Mudcracking is when deep cracks appear in a painted surface. The most common cause of mud cracking when you have a heavy build up of paint applied to the surface.
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Two Main Causes
There are two main causes for mud-cracking. The first is when the paint is simply applied too thick. This is typical when you are trying to hide imperfections. It is always better to properly prepare the surface for painting. Paint should be for aesthetic purposes, not for hiding imperfections in surfaces such as drywall.
The second reason for intentional paint buildup is when a painter tries to do a job in one coat instead of two. Many paints are designed to be applied in one coat, but some colors require a second coat. When using a color that requires more than one coat, it is better to let the first coat completely dry before adding the second coat. Be sure to follow the recommended dry time on the label. This will ensure you get the coverage you are trying to achieve.
An Accidental Cause
Heavy buildup is most common in areas where paint can overlap, such as corners. To prevent this, be sure to feather out the cut-in area and apply thin coats. Then clean and prepare the surface for proper reapplication. Apply thin, even layers of paint. Make sure to allow for proper drying time between coats of paint. Remember to feather and cut-in in the corners.
How to Fix Mudcracking
There are two main solutions for how to fix mud-cracking once it's already happened. First, you can scrape the mud-cracked paint off of the surface or you can sand the area until the mud-cracks are no longer visible.* Then clean and prepare the surface for proper reapplication. Apply thin, even layers of paint. Make sure to allow for proper drying time between coats of paint. Remember to feather and cut-in in the corners.
Wear a properly fitting respirator that is NIOSH-approved. Avoid contact with skin. Clean thoroughly with a HEPA vacuum. Then wet mop.
Contact the USEPA National Lead Information Hotline at 1-800-424-LEAD to learn more about protecting yourself. You may also visit www.epa.gov/lead. Control exposure to other hazardous substances that can release during surface preparation by following these instructions.