It’s no laughing matter when your paint cracks up. In fact, cracking is a serious exterior paint failure that can jeopardize not just the paint itself, but eventually, the integrity of the substrate below.
Paint cracking occurs most frequently on surfaces that have a tendency to expand and contract, like wood siding. The first sign of trouble is the appearance of small hairline cracks which, if ignored, can quickly expand — ultimately causing the paint to become loose and flake off.
Correcting the problem in its later stages can involve a lot of work: scraping off the loose paint, sanding the edges, applying filler to level the surface, priming, and re-painting. But it’s easy to avoid trouble in the first place by applying an exterior paint with superior crack-resistance.
Outdoor exposure tests at the Paint Quality Institute show that better quality paints have the best resistance to cracking and flaking. It’s proof positive of the old adage, “You get what you pay for.”
A handful of the highest quality flat exterior paints did well in our tests, including one brand that is available across the U.S. The other top performers are regional paints specially blended to do well in the particular climates where they are sold. The exterior flat paints that had the best resistance to cracking and flaking were:
- Ace Clark + Kensington™ (sold nationally)
- Farrell-Calhoun 200
- Hirshfield’s Housecoat II
- Dunn-Edwards Evershield®
- California Paints® Fres-Coat®
Many top quality 100% acrylic semi-gloss paints demonstrated excellent crack-resistance in our field tests, owing to the extra acrylic binder they contain. More quality acrylic gives these paints better adhesion and added flexibility, providing a better defense against a variety of paint failures. Some of the national brands that showed great resistance to cracking and peeling were:
These regional brands also performed well:
While the very best 100% acrylic exterior paints tend to perform well in a variety of ways, some are better at protecting against specific paint failures. If you’ve had a bad experience with one type of failure in the past, it’s wise to choose a brand of paint that excels on that basis. And if cracking and flaking has been a particular nemesis, then one of the above brands of paint is the right product for you!