Alligatoring is the direct result of paint cracking excessively over time. The patterned cracking in the paint film resembles the scales of an alligator, hence the term alligatoring. Usually the cracking is limited to the topcoat without exposing the substrate. Most of the time, alligatoring is due to oil-based paint that has gone past its normal life and is failing. Oil-based paint makes for a nice hard finish on trim, windows and doors, but is susceptible to alligatoring over time.
There are four reasons why alligatoring can happen:
- The natural aging of oil-base paint. As oil-base paint ages, it becomes less flexible, hardens and brittle. Temperature fluctuations make the substrate expand and contract. The loss of film elasticity and the constant expansion and contraction during seasonal temperature changes create the alligatoring appearance.
- Applying a hard and rigid top coat like oil enamel over a softer, more flexible coating can cause alligatoring over time.
- Applying a topcoat before the primer or base coat has had a chance to fully dry can result in alligatoring.
- Finally, applying a coating over a glossy finish can cause alligatoring.
Whenever removing existing paint, it is really important to make sure that the paint being removed does not contain lead. The use of lead-base paint was banned in 1978 because it was found to have adverse effects on health when ingested. A rule of thumb is if you have a home that is older than 1978, take a sample of the paint and have it tested for lead. The removal of paint by sanding, scraping or other means will generate dust or fumes that could contain lead. Exposure to lead dust and fumes may cause brain damage or other adverse health effects, especially in children and pregnant women. If you find that you have lead-base paint, Paint One of Charlotte can assist you in remedying the lead. Just call us today to setup an appointment.
In order to correct alligatoring paint, the topcoat needs to be removed by scraping, sanding or by using chemical removers or a heat gun. Make sure to thoroughly remove the entire contaminated surface by washing it with a professional cleaner. Rinse thoroughly and allowed to dry. This can be a fairly tedious process depending on how large the area to be treated is. If not done thoroughly, the top layer will eventually fail again.
If you have glossy surfaces, they should be sanded dull before applying another coat of paint.
Paint One of Charlotte can assist you with all your interior and exterior painting projects. If you would like to receive a free quote for your house painting project, please call Paint One of Charlotte today or fill out our online estimate request form.