Why paint cracks and peels?

cracked paint repair

There are several reasons why paint will crack or peel. Fortunately, we’ve compiled the following list of the three most common explanations for this issue in order to help you figure out the exact source of your problem.

Moisture may be seeping in

If the cracking or peeling is occurring on interior walls or ceilings, it may be a result of moisture seeping in from outside. If the paint on your ceiling is cracking or peeling, a leaky roof is more than likely to be the source of your problem. If this is the case, you must find and then eliminate the source of the leak before applying a new coat of paint.

On a smaller level, condensation may also cause paint to crack and peel. The edges of metal casement windows are especially prone to cracking and peeling for this reason. In order to prevent this from happening, install storm windows and apply caulking to the frame.

An unprepared surface

If your paint is cracking or peeling even though it’s recently been painted, it may be due to a failure to properly prepare the surface before painting it. Before you apply a base coat to any surface, it is essential that you properly clean it and also ensure that it is not moist at all.

Washing the surface is an essential part of the painting preparation process in order to prevent the final coat from cracking and peeling over time.

Brittle coats

If you paint over surface multiple times, the older coats will become brittle over time, thereby reducing the coats’ ability to bond with one another.

This ultimately can result in the cracking or peeling of the outermost layer of paint. In order to remedy this problem, you must completely remove all of the old coats of paint with the use of paint remover prior to applying a new coat to the surface.


Alligatoring” is a term used to describe the developments of fine cracks in a coat of paint, causing it to resemble the skin of the animal that shares a namesake with this term. This problem is caused by paint being applied too quickly to a surface, which prevents the paint from expanding and drying properly.

In order to fix this, all coats of paint must be removed completely and then the surface must be painted anew. Make sure to leave enough time in between the application of new coats in order to prevent this process from ruining the final coat.