Cracking, flaking or peeling is the splitting of a dry paint film. This is a problem that needs fixing as it can lead to complete failure of the paint. Initially, the problem appears as a hairline crack, before evolving to flaking of paint chips.

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 not applying a primer before painting.
  • Poor adhesion of the underlying coats.
  • Excessive hardening and embrittlement of alkyd paint as the paint job ages.
  • Excessive moisture ingress within the substrate.



If caught early, it may be possible to correct superficial cracking by simply removing the loose or flaking paint with a scraper or wire brush, sanding to feather the edges, then priming any bare spots and repainting. However, if the cracking goes down to the substrate, you’ll have to remove all of the paint by scraping, sanding and/or using a heat gun. You can then prime and repaint the surface with quality products like Dulux 1 Step® Acrylic Primer Sealer & Undercoat and Dulux Wash&Wear®.

More problem solving advice


Yellowing is the development of a yellow cast in aging solvent-based enamels. It’s most noticeable in the dried films of white paints or clear varnishes.  For each problem you’ll find a guide to identifying it, its causes and solutions.

When droplets appear on acrylic paint

Have you noticed small droplets appearing on your fresh coat of acrylic paint? This is known as 'surfactant leaching'. Don't panic - it's a normal part of the curing process.  For each problem you’ll find a guide to identifying it, its causes and solutions.