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How to Fix Mudcracking

What to do when deep cracks appear in a painted surface

How To Fix Mudcracking Paint

How To Fix Mudcracking Paint

Mudcracking is when deep cracks appear in a painted surface. The most common cause of mud cracking is a heavy buildup of paint applied to the surface. Here you'll learn the reasons you may have mudcracking and how to fix it.

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How To Fix Mudcracking: Two Main Causes


Intentional Causes

There are two main causes for mudcracking:

  • 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.

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How To Fix Mudcracking: Accidental


An Accidental Cause

Sometimes heavy buildup can happen accidentally. It 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 even layers of paint. Make sure to allow for proper drying time between coats of paint.


How To Fix Mudcracking


How to Fix

There are two main solutions for how to fix mudcracking once it's already happened:

  • Scrape* the mud-cracked paint off of the surface

  • 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.

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*WARNING! If you scrape, sand, or remove old paint, you may release lead dust or fumes. LEAD IS TOXIC. EXPOSURE TO LEAD DUST OR FUMES CAN CAUSE SERIOUS ILLNESS, SUCH AS BRAIN DAMAGE, ESPECIALLY IN CHILDREN. PREGNANT WOMEN SHOULD ALSO AVOID EXPOSURE. Wear a properly fitted NIOSH-approved respirator and prevent skin contact to control lead exposure. Clean up carefully with a HEPA vacuum and a wet mop. Before you start, find out how to protect yourself and your family by contacting the USEPA National Lead Information Hotline at 1-800-424-LEAD or log on to Control exposure to other hazardous substances that can release during surface preparation by following these instructions.