July 08, 2015 1 min read

The Problem: A common exterior paint issue that’s characterized by patterned cracking in the paint film resembling the hide of an alligator. It’s the result of the top coat not bonding and leveling to a smooth finish.

Causes: Can include the application of an extremely hard, rigid coating over a more flexible paint, applying the top coat before the previous coat has dried, the topcoat drying too quickly from being in the sun, or applying too much paint per coat.

How-to-fix: Scrape or sand the surface. Oil paints must be completely removed down to the original substrate. Chemical removers or heat guns can aid in this process, but safety cautions must be observed e.g. dust masks, respirators and protective eyewear. Next, a high quality latex or oil-based primer should be applied and allowed to dry completely. Finally, use a top quality exterior paint in the desired finish.

Product Solutions:


  • Benjamin Moore Arborcoat® Oil-based Primers and Fresh Start® Oil-based Primers are ideal for raw or natural wood surfaces.
  • Benjamin Moore Fresh Start® Acrylic Latex Primers and Sure Seal™ Acrylic Latex Primer are suited for previously painted wood and masonry surfaces.
  • Stix® Waterborne Bonding Primer by Insl-x®will ensure top coat adhesion to challenging surfaces including PVC, Vinyl, Plastic, Glass, Glazed Block, Pre-Coated Siding, Fiberglass and Aluminum surfaces.

Exterior Paints

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