The splitting of a dry paint film through at least one coat, which will eventually lead to complete failure. Early on, the problem appears as hairline cracks; later, flaking of paint chips occurs.

Possible cause

  • Use of a lower quality paint that has inadequate adhesion and flexibility
  • Over thinning the paint or spreading it too thin
  • Poor surface preparation, especially when the paint is applied to bare timber without priming
  • Painting under hot or windy conditions that make water-based paints dry too fast



It may be possible to correct cracking that does not go down to the substrate by removing the loose or flaking paint with a scraper or wire brush, sanding to feather the edges, priming any bare spots and repainting.

If the cracking goes down to the substrate, remove all of the paint by scraping, sanding and/or use of a heat gun; then prime and repaint with a quality exterior water-based paint. Dulux recommends Dulux Weathershield® for exterior surfaces.

More problem solving advice


Development of a yellow cast in aging paint solvent-based enamels


Appearance of a denser colour or higher gloss where wet and dry layers overlap during paint application.


A rough, crinkled paint surface occurring when paint forms a 'skin'.