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jheavner 09-01-2008 01:18 PM

paint peeling everywhere
My wife and I recently moved into a home build in the late 40's. The house has a combination of drywall (remodeled areas done two years ago) and what appears to be plaster skimmed over dry board (or whatever it's called).

We have experienced paint peeling problems on a variety of surfaces.

Before we moved in, we had hardwood floors refinished. We hung plastic sheeting up to limit the dust using painter's tape. When we pulled the tape down, some of the paint came with it. This was on the newer drywall surface.

I started remodeling some of the closets which involved removing some old shelving, repairing the walls with joint compound, and priming with Kilz2 (latex based). Almost immediately the primer started bubbling from the wall. The closets are some kind of board that appears to be skimmed with plaster. I don't know what the original paint was.

The living room had a red wall (shiny so satin or semigloss maybe) and the other walls are a neutral color all over newer drywall. We decided to prime the red wall with the Kilz2 before repainting it and went ahead and primed the rest of the room in the hopes that it would make the new color look more consistent. The red wall primed fairly well but the wall with the neutral color had some peeling issues. The one area peeled all the way down to the drywall paper. It looks like the drywall underneath had been patched at some point and the joint compound had a consistency like mud and was easily scrapped off exposing the screws.

I will take any advice you can give. We're now worried that the drywall wasn't prepped properly and adding new paint to it is only going to pull the existing paint off. I bought a quart of Benjamin Moore Fresh Start All-purpose Alkyd primer (at the recommendation of the guy at the store) and I'm going to try and repair one of the peeling areas but I don't know if I should put new compound over the screws first or apply the new primer first.

slickshift 09-01-2008 01:47 PM

It does sound like the new drywall was not properly prepped...nor most of the rest of the walls either
Unfortunately, adding the notoriously failure-prone Kilz2 to the mix did not help
It is adequate at best...on new drywall with perfect conditions
Anything else it's such a huge risk many real paint stores will not even carry it

You're best plan of attack is to scrape and sand any peeling or iffy areas
If you can start it peeling easily, it's not a good substrate to paint

Then you prime
I think your paint dealer is on the right track with the alkyd Freshy
(at least at this point)
You need the adhesion and probably have old oil-based paints somewhere in there (which is high on the list of your causes here)

Then you joint compound
Then re-prime the repair (acrylic can be used at this point, or if you still have so alkyd left go for it)

You can paint with acrylics over the alkyd primer

jheavner 09-01-2008 02:57 PM

Ugh, I was expecting that answer, which means my weekend project is now a several week one. What annoys me the most is that I went to Home Depot after the first peeling and asked their "paint expert" and he directed me to Kilz2. I specifically asked about oil-based and he said latex was fine.

What should I do with surfaces that we haven't started to paint yet? If I apply the new, Alky-based primer over the existing paint that appears to be in good condition, will it soak through and bind or do I really need to try and scrape that old paint off first? The paint looks to be in decent shape and has no visible bubbles but applying tape to the wall has removed some of it.

I'm very tempted to hire someone to come in to paint but I'm worried that they'll just cover the problem and not provide a permanent solution.

slickshift 09-01-2008 03:55 PM

Unfortunately, Home Depot is not the best place for paint product and/or advice
But...moving on...

Will the alkyd soak and bind?
To a point, yes
Do you still need to check for adhesion?
You still should test any and all walls, as they are now pretty much all suspect
If it's firmly adhering, there's no need to scrape and sand
If it's coming off, you really should scrape it off
It's the best way to ensure you don't have any more issues

If you have many walls that look good, but have adhesion issues, you could consider a more penetrating sealer
This solution has it's own issues, and we really don't know why your old paint is coming off (could be over oil w/o primer), so it's not my first choice
But it could be an option, depending on what happens, what you find, what you have left...etc...

jheavner 09-01-2008 04:28 PM

What's the best way to check for proper adhesion?

Considering that we've attempted 1.5 walls out of 5 total rooms (and hallway and stairs) and 1 closet out of 5, would I be better off to cut my losses and bring in a pro? My wife and I (mostly me) have already put our Labor Day weekend into the project and the last thing I want to do is invest a lot of our time and money and have it come out looking worse than it is now. She's not a big fan of painting under the best of circumstances.

jheavner 09-03-2008 09:07 AM

Quick update... I contacted a painter for an estimate. When he arrived on-site I explained what had happened as well as what I'd done so far. His solution was "two coats of latex". When he said that I said that the paint was peeling from the walls when latex primer was applied what made him think that putting two coats of latex would fix the problem. He told me not to worry that it would be fine. Obviously I am worried and I'm getting a second opinion. The thing is, we are planning to add an addition in the next 3 to 5 year (or sell the house) and many of these walls will be coming down. A solution that keeps paint on the walls for 5 years is fine; one that peels after 5 months isn't.

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