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Magnetic 10-11-2012 05:46 PM

Repainting Room With Peeling Paint: Advice Needed
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I am planning to repaint my livingroom within the next few weeks. I have some peeling paint that I could use some advice about...or perhaps I should be referring to it as "cracked" paint...I just don't know...

My bungalow style house was built in 1949, and I live in an area with cold winters. The only other time I've painted the livingroom is when I first moved into the house 14 years ago. The paint I had used was a high quality gloss paint. The peeling paint doesn't look like flaky peeling skin. Instead, it resembles large cracks several inches long. No paint has actually fallen off the walls, and the plaster is fine. The cracks began about 2 years ago (so 12 years after I had done the painting). I waited to repaint until now as the cracks were not unsightly when they began (they now are) and I wanted to wait until after I had my roof replaced and had a thorough tuck point job done to rule out those possibilities. I am suspecting that improper insulation (my next project) and cold winters are a culprit as opposed to moisture/water damage or calcimine.

I just moved a table that sits under a window and to my shock, found the paint has severely separated from the wall (now am assuming poorly insulated wall). The plaster is visible and seems in good shape. No water damage or moisture is detectable.

I plan to go across town to the mom and pop paint shop that I used to use.... I'll bring pictures and ask their advice. However, I'd like to ask all of your for your advice as well...

From an inspection of portions of the peeling paint from both the wall that is peeling and the ceiling (tested and thankfully the original layer(s) of paint on the house are lead free), I find it interesting that the layer(s) of paint that are underneath the layer that I painted is so very thin.

I have heard of calcimine being used in some older homes, but I'm not convinced yet that my problem is calcimine because a) I believe calcimine peeling looks more like peeling skin (if that makes sense), and what I'm seeing is large thick cracks of paint (no cracks in the paster) peeling from the walls. and b) the peeling areas seem consistent with extra cold areas of the room. Only 1 wall is peeling and is directly underneath where most of the peeling on the ceiling has occurred. 80% of the celing looks great still, and the other three walls are in beautiful condition.

My questions:
* What is the best way to prepare the surface of my walls and ceiling?

* Unless told differently, I plan to scrape as much of the peeling paint as I can and then sand to form as even a surface as I can and then use a compound to blend any ridges or imperfections as best as I can. What type of compound should I use for that?

* Since I used high gloss paint, should I use a deglosser throughout the room? If brands can be discussed, do you have any recommendations?

* My walls are a deep coral color. I plan to repaint in a dark taupe/tan. I am anticipating that I should prime all 4 walls (though only 1 wall has peeling paint) and the ceiling (has peeling paint). Or is it only necessary to prime those areas that have exposed plaster? If deglossing is recommended, do I do that even if I prime?

* I like high gloss paint. Can I stick with that or is it more prone to cracking?

* I'm assuming I used latex paint previously. I hope I can make that assumption? I've heard of oil and latex primers? Can someone please give me a primer on primers?

Thanks in advance for any advice.

chrisn 10-12-2012 04:28 AM

NO time to respond right now but first off ,forget the deglosser.
I will ( or somebody) get back to you this evening:yes:

Magnetic 10-12-2012 11:48 AM


Originally Posted by chrisn (Post 1029256)
NO time to respond right now but first off ,forget the deglosser.
I will ( or somebody) get back to you this evening:yes:

Thanks in advance for your help, Chrisn.

user1007 10-12-2012 06:20 PM

I do not want to upstage Chris but if the paint has been on for 15 years it may just be aging and the film not capable of adapting to the contraction/expansion of the plaster and humidity changes in room. It may simply be time to paint.

You mentioned it was high gloss and a coral color so my guess is it was a solvent/oil based finish of some kinds, especially if from 15 years ago. There are high gloss latex/acrylic interior paints but usually only in factory mix or lightly tinted colors.

Your prep plan sounds fine. Sanding the room with a pole sander and fine grit paper to dull the gloss will go fast. Scrape and skim coat as you plan. Then, at least spot prime.

Since there is some question as to what paint you used and you seem willing? I would prime first. I think alkyd primers are great equalizers and you can put just about any finish over them. A high bond latex/acrylic primer would be another option but I would put an latex/acrylic finish over it.

Temperature and humidity changes can be extreme here too.

By the way, you might want to update your profile so we know where you are?

Brushjockey 10-13-2012 09:59 AM

I am with Sds except for the oil all the time part.
First- since you painted last- what was the paint you used, oil or latex?
(BTW sds- 15 years ago wasn't the dark ages, they had latex then- lol)
I fix cracks in plaster like this;
Remove anything loose
Along major cracks where there is movement in plaster causing the crack ( you can sometimes see by pushing, or hear by tapping and hear a rattle) I use 1 1/4" sheetrock screws and about every foot or so on both sides "suture" the plaster back on the underlying lathe boards. They are spaced with a 1/2 " between them so you have to hit the wood. SLightly sink the screw head below surface. Takes a touch..
Cover crack with screen tape
I usually use powdered setting mud for the first coat but you could use all purpose joint compound. Set tape and major fills with first coat, fan out a m
bit more with 2 and 3rd coats. Use a 12" mud blade.
Sand smooth.
Prime at least mudded areas, if not all.
look over- you are using a very unforgiving sheen- spot mud/sand prime until perfect!
2 coats of a high quality paint.

Good luck!

user1007 10-13-2012 10:16 AM


Originally Posted by Brushjockey (Post 1029961)
First- since you painted last- what was the paint you used, oil or latex?
(BTW sds- 15 years ago wasn't the dark ages, they had latex then- lol)

:laughing::laughing::laughing:Just saying viable HIGH GLOSS latex acrylics for walls and ceilings were, as I remember, not readily available but in light tint colors a decade and half ago. I used quite a bit of the MAB product but the gloss only came in its light tint base.

Of course terms having to do with sheen and gloss are highly subjective too. It may well be latex semi-gloss.

Magnetic 10-14-2012 09:13 AM

Thank you for your suggestions...

It is possible that I used a semi-gloss paint though it does appear quite glossy to my untrained eye. Whatever particular paint I used, I am certain that I used the best quality paint the store offered as that's standard for me. I brought photos and samples of the peeling paint to my preferred paint store, and the pro I spoke with seemed to know without a doubt that what I had used was a latex paint. I referred to it as glossy and he didn't correct me on that, but it's certainly possible that it could have been a semi-gloss.

Whether I used a semi-gloss or something even glossier, he showed me swatches that demonstrated the difference between finishes and he convinced me of the horrors in staying with something more glossy as it is much less forgiving of imperfections. However, considering I last painted 14 years ago, I am pleased with how well the paint did hold up aesthetically considering everything. This time around, I'll be going with the top Benjamin Moore latex in eggshell, and I'm going to keep good records of the exact paint that I use so that I won't be guessing in the future as I am now.

Based on my particular situation, the paint shop pro suggested I prep my walls in this order:
  • Peel
  • Spot prime with oil based primer
  • Apply joint compound and let dry
  • Sand with pole sander including a light sanding of the entire wall/celing surface
  • Spot prime with latex
  • Doublecheck all patches to ensure smooth consistent finish
  • Paint

I peeled yesterday, but plan to go over again today to make sure I didn't miss any leftover loose paint. Being thorough is important to me. If I accidentally overlook a small amount of loose paint, say on an edge of one of the spots, is it a sure thing that it will start peeling up in a couple years or will the steps that I'm taking above dramatically minimize that risk?

After peeling and getting a better look at the plaster, I am thrilled that all my plaster seems in great condition with only a couple hairline cracks.

I welcome any other suggestions or input.

chrisn 10-14-2012 04:37 PM

I will add this, you are going to get a better looking finish( especially after patching) by priming the whole wall. If you were painting flat, you would not have to do that but with anything else, the patched part is going to flash:yes:

Magnetic 10-15-2012 05:19 PM


Originally Posted by chrisn (Post 1030669)
I will add this, you are going to get a better looking finish( especially after patching) by priming the whole wall. If you were painting flat, you would not have to do that but with anything else, the patched part is going to flash:yes:

Excellent point, thank you -- I'll prime the walls and ceiling.

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