For paint to have a consistent feel and reduce the chances of cracking, it must have a certain percentage of moisture. Hastening the drying process alters the delicate balance and leads to dry patches.

These dry patches eventually evolve into cracks. The most annoying thing about cracks is that one crack leads to another until the entire paint job is ruined. So, allow the paint to dry naturally. To reduce the use of artificial paint drying processes, ensure you begin paint jobs a great while before the surface is painted.

9. Applying Too Much Thinner To Paint

Excessive application of thinner when preparing paint mixtures has a huge tendency to cause cracking. So when next you are preparing paint mixtures, ensure you add just the right amount of thinner. Taking time out to research the recommended amount of thinner for each type of paint is not too much to ask to prevent cracked walls.

How To Prevent Cracking Paint?

How To Prevent Cracking Paint

Limiting the quantity of water; add less than 30 percent water to the paint: Binder, which comes in a liquid acrylic emulsifier or a gel, helps give the paints their adhesive properties by sticking the polymers together. Excessive water diminishes the adhesive and causes cracking.

Mix in the medium: There are numerous liquids, gels, and mediums on the market and multiple brands ranging from gloss to matt, pouring medium to airbrush medium, etc. Each one of these is constructed from a binder. It will prevent cracking if added to the paint with water.

High-quality paint and low-quality paint: High-quality artist’s paints from reputable brands contain more color and are usually of higher quality, allowing for more medium to be added without lowering the intensity of color. Some budget-friendly paints and lower-cost paint carry a combination of binding material and less color, resulting in poorer results.

Temp, moisture levels, and ventilation: Humidity and temperature variations can cause flaking. Directly blowing fans on the paintings can also induce flaking because the upper surface gets dry too quickly.

Do not varnish the painting until it is totally dry: Varnish causes a slew of issues. If the painting is acrylic or mixed media, allow it to dry for 3 to 4 days first thoroughly.

Read AlsoHow To Paint Paneling Without Sanding?

Final words

In conclusion, paying great attention to details before, during, and after a paint job is vital to reducing cracks in paint jobs.

Randy Charles
Randy CharlesProfessional Painter

Hi, I’m Randy Charles, the creator and chief editor of this site Paintcentric. I’m a businessman now by profession, but I used to work as a painter earlier in my professional career. There is simply nothing about painting that I didn’t do as a painter. From painting a fridge to a multi-storied building, I left nothing. I retired from my painting job in the mid of 2018 due to back arthritis problems.

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