What is alligatoring?

It is exactly as it sounds… Patterned cracking in the paint resembling the scales of an alligator.

How does alligatoring occur?

  • A top coat of paint is applied over an undercoat that is not completely dry.
  • A rigid substance, such as alkyd enamel, has been applied over something more flexible, such as a latex primer.
  • Natural effect of aging and weather changes of oil-based paint.
  • Application of a coating over a glossy finish.

Don’t be alarmed but the best solution to fix alligatoring is to remove all the paint, even if the paint has not cracked everywhere, and repaint the building or section of the building.

  • Remove old paint by scraping, sanding, chemical removers, or a heat gun.

  • Remove all surface contamination by washing with a Concentrated Cleaner or other appropriate cleaner; rinse thoroughly and allow to dry.

  • Glossy surfaces should be sanded dull.

How do I prevent alligatoring in the future?

With the help of Fresh Paint we can prevent alligatoring by:

  • Apply a high-quality primer before repainting
  • Make sure each layer of primer or paint dries completely before applying another coat.
  • Be sure not to apply a rigid substance over a more flexible one.
  • If the cracking occurred with an old oil-based paint, consider using a different type of paint that is not as prone to cracking as it ages, especially if the climate is prone to repeated freezes and thaws – um, hello Minnesota!

As with many maintenance issues, knowledge and good products make it easy to keep any building looking attractive and Fresh Paint has the expertise to restore your project to its glory days!