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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    Tulare, CA
    Posts
    5

    Angry Peeling Bathroom Paint

    In June, 2010 I purchased a home built in 1905. My bathroom and bedroom and one other bedroom had wallpaper. The wallpaper in the bathroom showed no sign of distress at all. We paid a general contractor who hired a painter to remove the wallpaper and paint over it. Now there are huge cracks in the paint that are peeling back from the wall in the bathroom and in the bedrooms there are a few spots where it appears that the paper underneath is sticking out? This happened in our most recent rental as well, but only in the bathroom. The rental was built in 1917. We have ventilated our bathroom at our "new" home. Also, the paint around the windows appears to be shredding. We know we will have to redo the walls. How would you suggest going about this so it doesn't happen again?
    Last edited by Stepane; 03-28-2011 at 04:58 PM.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Location
    Portland, Oregon, formerly of Chicago
    Posts
    1,808

    Default Re: Peeling Bathroom Paint

    You state that the contractor "hired a painter to remove the wallpaer and paint over it". Did he indeed remove it, or did he paint over it? "There are spots where it appears the wallpaper underneath is sticking out" ?

    If he removed it, did he prime the walls after thoroughly removing all the wallpaper paste? Was he going over old, slick oil paint? If he went over slick oil paint, my choice would have been to prime the walls with an oil based primer. The finish coat could then have been oil or acrylic.

    What to do? First, determine if he did indeed leave the old wallpaper in place. If he did, strip it down to bare plaster or paint. Even if it has been painted over, it can still be removed, albeit, with more difficulty. You can sand the walls with 36 grit sandpaper until you see the pulp of the wallpaper. You do not have to get all the way down to the wall, but merely through the surface which would prevent water from penetrating to the paste underneath. Spray the walls with warm water and a product such as "DIF". DIF will help in loosening the paste. It takes lots of water and patience until the paste finally releases. Plaster normally strips well as it is much harder and more water resistive than drywall. I like to use a flexible 2 1/2inch spackle knife with an angled blade to sc**** the loosened
    paper.

    After the paper is off and all paste washed off, patch any imperfections and then prime the walls. If you are down to bare plaster, use an acrylic based plaster primer to seal the walls. If you are down to slick oil paint, prime with an oil based primer. The finish coat can be either acrylic or oil based. Oil is more durable in a high humnidity area such as a bath, especially in a bath in an older home with little or no insulation in the walls. Such walls will sweat more than in a well insulated home.

    If the wallpaper was removed by the "painter", it appears that he failed to get good adhesion to the old surface. He very possibly painted over paste residue. Both situations could cause peeling. In this case, you must sc**** and sand as best you can to get down to sound substrate. Again, I would prime the entire wall with an oil based primer. Oil based primer will not aggravate the situation should he have painted over water soluable paste. I would then spackle the imperfections and then spot prime them. Finally, finish coat. As stated, my preference would be for an oil based enamel in the bath area. Acrylic would probably be fine in the bedroom area.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Location
    Houston Texas
    Posts
    2,969

    Default Re: Peeling Bathroom Paint

    What he said plus;

    fix the ventilation. Use a larger fan, make sure it blows outside, make sure it is being used.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    Tulare, CA
    Posts
    5

    Default Re: Peeling Bathroom Paint

    Great, thanks for your help. I apologize for the ambiguity, I was trying to type my message during a short work break. The painter was to remove the wallpaper and paint where it had been. There appear to be little pieces of wallpaper sticking out in the bedroom, almost like he couldn't get the paper off, painted over the paper, then the paper started to peel away from the wall.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Location
    Portland, Oregon, formerly of Chicago
    Posts
    1,808

    Default Re: Peeling Bathroom Paint

    There are a lot of good painters in the world. Unfortunately, There are a lot more poor ones. I think you got one of the latter

    To find a good painter, ask friends or neighbors who have had good luck with theirs. Secondly, ask at a good paint store. The store personnel know pretty well what quality of work their trademen customers do. There is a world of difference between "apartment painters" and quality residential painters.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
    Location
    Fargo, ND
    Posts
    143

    Default Re: Peeling Bathroom Paint

    Uffda...this can be a tough one!

    My "Mike Holmes" personality kinda takes hold here...
    * Instead of killing yourself with many passes over the wall, cleaning/sanding/stripping, etc., etc......
    * You'll STILL have an old uninsulated (probably) moisture-prone wall.
    * For the most long-run benefit, tear-out that window AND wall.
    * Insulate/spray-foam well, re-do any wiring &/or fan-runs, and re-rock.
    * Now...you'll have a new wall that WILL NOT cause issues again.
    * You also MAY get it done faster!

    Faron

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Location
    Portland, Oregon, formerly of Chicago
    Posts
    1,808

    Default Re: Peeling Bathroom Paint

    I share the love of watching Holmes on Holmes. It is an exercise in what can be done in a perfect world where money was no object. However, in the real world , where we have to mind our pocket books, less drastic actions are required.

    The house concerned here was built in 1905. It undoubtedly was built with true 2x4's, ballon construction, absolutely no insulation, no fire stops and probably dry hydronic heating. The reason these grand old buildings have lasted so long is because their wall cavities are inherently well ventilated. Moisture which works its way into the wall can easily dry out.

    In an attempt to make our homes more energy efficient, we have often caused other problems. There is a great debate now about the advisabilty of putting an absolute vapor barrier, such as heavy plastic sheeting, behind the dry wall, especially in air-conditioned homes. In air-conditioned homes, the moist, warm summer air of the outdoors works its way to the back side of interior wall, condenses and gets the whole wall cavity soaking wet! There it is trapped and causes horrible damage.

    I would agree with the foaming of the wall cavities during a major renovation. However, for the immediate term, I would stick by trying to deal with the situation which a half-assed "painter" created.

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