Common Paint Problems: Paint Flaking / Cracking

Common Paint Problems and Causes of Paint Flaking / Cracking

Paint flaking and cracking generally occurs as paint ages. The dry paint film splits through at least one layer, ultimately leading to the paint not being able to adhere to the surface. This paint problem first manifests as hairline cracks. As the problem worsens, paint flaking may occur.


Common paint problems such as paint flaking & cracking can be caused by any of the following:

  • Paint Flaking - Common Paint ProblemsOver-thinning or overspreading the paint.
  • Using a low-quality paint that is not adhesive or flexible enough.
  • Excessive hardening of solvent-based paint as the coating ages, resulting in it becoming brittle.
  • Inadequate surface preparation, or applying the paint to bare wood without first applying a primer.


  1. Remove loose and flaking paint with a scraper or wire brush.
  2. Sand the surface, taking care to feather the edges so that no ridges are visible.
  3. If several layers of paint are flaking, you may need to use a surface filler, for example Polyfilla Fine Crack Filler. If the paint flaking occurs in multiple layers, a face filler may be necessary.
  4. Prime bare wood areas before repainting. Use a top-quality primer and topcoat to prevent the problem recurring.

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Paint flaking & cracking is one of many common paint problems that may result if there is an issue with the painted surface. View our Common Paint Problems page for more information and step-by-step DIY solutions.

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