Alligatoring Defect

Patterned cracking in the surface of the paint film resembling the regular scales of an alligator

Possible Cause

Application of an extremely hard, rigid coating, like an alkyd enamel, over a more flexible coating, like a latex primer

Application of a top coat before the undercoat is dry

Natural aging of oil-based paints as temperatures fluctuate. The constant expansion and contraction results in a loss of paint elasticity


Old paint should be completely removed by scraping and sanding the surface; a heat gun can be used to speed work on large surfaces, but take care to avoid igniting paint or substrate. The surface should be primed with a high quality latex or oil-based primer, then painted with a top quality exterior latex paint

Source: Paint Quality Institute

Alligatoring Featured