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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jun 2014
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    Default Removing paint from walls question

    When we bought our house 10 years ago I repainted almost all of the interior walls. I was unaware that the previous owner had re-painted at some point and must have painted latex over oil-based paint. Soon after moving in the paint began to crack and flake off the walls. With 4 small children, I have never had time to re-do it. It has been flaking off and falling on the floor for years. Each time I vacuum, I use the floor tool to suck more of the flaking paint off the walls, but there it still about 40% of the flaking, crackled paint on the wall. I need a quick, easy and simple way to remove it. Is there one or am I going to have to sand all of it off?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
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    2,091

    Default Re: Removing paint from walls question

    I'm afraid that you've got a lot of scr@ping ahead of you because all the loose paint must come off or the new paint will come off with it later on. Being time-limited take the job on in steps, one room (or even one wall) at a time. Do your prepwork well so you'll never need to do this again. Use either Kilz original or Zinnser Bullseye 123 (red label) primer which will bond and seal over almost anything, then two coats of a good quality paint over that.

    Big jobs can overwhelm so break them into smaller, more easily handled parts in a logical order that shows progress as you go and they will not seem so overwhelming anymore.

    Phil

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Posts
    7,051

    Default Re: Removing paint from walls question

    Quote Originally Posted by Mastercarpentry View Post
    I'm afraid that you've got a lot of scr@ping ahead of you because all the loose paint must come off or the new paint will come off with it later on. Being time-limited take the job on in steps, one room (or even one wall) at a time. Do your prepwork well so you'll never need to do this again. Use either Kilz original or Zinnser Bullseye 123 (red label) primer which will bond and seal over almost anything, then two coats of a good quality paint over that.

    Big jobs can overwhelm so break them into smaller, more easily handled parts in a logical order that shows progress as you go and they will not seem so overwhelming anymore.

    Phil
    Agreed on all accounts.

    Careful scraping/brushing so as not to damage the wall, do one wall at a time to keep the motivation and momentum going. When priming and painting, do the entire wall, don't do sections or you'll have streaks/transitions where you start and stop. Always end painting at a corner and you will never have a transition line.

    Depending on how textured your walls are, you're probably going to be relegated to using a brush, a standard, plastic floor scrub brush will do the job, you can even get one with a long handle which will give you better grip and leverage, and you also won't likely have to use a ladder. I would also recommend the use of a dust mask, as there will not only be plenty of paint flakes in the air, there will be all manner of dust and dirt created by this project that you don't want to be breathing. Safety glasses wouldn't be a bad idea either.
    I suffer from CDO ... Its like OCD, but in alphabetical order, LIKE IT SHOULD BE!!!

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jun 2014
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    2

    Default Re: Removing paint from walls question

    Thanks so much for you response. One more quick question. Do I have to get every bit of the old off? I am afraid that if I don't, it will flake and peel also after I repaint. I didn't know if primer would stop what it is doing. Since at least 2 layers of paint are flaking off I think I will probably have to sand to smooth anyway.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Posts
    7,051

    Default Re: Removing paint from walls question

    The general rule of thumb is that your top coat is only as good as whatever it is painted over, meaning that if the surface doesn't allow the paint to stick, then the new top coat isn't going to stick, likewise, having the paint stick to the flakes of paint that are peeling off isn't going to do you much good either. So, you do need to remove as much of the flaking paint as possible, with that done, the two primers suggested will help to "glue" down the remaining flakes and provide the perfect surface for your new top coat.

    I would caution against sanding for a number of reasons, the primary being that it will do more damage to the wall than good, other reasons include increased dust levels that will migrate to every nook and cranny of the house, and increased work for little benefit. If you've got textured walls and you start sanding, you are going to change and/or remove the texture before you get all the paint off, requiring you to float out the damage and then retexture to restore the aesthetics of the walls. You may ultimately be relegated to this anyway, but it's best to avoid it if at all possible.
    I suffer from CDO ... Its like OCD, but in alphabetical order, LIKE IT SHOULD BE!!!

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Location
    Houston Texas
    Posts
    2,969

    Default Re: Removing paint from walls question

    A low cost but labor intensive method to remove the top coats; (sometimes works very well)

    1 - spritz the wall with water.
    2- while wet, stick on a thin layer of plastic film (can be done section by section) The sheet plastic keeps the water from drying. If need be, peel the top back a little ans spritz in more water.
    3- Let set for a spell to loosen the paint.
    4- Test every once in a while to see if its working.
    5- When the paint is sufficiently loosened, pull down the plastic and peel off the loose paint with a putty knife.

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