What Cause Deck Paint to Crack and How Can I Fix It?

Your deck is an extension of your home and where many people spend much of their outdoor time during the year. The problem is that all that wear and tear from people moving around and exposure to the elements can wreak havoc on your deck. Cracking deck paint isn't just an aesthetic nightmare; it is potentially harmful to your deck. If you have noticed that your deck paint is cracking, you will want to learn more about what you can expect and what you can do about it.  

What Causes Deck Paint to Crack?


There are many reasons why deck paint will crack; one of the most common causes is moisture. If the deck isn't properly sealed, moisture will leak into the wood, causing it to expand and contract. The constant expansion and contraction will cause the paint to crack over time. 

Mistakes in Application

Sometimes the paint can crack because it was not applied correctly in the first place. If the deck was not properly cleaned, sanded, and primed beforehand, the paint might not stick to the wood as well. Another mistake many make when painting the deck is buying low-quality paint, especially low-quality paint that is not formulated for outdoor use. 


Even the best paint can't last forever, so sometimes, years of exposure to the elements will make the paint begin to crack. 

How Homeowners Can Prevent Their Deck Paint From Cracking

If your deck paint has already been applied and you want to prevent it from cracking, you can take the following steps:

Keep the Deck Clean

Regularly sweeping and rinsing your deck will remove the dirt and grime that can settle into your paint and cause it to crack. 

Watch the Furniture

Dragging heavy furniture around your deck is almost guaranteed to cause scratches and eventually peel the paint. When planning your deck furniture, try to go light and add sliders to the bottom of any furniture that can't be lifted to move. 

Touch-Up Problem Areas

If you see any areas where the paint is cracked or peeling, sand away all chipped paint until the area is smooth, then touch it up with paint. 

Seal Your Deck

A clear sealant over your paint will protect it from moisture, sunlight, and other environmental factors. 

Careful Cleaning

When you clean your deck, always use a gentle soap, preferably detergent specially formulated for decks. Harsh chemicals like bleach or ammonia will strip the paint off your deck and aren't safe for pets or other wildlife. 

The Potential Costs of Neglecting Deck Paint Maintenance

Poor Curb Appeal

A cracked and peeling deck will make your whole home look worn and run down. If you are considering selling your home, cracked paint could leave a bad memory for potential buyers.

Structural Damage

Deck paint may have an aesthetic component, but it is also functional. A painted deck keeps moisture out; when moisture starts to seep in the cracks, it can become trapped there and cause rot, leading to structural damage in your deck. In extreme cases, you may have to replace your entire deck. 

Safety Hazards

Cracked and peeling paint can cause tripping hazards in some extreme cases, but much more common is the deck becoming slick due to trapped moisture and possible algae buildup that causes slippery surfaces. 

Increased Maintenance

Many people like to think that they can put off deck care until they're ready, but the longer you allow it to deteriorate, the more it will cost you. In the worst cases, you may have to pay thousands for an entirely new deck, but even if it doesn't get that far, it could still cost you way more time and money to fix issues arising from cracked deck paint. 

Let Us Help

We understand that painting a deck takes time that many families don't have, so let us do it for you. Jake's Affordable Painting has the professionals and expertise to get it done right and give your deck a facelift. Contact us today with any questions or to schedule a free estimate.