Unsightly paint issues like alligatoring can be a homeowner’s nightmare.


Understanding the causes and solutions for alligatoring paint on doors is crucial for maintaining a beautiful home exterior.


This blog post delves into the intricacies of alligatoring paint, offering insights on prevention and restoration techniques to help you tackle this common problem effectively.

Alligatoring Cracking Paint

Causes of Alligatoring


Alligatoring paint occurs due to various factors such as incompatible paint layers, excessive heat exposure, or poor surface preparation.


When different types of paints are layered without proper priming, they can dry at different rates, leading to the characteristic pattern resembling alligator skin.


Improper ventilation during painting or extreme temperature fluctuations can also cause the top layer of paint to dry faster than the bottom layer, resulting in cracks.


Applying a hard coating over a soft one can lead to inadequate flexibility and eventual cracking.

Solutions for Alligatoring


To address alligatoring paint, it is crucial to first remove any loose or flaking paint using a scraper or sander.


Then, sand the surface smooth and apply a high-quality primer before repainting with compatible products.


Ensure that each coat is allowed sufficient drying time and maintain consistent environmental conditions during application.


Using flexible coatings designed for exterior surfaces can help prevent future instances of alligatoring.


Regular maintenance like cleaning and inspecting painted surfaces for early signs of damage can aid in identifying issues before they escalate.


For a professional solution, hire Blank Canvas for your painting project.

Common Causes of Alligatoring Paint

Inadequate Surface Preparation


Improperly preparing the surface before painting, like not removing old paint or cleaning it thoroughly, is a common cause of alligatoring paint.


When new paint is applied on top of a poorly prepped surface, it can lead to cracking.


Not removing old layers of paint properly can create an unstable base for the new coat, causing it to lose adhesion and crack over time.

Incompatible Coats and Environmental Factors


Applying a topcoat that is incompatible with the existing base coat can trigger alligatoring.


Different types of paints may not adhere well together, leading to cracking resembling alligator skin.


Exposure to extreme temperature changes or excessive moisture levels in the environment where the paint is applied can also contribute to alligatoring.

Exterior Alligatoring Paint Issues

Prevalence of Alligatoring on Exterior Surfaces


Exterior surfaces are more prone to alligatoring paint due to exposure to harsh weather conditions like sunlight, rain, and temperature fluctuations.


The constant impact of these elements accelerates the breakdown of paint layers.


Alligatoring is a common issue seen on exterior surfaces as they bear the brunt of environmental factors that contribute to paint deterioration.


For instance, intense sunlight can cause expansion and contraction in the paint, leading to cracking resembling alligator scales.

Importance of Promptly Addressing Alligatoring Paint Issues



Identifying and addressing alligatoring paint issues promptly is crucial in preventing further damage.


If left unattended, the cracks can deepen over time, allowing moisture infiltration that may lead to structural damage.


Addressing exterior alligatoring paint issues early protects the underlying surface from potential harm caused by prolonged exposure.


Regular maintenance and timely repainting can help mitigate these problems effectively.

How to Remove Old Alligatoring Paint

Scraping Off Loose Paint


To start removing alligatoring paint, use a putty knife or scraper tool to get rid of loose or peeling paint.


Gently scrape the affected areas until the old paint is completely removed.


This step helps create a smooth surface for the new coat of paint.


Scraping off loose alligatoring paint:


  • Use a putty knife or scraper tool


  • Gently remove peeling paint for a smooth surface


Softening and Removing Stubborn Layers


For stubborn layers of alligatoring paint, consider using a heat gun or chemical stripper.


These tools can soften the old paint, making it easier to remove.


Apply heat from the gun or apply the stripper as instructed on its packaging before scraping off the softened layers.


Softening and removing stubborn layers:


  • Consider using a heat gun or chemical stripper


  • Soften old paint before scraping it off for effective removal


After following these steps, sand down the surface to ensure it’s smooth and ready for repainting.



Cleaning and Drying Before Repainting

Thorough Cleaning Process


To prepare the surface for repainting over alligatoring paint, start by cleaning it meticulously.


Use soap, water, or a mild detergent to scrub away dirt, grease, and other impurities.


This step is crucial to ensure that the new coat of paint adheres properly.


It’s essential to rinse off any remaining soap residue thoroughly after cleaning.


Any leftover residue can interfere with the adhesion of the new paint.


Once rinsed, allow the surface to dry completely before proceeding with repainting. Proper drying time is necessary to prevent issues like bubbling or peeling in the future.


  • Thoroughly clean with soap or mild detergent


  • Rinse off all residues completely


  • Ensure surface is entirely dry before repainting



Primer for Alligatoring Paint

High-Quality Primer


Using a high-quality primer designed for alligatoring paint is crucial.


This type of primer establishes a stable base for the new coat by sealing the surface and enhancing adhesion.


It acts as a barrier that prevents future instances of alligatoring.


A suitable primer helps in minimizing the risk of alligatoring recurring on the repainted surface.


The right primer can make a significant difference in achieving a smooth and long-lasting finish.

Proper Application


When applying the primer, ensure thorough coverage over the affected area to create an even base for painting.


Allow adequate drying time between coats as per the manufacturer’s recommendations to ensure proper adhesion and durability.


Remember, patience during this step will yield better outcomes in preventing further paint issues.

Flexibility and Durability


Paints with good flexibility and durability are essential to combat alligatoring.


These paints are specially formulated to resist cracking, preventing the issue from occurring.


Acrylic latex paints are a popular choice due to their excellent adhesion properties and resistance to weathering.


These features make them ideal for surfaces prone to alligatoring.


Using elastomeric coatings or textured finishes can also be beneficial in addressing alligatoring on problematic surfaces.


Elastomeric coatings have a rubber-like quality that allows them to expand and contract with temperature changes, reducing the risk of paint cracks forming.

Final Preparation for Repainting

Filling Cracks and Imperfections


To prepare for repainting alligatoring paint, start by filling any cracks or imperfections with a suitable filler.


Smoothly sand the filled areas to blend them seamlessly into the surface.


Applying a spackling compound can help fill in smaller imperfections, ensuring a smooth base for the new coat of paint.


Feather out the edges of the filled areas to avoid visible transitions between old and new layers.

Priming Before Painting


Before applying the final coat of paint, it’s crucial to prime any repaired spots.


Priming helps achieve an even appearance across all surfaces, especially those that have been patched or repaired.


Using primer on these areas ensures better adhesion of the top coat and enhances color consistency throughout your space.



Understanding the causes and remedies for alligatoring paint is crucial for maintaining a pristine exterior.


By addressing issues promptly and following proper steps for removal and repainting, one can ensure a long-lasting and visually appealing finish.


It is imperative to choose high-quality products and adhere to recommended procedures to prevent future instances of alligatoring.


Remember, thorough preparation is key to achieving a professional-looking paint job that will stand the test of time.


For those facing alligatoring paint problems, seeking professional advice or assistance may be beneficial in tackling complex issues effectively.


Stay informed, stay proactive, and safeguard your property against the unsightly effects of paint deterioration.


For a reliable solution to alligatoring paint problems, you can trust Blank Canvas Painting. Our expert team is equipped with the knowledge and tools to fix the issue efficiently, ensuring a smooth and beautiful finish.


Don’t let alligatoring paint spoil the appearance of your property; rely on us for professional assistance.