A Look At Why Your Chalk Paint Is Cracking!

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The popularity of chalk paint is surging right now, especially for outdoor use with more and more people starting to use it for that unique, rustic look that no other paint types are able to match. With so many people starting to use chalk paint for their home decor, we have noticed more and more people reaching out for advice on what to do with their chalk paint for the best possible performance.

Although we do see a large number of different questions, one of the main ones that we see people asking about time and time again is base on “why is my chalk paint cracking?”. Due to chalk paint being a common issue when it comes to chalk paint as there are a number of easy to avoid mistakes that can cause it, we have decided to publish this dedicated article going over why your chalk paint cracks as well as how you are able to stop it.

Everything that we will be covering in this article is very beginner friendly and should easily be able to help you understand the reasons your chalk paint is cracking as well as how to stop or prevent it. Although there are a small number of other potential causes out there, they tend to be very rare with the majority of causes being found in this list.

Why Is My Chalk Paint Cracking?

The most popular reasons that your chalk paint may crack is down to using it on an unsuitable surface, using low quality chalk paint, not using a primer when one is needed, using the wrong chalk paint formula, or using old chalk paint. The majority of these are down to user error rather than the actual paint and are easy to avoid in most cases.

With the sudden spike in the popularity of chalk paint and it being a relatively new paint type, very few people have large amounts of experience in using it. Unlike other, traditional types of paint, chalk paint does have some unique properties that can cause it to crack if you use it like a regular paint.

Although the type of brush or roller that you use to apply your chalk paint can also apply it to the surface in a way that can increase the chances of it cracking, this is rare with the other causes on our list being more common. Even with a low quality brush, you should still be able to apply your chalk paint in a way that will cause it to s bond correctly to the surface and not crack anyway.

Not Using Your Chalk Paint On A Suitable Surface!

The most common reason that chalk paint tends to crack is due to it being applied on a surface that is not suitable for the unique properties of chalk paint. People assume that it is a general use paint when it is not and should only be used on the materials that your specific paint formula supports and shown on the label.

Different chalk paint formulas tend to work differently to each other too with some supporting surfaces that others will not. Another problem that we see is that there are seven different types of plastic with chalk paint tending to act a little differently depending on the plastic type that it is used for. Just because your chalk paint says it will work on plastic on the label, does not mean that it will work on all types of plastic.

We also often see people forgetting about things such as old paint on the surface of the item that they want to use their chalk paint on. For example, all chalk paint formulas usually perform well on wood but if the wood has old paint on it when you apply your chalk paint, you are actually applying your chalk paint on top of paint, not wood and this may cause it to crack.

You Are Using A Low Quality Chalk Paint!

As with most things that suddenly become popular, a huge number of low quality, cheap chalk paint formulas have found their way onto the market. These tend to use the lowest possible ingredients to try and provide as much profit as possible for their producers as well as use random ratios of these ingredients that may cause the paint to crack more often too.

A decent chalk paint will often only be around $5 to $10 more than the cheapest option on the market but often offers you considerably better performance in most cases. The majority of our readers will probably be able to pay this slightly higher price tag without feeling too much of a hit in their budget too.

In addition to reducing the chances of your chalk paint cracking on a wide range of surfaces once dry, these better paint formulas often offer better color retention too. This can be a big thing in the overall end result of your chalk paint due to it often being used outdoors where large amounts of UV light are able to get to it from the sun and potentially cause color fade.

Not Using A Primer!

Although chalk paint usually does not require you to use a primer with it, a priming agent is able to drastically increase the performance of the paint on some surfaces. Not only can this help to improve the over all look of the chalk paint on these surfaces but it can also help to prevent it from cracking too due to allowing it to bond better with the primer.

One thing that you should check if you are looking to use a primer on your surface prior to applying your chalk paint is if your chalk paint actually works with primers or not. As we touched on earlier, many chalk paint products will have issues when applied on top of paints or other similar products with primer surprisingly being one them.

Although primer has been designed to make it as easy as possible for you to apply paint to it once dry, the unique properties of chalk paint mean that it can be a hinderance for some chalk paint formulas rather than help them. That said, the majority of chalk paint formulas that do work with primers will clearly say so on their label.

Using Indoor Chalk Paint Outdoors!

There are now chalk paint formulas that are specifically designed for use outdoors and indoors while also having some formulas that you are able to use for both. The indoor chalk paint is not as robust as the outdoor, slightly more expensive formulas and can crack if you do use it outdoors due to it being exposed to the elements.

All chalk paint formulas will clearly state if they are designed for use indoors or outdoors or if you are able to use the paint for either without issue. Always check that the chalk paint product that you are considering getting is suitable for your needs or it can increase the chances of it cracking.

We constantly see people making this mistake trying to save a little money on their chalk paint buy going with a reputable brand but opting for their cheaper indoor formulas than their outdoor formula. In most cases, they quality learn that the indoor paint was a total waste of time and money for their needs and have to remove it and purchase another tub of paint.


That brings our article going over why your chalk paint is cracking to an end. Although we maybe sounding overly negative in this article towards chalk paint, it is not our intention and chalk paint is an excellent product that works well but in most cases you should read the label of the product to make sure that it is suitable for your needs to avoid many of the problems that can lead to it cracking.