New wall paint is crackling


Old 03-28-08, 08:31 AM
Thread Starter
Join Date: Mar 2008
Posts: 3
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
New wall paint is crackling

Hi. Before I call the manufacturer, I thought I'd get advice on whether or not I did something wrong. I just painted my bedroom walls about a month ago with Valspar premium flat paint from Lowes and it is crackling. I started with priming the original flat paint with Kilz primer. I then painted about 2- 3 coats of flat paint. Whats happening is that the paint is developing very fine cracks showing through to the white primer. I have a photo of it, but I am not sure how to post it here. Did I do something wrong or should I make the call?
Sponsored Links
Old 03-28-08, 09:11 AM
Join Date: Apr 2006
Location: USA
Posts: 385
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
My best guess insufficient dry time. The dry time on the can only applies under the conditions specified on the can. A decrease in temperature or increase in humidity can stretch out the dry time substantially.

One other question: Which Kilz primer? And also, are you sure that what you are seeing is primer, and not whatever was underneath? (This is probably obvious to you, just not me, typing on a forum.)

Old 03-28-08, 09:34 AM
Forum Topic Moderator
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: USA - N.E.Tn
Posts: 47,688
Received 330 Votes on 293 Posts
How much drying time did you leave between coats?

Where there any contaminents on the wall prior to priming?

I assume the room never got below freezing temps

You can post pics using a free site like
Old 03-28-08, 10:33 AM
Join Date: Mar 2008
Location: Livonia, Michigan
Posts: 203
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
Mud Cracking

You have what is known in the painting world as "mud cracking". This paint defect occurs most commonly with flat latex paints especially if they are highly pigmented and loaded to what is known as the "critical pigment volume concentration".

I think you are looking for a twofold answer 1. Why did it occur? and 2. How do I remedy the situation?

Assuming that the room was not exposed to freezing or low temperatures (which would cause the paint to develop cracking) then the following causes should be noted.

Mud cracking can occur when:
1. Paint is applied too thickly in a single coat.
2. A flat latex paint is applied over a softer more flexible substance (such as caulk or a softer more flexible latex primer - particularly if the flat paint is highly pigmented as described above).
3. Too many coats are applied too quickly - before adequate drying of the previous coat(s).

To remedy the situation, allow all the paint that has been applied to fully cure. The paint on the walls will probably cure in a month or two (longer if deep tone colors -which contain more glycol which retards curing a bit).
Once cured, you should be able to prime with a alkyd primer (such as Cover Stain-Zinsser) to seal off the surface (you can tint the primer to match or approximate the finish paint color), then you might have to skim coat the walls with drywall compound to smooth out the surface and get rid of the cracks.

It is very possible that you may be able to get away without skim coating if the mud cracking is just "hairline" cracking. The way to know this is to (after priming) do a test patch of flat paint on the wall and let it dry and see if the paint itself was able to fill the hairline cracking.

Hope this helps.
Old 03-28-08, 06:09 PM
Join Date: Aug 2003
Location: Cape Cod
Posts: 4,320
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
Which Kilz primer did you use?
There are several
Old 03-28-08, 07:13 PM
nagra4s's Avatar
Join Date: Nov 2007
Location: Chicago area
Posts: 463
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
Sounds to me that drying time and the Valspar itself is to blame. Some paints are sensitive to this. Not sure after a primer of the walls you did three coats. Even if the paint appears dry after 30 minutes, some flat paints will do this if not left to dry thoroughly. slatz says too heavy of a coat will do it. he is right. Go to and copy and paste the img ulr in a reply so we can see this.
Old 10-15-08, 11:26 PM
Thread Starter
Join Date: Mar 2008
Posts: 3
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
Hi. I lost this forum and found it again while researching another project. I think you all might be right that I painted too many coats too close together. First off, the climate here in southern california is about as perfect as you can get for painting(even in Nov.), so temp change wasn't the culprit. The paint color is a beautful deep taupe and the wall texture is a medium knock down. I love deep tones and have painted all my rooms several times each in the 20 years I have lived here. Never any problems.<P> On this project, I found that I was getting bubbles in the paint and in order to cover some of them, I used a brush instead of a roller. Thus I think thats how I got the paint too thick trying to cover the pops. I have used the same Kilz primer before, but I usually use Behr color, this is a first (and last) for Valspar. Several months later, I lightly went over the crackled areas with some left over color and it didn't crack again. Thank you for all your ideas and I hope this thread helped someone else with the same problem.
Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off

Thread Tools
Search this Thread
Ask a Question
Question Title: