There can be many reasons for paint to begin to crack and or peel away from the surface of interior walls, trim and ceilings.  Before beginning to repair these issues, it is best to understand the reason behind the paint failure to ensure the problem does not persist after the work is done.

So, what are some causes for paint to peel and crack?

– Water and moisture are the greatest cause for paint to peel away from the surface. Bathrooms are often a problem area for this reason.  But water getting behind the surface, causing the paint to peel can be from a leaking roof or gutters not working properly.  Excessive humidity and poor ventilation in the home can cause paint to peel.

– Inadequately clean surfaces can cause paint to peel.  Directly painting over a dirty surface will eventually cause the paint to pull away and peel.

– Incompatible paint layers is another cause for paint to peel.  Applying latex paint over oil paint can prevent proper adhesion without proper preparation of the underlaying oil paint.

– Insufficient preparation or priming will cause paint to fail.  For instance, painting over stained and or polyurethane wood without sanding and priming with an oil primer will cause the paint to crack and eventually peel.

– Over many years, as paint is layered over each other, the weight can cause stress and gravity eventually pulls the paint off the surface.

– Sometimes inferior paint quality can be the cause of paint failure.  Always research the best paint for the job.  Quality matters, do not skip this step.  Are you painting concrete, wood, stucco, metal, sheetrock? Choosing the right paint will prevent problems down the road.

– Sometimes the age of the paint can be a simple answer.  Paint does not last forever.  Over time, the quality of the paint degrades and can begin to peel away.

– Was an old paint used previously?  How was it stored?  Paint cans left in an unheated garage can freeze and once thawed, the paint will not have the same performance qualities.

– Was primer used prior to painting?  Even paints that are sold as a primer/paint in one should be treated as if the paint does not have a primer.  These paints provide better coverage to lessen the number of coats, but with surface preparation, you should still use a primer to seal in the surface and provide good adhesion of the top coat.

– Settling of the house.  Whether the house is new or old, the structure moves over time, especially in newer homes.  As the house settles and shifts, this movement can cause cracks in the walls, ceiling and trim.

These are just a few examples of what can cause your paint to crack and peel.  Knowing the cause of the failure will greatly help in prevention and treating the area.

If you wish to speak to a professional painter regarding any painting issues, please contact All Pro Painters at 781-449-7262 or email at