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Why Does Paint Crack When Drying?: 5 Common Reasons

Why Does Paint Crack When Drying

You’ve seen it, maybe even done it, but what is paint cracking? And Why does paint crack when drying?

Paint, like all materials, has an affinity for water. When you apply it to a surface and let it dry, it draws the water out of the surface. It’s also what gives paint its sheen.

Once the paint dries, the oil in the paint tries to stay in the liquid state, but the surface of the paint prevents this from happening. The result is a thin layer of oil that separates into a thinner and thicker layer. The oil doesn’t want to be in the air, so as the paint dries, it forms a barrier between the air and the oil, creating this thin line that causes the paint to crack.

And that’s why you get cracks in your paint. 

What Makes Paint Crack?

When you first apply paint to your walls, it’s important to apply enough to ensure a smooth surface. Over-thinning your paint or applying it too thinly can cause it to crack.

A heavy hand painting can lead to mud cracks, where too-thick paint dries with a clumpy, swollen look. These problems can be caused by not allowing enough dry time between coats.

Paint becomes brittle as time goes on, making it less able to adapt to temperature and humidity fluctuations.

There are many reasons paint may be cracking:

  • A low-quality paint was used.
  • Used oil paint over latex paint.
  • The paint wasn’t spread evenly.
  • The paint quickly dried.
  • Before the coats had dried completely, you applied more coats.
  • The surface hadn’t been prepared.
  • The paint is no longer new.
  • The surface was not clean when it was being painted.
  • The paint was very thick.

The 5 Most Common Reasons Why Does Paint Crack When Drying

Home and furniture makeovers are great ways to update your home or get your space looking new. But if you’re not careful, you can create more problems than you solve.

Cracking, bubbling, and peeling are common paint problems that can happen if you’re not careful. You may wonder why this happens. These are the top reasons why your latest paint job already has cracks.

1. There is a lack of preparation

Many preliminary tasks must be completed before painting, such as selecting a color, finish, and painting tool. Preparing the surface before painting is a very important step that is often overlooked.

For a smooth paint job, you need to follow this step. By doing so, the paint can adhere properly to the surface, and once it dries, will appear how it should. Painting cracks often occur as a result of poor preparation. It is always a good idea to thoroughly clean the surfaces before painting.

2. Paint products are low-quality

Paint is an important part of any home or business and you want to make sure that it lasts and that you don’t have to spend a lot of money on it.
Make sure you do your research before choosing your paint.

It never hurts to do some research, ask around, and read reviews before buying a product. If you don’t consider paying more to get higher quality, longer-lasting paint and buy low-quality paint, it may end up cracking.

3. Some mistakes are made while painting

One of the most common reasons for cracking paint is using too much paint or applying the paint too thickly. If you notice that you are using too much paint or the paint is too thick, then you should try using thinner paint or a thinner paintbrush, or else it will crack.

When layering paint, it is important to let the first layer dry completely before adding the next layer. Adding another coat of paint without letting it dry can result in a messy result, and can result in cracking.

4. Temperature factor

Before you start painting, it’s important to know the type of paint you are using. It’s important to understand the chemistry of the paint so you can make sure it is properly mixed and applied.

Before applying the first layer of paint on the wall, make sure it is completely dry and cool. If the wall is damp or hot, the paint will not adhere correctly.

5. Natural Aging

Like us, painting ages and this is normal. It is a sign that the paint has lived a good life and has reached the end of its lifespan if it begins to crack when the paint job is done. It’s time to apply a new coat after removing the old one. The lifespan of paint varies as not all paints are created equally.

Cure and Precaution

You may need to re-paint the entire surface if the damage is extensive. If you use the right technique, you can fix the paint cracks without a lot of headaches. The tips for solutions are detailed below.

  • Use a scraper to remove the flaking paint. Use a heat gun or chemical paint remover if the paint is very cracked.
  • Clean the surface and prime it, then apply a couple of coats of a high-quality sealer.
  • Use a brush or roller to apply the paint properly. You’ll need to apply it in the right thickness, not too thin or too thick.
  • In the case of brush application, dip the brush into the paint and allow the paint to cover up to one-third of the bristle length. Tap the brush lightly on both sides to remove any excess paint. 

After cutting in and filling in the rough areas, it’s important to feather out the edges. This helps to prevent paint buildup in the corners.

To do this, you’ll want to use good quality latex paint, which can be applied several times before the paint is cured and needs to be redone. It’s best to use the same product that was originally applied to the wall.


There’s a lot of science behind why does paint cracks when drying. It’s all about the physics of surface tension. 

The crack appears when the paint is drying out and shrinking, which causes the wall to lose its structural strength. This leads to a weak point, where water can easily seep into the wall.

It’s important to avoid this problem because the water inside the walls can cause rot, mold, and other damage. The best way to prevent it is to make sure that the wall is well sealed, and then you can use wall anchors to add additional support to the wall.

Hopefully, our blog post will help you to know more accurately about this issue!

Why Does Paint Crack When Drying?: 5 Common Reasons

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