In Exterior House Painting, Interior House Painting, Paint FAQ's, Painters Advice, Painting Tips

Paint cracks or flakes are caused by the loss of adhesion  between a coat of paint and the surface.  Flaking is when the paint lifts away from the surface and cracking is when the dry paint splits away creating a visible crack in the paint surface.

These types of a paint failures can be caused by a couple of issues.  In this post we will explore a few, offer tips on how to prevent and fix them.

why does paint crack or flake is explained by PG Paint & Design Ottawa House Painters in painting tips

What Causes Paint To Crack or Flake

The causes of paint cracking or flaking can be for the following reasons.

Painting – An inconsistent and thin layer of paint can cause a failure in the way the paint adheres and bonds to the surface.

These issues are common and easily repairable first by making sure the necessary prep work to all surfaces is done before any painting is done.  To avoid having the issues of cracked or flaking paint the preparatory work must be done ahead of time, otherwise the risk of running into these problems will be greater.  Make sure the surface area is free from dust and dirt and using the right paint primer for the right type of paint.

If you use a lower quality paint product or a paint that has not been stored properly and has expired you run the risk of it peeling quicker.  Make sure you use a fresh paint of  high quality whether it is a water based or solvent based paint.  Improper application of paint on a poorly prepared surface without being properly prepared, dry and ready for the paint runs you the risk of these paint problems.

Moisture – When paint is applied on a damp surface such as an exterior deck or fence, it can peel away because of the excess water and humidity built up into the wood surface.  Usually if it has rained for days and the wood surface has not had enough time to completely dry, painting it may cause it to not adhere and bond properly thereafter you will begin to see the paint peeling away from the surface.

The high levels on the interior of a house such as a bathroom or kitchen can also be prone to paint cracking, peeling or flaking.  When painting kitchens and bathrooms make sure to use the best quality paint products and ensure you buy the right paint finish to use in these higher levels of moisture areas.

The exterior paints will crack or flake due to the outdoor elements.  Extreme heat or extreme cold temperatures cause a constant contraction in the wood that was used in the framing part of building a house.  This contracting expands and constricts the wood causing the house to shift.

Once the house shifts and settles you will begin to notice the cracks inside the home in places like the ceiling and walls.   On the outside of the home you will notice these issues around any window or door frames too.  It is a common problem due to temperature fluctuations from extreme heat and cold.  The weather has a big bearing on creating the cracks we may see in ceilings and walls on both the interior and exterior of homes.  It is very normal as it is commonly referred to as house shifting.

Interior Paint Cracking or Flaking

For all interior painting using the best paint products, the right tools ensures you get the best results.  Be mindful the high level moisture and humidity level areas such as kitchens, bathrooms and laundry rooms.  The combination of heat and moisture in these rooms may cause poor adhesion of the paint, without taking precautions as mentioned above.

Open the windows at the beginning of the day that you will begin the painting to allow fresh air to flow through.  This will help dry up the moisture in the room.  Turning on a couple of fans to help with the air circulation will aid the drying of the humidity in the room.

Exterior Paint Cracking or Flaking

Exterior painting should only be done when the wood is dry and only paint in normal temperatures.   No painting in the extreme cold or extreme heat, as this will cause poor paint application and adhesion.

When exterior house painting season in Ottawa begins, usually around the April-May time frame it is because most painters wait for the warmer temperatures that would have melted the snow as well as a few consistent days of hot sunshine that will dry up the wood around the exterior of the house making it easier for the paint to be applied as well as avoiding the high levels of moisture in the wood to create bubbles or blisters, cracking or flaking.  Meanwhile in high season which is around June thru August, if there are continual days of rain, the wood becomes soaked and the paint will not apply properly nor will it resist cracking or flaking, blistering, bubbling or peeling.  It is not recommended to paint unless the exterior wood surfaces are dry.  Two to three days of dry weather is recommended to avoid the moisture problems in the exterior wood.

How To Fix and Prevent Cracking or Flaking Paint Problems

Homeowners can avoid expensive fixes by taking useful tips and helpful advice into consideration before beginning any painting projects.  Make sure you check that the cracks are not a structural problem caused by water leaks as this will require more work to repair.  You need to take care of the structural problem before trying to just cover up the cracks or peeling paint.

If the problem does not stem from a structural issue then simply removing the loose paint flakes or chips, sanding down the areas and repainting the surface should be sufficient.  Fixing any cracks or flaking paint by scraping it off by using a paint scrapper blade, sanding it down by hand or machine.  Use the right primer or pre-coat to ensure a good seal before the paint finish.

Note that if you are scraping any old paint you may run the risk of releasing lead dust particles or fumes.  Lead is a toxic chemical known to create serious health problems.  Make sure you take all precautions to ensure you are not dealing with lead based paints before starting to scrape, sand and remove chipped, cracked or peeling paint.  Do not paint over flaked or chipped paint or over cracks, make sure you patch any drywall areas or ceilings making sure all surfaces are properly prepped, sanded, cleaned and primed.

A few other tips to help you fix and prevent the problem is to make sure you do not dilute the paint by adding a paint thinner.  Paint the exterior only if weather conditions are favourable by being dry and not extremely hot.  Always allow paint to thoroughly dry between each coat application.

When To Bring In An Expert

It will not be visually attractive to leave cracks and peeling paint without properly tending to it, so taking care of it before it becomes a bigger problem is the best advice.  If you have been noticing drywall cracks, separation at the ceiling and wall joint, around the window and door frames and trim or around the crown molding, call on an expert.  Contacting a local painting company in a neighborhood near you can be helpful in fixing and preventing these types of issues.

Painting services offered by experienced painters near you can provide you with the necessary solutions to keep these types of situations from happening.

To find out more about other causes to paint problems and get the solutions for them read our blog that consists of helpful tips, useful advice and answers to frequently asked questions on painting the interior or exterior.

Contact a local painting company near you


This post was originally published on Jan 7, 2018 at 07:00 and edited on Mar 15, 2020 at 16:53