Close up image of patterned cracking in the surface of the paint film resembling the scales of an alligator.

Alligatoring

Patterned cracking in the surface of the paint film resembling the scales of an alligator.

Causes

  • Application of an extremely hard, rigid coating, like an oil-based enamel, over a more flexible coating.
  • Application of another coat before previous coat has dried.
  • Natural aging of oil-based paints as temperatures fluctuate. The constant expansion and contraction results in a loss of paint film elasticity.
  • Excessive application of paint.

Solutions

  • Remove paint down to bare surface by scraping, sanding or stripping with a chemical remover.
  • Prime the surface with a high-quality primer.
  • Topcoat with a high-quality paint.

NOTE: Alligatored surfaces may be lead-based paint, so follow precautions for preparing, disposing of and painting lead-based paint.

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