Crackle Surface Preparation and Protection


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Find all of the information we currently have on the technical aspects of this application and uses of pertinent products here. As we learn more about the use of this product on other brands we will be adding more test results.

Decorative painting is full of variables. How one wall accepts glaze may be different than another in the same room. Creating controls over your situation is critical for conistant decorative painting results. Proceed Crackle products will crack and create a very durable surface. The flip side of this is that they may lose adhesion at certain points during curing and over certain surfaces. (Once this paragraph is cleaned up, I think it should go at the top of each of the crackle pages.)


Extensive Crackle Testing

Extensive Crackle testing conducted at Golden

We've tested different brands and sheens of base paints; they all produce slightly different results with the Proceed Crackle products. Further, paint companies will change their formula over time and so to be sure, test the material combination for each application.

Our results revealed the best way to create excellent adhesion and the most interesting crackle pattern is to use Proceed Low Absorbency Base Paint as the primer and paint beneath our Crackle System. You can't just use anybody's primer.

The history of the wall influences the absorbency and will naturally also influence the crackle effect.

The combination of primer and base paint and sheen of the base paint will influence the ultimate crackle effect achieved: the absorbency of a primer will influence the "sealed" quality of subsequent layers of paint, no matter the sheen.

For New Construction:

Use Proceed Low Absorbency Base Paint as the primer and paint. Follow all other recommendations as described on other pages.

Surface Preparation

Follow normal surface preparation procedures, (may include sanding, wiping, washing, allowing the surface to dry, etc.) as you would for any painting project, cleaning and dusting the walls down between each step.

SPECIAL NOTE: Poor adhesion of underlayers could cause the crackle to lift itself and the previous layers of paint down to the weakest point, ex. sheetrock mud dust beneath the primer may cause the crackle to pop or lift off of the wall revealing the sheetrock itself.

It is extremely important to note that these crackles are aggressive materials and may cause delamination of a primer coat to the original sheet rock. Please be prepared that in "physically weak" spots that will be undetectable to the eye, the Cracking products have been known to lift. There's no way of knowing where there's a "weak" point within prior layers of base paints.

Golden can not predict when and where lifting may occur however here is our best recommendation on how to handle the occurence of lifting and your client:

Ahead of time, explain the performance combination of primer and base paints. If working on a previously painted surface, the history of the walls will probably be unknown. No one can predict completely what will happen whenever a decorative finish is applied, crackled or not. There may be weak points in the underlayers of paint and it should be expected that there will be points of lifting on occasion and plan on making repairs.

Existing Construction with previous painted layers:

It is possible that over previously painted layers, random "platelets" or "islands" may lose adhesion. If buckling or complete loss of adhesion occurs: simply push the platelet into the surface; use paint or an acrylic medium to "glue" the platelet back into place; work the opening or space into the overall design of the finish.

If you suspect the surfaces we're skim coated with plaster, patching plaster or joint compound: Consider not applying a Crackle finish. Keep the Smooth and Rough Cracking Texture applications thin. For a more pronounced crack, use one or more coats of Crackle Size and apply the crackles thin. See images.

If you know there has not been any skim coating with plaster, patching plaster or joint compound: Keep the Smooth and Rough Cracking Texture applications thin. If applying "random" thick applications, do not use Crackle Size beneath them.

For Protection: Applying a glaze layer will protect to some extent. Consider applying a textured glaze using Smooth Transparent Glazing Texture, the "extra body" will work to fill in gaps and literally provide extra "glue". Use a water based commercially available topcoat in your chosen sheen.

To fix such areas: Sand, reprime with an alkyd or shellac primer like: BM fresh start alkyd primer or Kilz. Repaint as necessary the areas affected and reapply the crackle materials. A waterbased alternative is a PVA Primer but the best recommendation would be an alkyd.

An alternative method to fix areas in process of lifting or creating "bubbles" without loss of primer adhesion, use a rag to gently push the platelets back into the base paint or Crackle Size before the surface has thoroughly dried.


  • To create the best adhesion and the most interesting crackle pattern: use Proceed Low Absorbency base paint as primer and paint beneath our Crackle System.
Proceed Cracking System over Proceed Low Absorbency Base Paint
  • Prepare yourself, there may be points of lost adhesion, this is no fault of the crackle products or often, the applicators.

How to tint Low Absorbency Base Paint or have it tinted at a paint store.

(Will be included: a color coded spreadsheet/chart (what to use -green/what to avoid-red) - Next best recommendation using commercially available base paints: Basepaint/Primer analysis: Without size, no adhesion failures over any combo except SCT at 175 ml, slumps. BM primer – most absorbent of SW, Proceed and Kilz Any, but do not use Semigloss of any of these with size.. Benjamin Moore: Do not use eggshell Sherwin-Williams: Valspar:)

Without Crackle Size all primers, basepaints, and sheens have excellent adhesion but always test.

Rough Cracking Texture at 21.5 sq. ft/gallon over 1 coat of Size over Flat, Satin and Semi-Gloss Sheens of a major brand

For more in-depth information and images from our Extensive Crackle Testing, view the pages: Rough Cracking Texture, Surface and Underlayer Considerations Smooth Cracking Texture, Surface and Underlayer Considerations Transparent Cracking Glaze, Surface and Underlayer Considerations

Protecting the Crackled Surface

The Proceed Crackle products create durable surfaces that clean easily but will not chip easily. They can be glazed and with a proper amount of time for drying, may be topcoated with almost any proven topcoat for the situation. We do not have specific brand recommendations and we highly recommend testing for each application.

If overglazed, the glaze itself will be more sensitive and is in need of adequate curing time before applying the protective top coat.

How much protection is required is determined by the location and use of the surface. Wider cracks may need more protection simply due to the vulnerability of a crackled surface.

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