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Old 12-22-2008, 02:04 PM   #1
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Skim coat peeling in bathroom. ?


Hi everyone. I think when I first bought my house 3 years ago I used this site for some help, and no surprise, finding myself back here again. Guess that's how home ownership goes.

So over the course of the 3 years, the ceiling in the first floor bathroom has started to slowly crack, bubble a little, and seperate. The second floor bathroom is directly above, FYI.

Last week it got to the point where I got a ladder and started poking around to see what the problem is. I started with a 1/2 drill to see if I could maybe get an idea of what was up, and then realized that the skim coat wasn't really adhering well at wall, and with a putty knife pulled off an area where it was the worst. It looks like over the years (house is built 1893) there probably was some water damage from the 2nd floor bathroom leaking to the 1st floor and they put some sort of sheet something to fix the the plaster. This is a guess of course. Somewhere along the line they skim coated it to probably hide it for sale. I included some photos.

Should I just scrape, and then skim coat? Is there something else I should do? It happened slowly over three years. Is there maybe water leaking still from someplace? I didn't see feel moisture, but just trying to figure out why this happened. What do you guys think? Photos below.

And thanks in advance for any help/suggestions!


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Old 12-22-2008, 02:07 PM   #2
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Skim coat peeling in bathroom. ?


I'd suggest:

1.) Determining if the leak is active. If you have access to a moisture meter, that would help.
2.) If still active: Remove the damaged area of plaster, or the entire ceiling.
3.) Repair the leak.
3.) Repair, or replace, the ceiling area. I'd opt to remove the area. Since it has suffered repeated damage, I would not re-use the substrate, I'd use new materials.

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Old 12-22-2008, 02:30 PM   #3
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Skim coat peeling in bathroom. ?


Hmmm....a moisture meter. That is a new one on me. How does something like that work? Guessing something at Home Depot or Lowes?

I think part of the tricky thing is that the 2nd floor was dormer out and somewhere along the line I think a floor was built on a floor. But you are saying the problem can be addressed or at least checked from coming from the 1st floor ceiling?



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Originally Posted by AtlanticWBConst. View Post
I'd suggest:

1.) Determining if the leak is active. If you have access to a moisture meter, that would help.
2.) If still active: Remove the damaged area of plaster, or the entire ceiling.
3.) Repair the leak.
3.) Repair, or replace, the ceiling area. I'd opt to remove the area. Since it has suffered repeated damage, I would not re-use the substrate, I'd use new materials.
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Old 12-22-2008, 02:45 PM   #4
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Skim coat peeling in bathroom. ?


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Hmmm....a moisture meter. That is a new one on me. How does something like that work? Guessing something at Home Depot or Lowes?
It works by sticking a sensory prong onto an area, and determining the moisture content.

Examples (not the ones for plants, the other types shown):
http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_ss_gw_1_14?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=moisture+meter&sprefix=Moisture+Meter&x=1 7&y=25

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Originally Posted by 2031pratt View Post
Guessing something at Home Depot or Lowes?
No, the big box stores do not carry them. We purchase ours online, or at Sherwin Williams.

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....But you are saying the problem can be addressed or at least checked from coming from the 1st floor ceiling?
Yes.
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Old 12-22-2008, 03:29 PM   #5
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Skim coat peeling in bathroom. ?


Although it could conceivably be an old moisture problem, I'd tend to think it's an on-going one
It may be a small one, but cumulative
Def. go all-out to determine if it's still an on-going problem before any fix
And I mean all-out...whatever it takes...big holes...flashlight inspections for condensation on the pipes or drips after the kids' bath, after showers, after...whatever may be different or occasional...etc...
Anything less is a "throw it against the wall and see if it sticks" type "might work/might not" solution at this point
You may find it's simply an old problem rearing it's ugly head
Best to find out for sure though
You do not want to take the time and money for a fix and have it re-appear 6 months down the line
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Old 12-22-2008, 04:13 PM   #6
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Skim coat peeling in bathroom. ?


How old does that coating look? If it's been there a while I would be worrying a LOT about lead.

In any case, with a mess that looks that bad, I'd pull the whole ceiling down, figure out what is going on, and re-rock. This isn't just paint flaking here... this is wholesale failure.

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Old 12-22-2008, 04:29 PM   #7
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Skim coat peeling in bathroom. ?


Lead and asbestos possibly could have come into play over the years as repairs were made. You might want to have some testing done before you do a "full blown" tear-out. Perhaps cover with a new layer may be more in order..........
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Old 12-22-2008, 04:40 PM   #8
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Well, right now, we are thinking of eventually redoing both bathrooms, but don't have the $$ right now (too much for a DIY, at least for me.) If I just sort of aesthetically fix the problem a little now, does anyone think it might be a problem to wait on fixing this? If there is water coming from somewhere, it took awhile to create the situation to notice now, first noticed in about a year, and then now is three years later.

Or should I have the situation fixed ASAP?
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Old 12-22-2008, 04:44 PM   #9
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I'd get the leak fixed ASAP, and fix the cosmetics when you have the time/money. Water damage over a long time can cause mold issues, which are even MORE expensive/time-consuming to fix.

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Old 12-22-2008, 04:54 PM   #10
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Yeah, the more you cover it up, the more damage will occur to the underlying framing members, possibly leading to structural issues and certainly more expense to repair.....
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Old 12-23-2008, 12:29 AM   #11
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Skim coat peeling in bathroom. ?


So does this sound feasible? For some reason when I saw this problem crop up, I wondered if this might be/could be the problem. The second floor bathroom has the floor raised about an extra inch or more, probably again because of water damage they layed some plywood down to fix some problems and then tiled over that, effectively raising the floor. The toilet sits now on this raised floor. Is there any chance the toilet is too high and somehow leaks slightly because it isn't sealing right?

I usually try to deduce the cause of a problem, and when it is something like this, where I am no expert, where I bat around .100. But what do you guys think? If there is water coming from something, it would seem to be something that isn't under pressure, or the problem would be worse I would think. I suppose it could be hot water pipes too, but those run in the outer wall I think, so probably not. And the problem seems to be directly above the 1st floor toilet, which is directly below the 2nd floor toilet.
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Old 12-23-2008, 07:22 AM   #12
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Skim coat peeling in bathroom. ?


Yes, if the toilet isn't sealing right, that could cause water damage, although I would think you would smell something like that. In any case, you have little to lose by checking. Simply purchase a new wax ring from the hardware store, empty the tank and bowl, and have a peek...

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Old 12-25-2008, 11:55 AM   #13
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Skim coat peeling in bathroom. ?


yeah, now that you mention it, that is what a handyman said that was there for something entirely differently. that you would think you would get the odor if that is what it is.

going to have to wait until after the holidays i think to get this looked at, but it is now moved high on my list.
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Old 12-26-2008, 12:14 AM   #14
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Skim coat peeling in bathroom. ?


As some others have said I would get this taken care of ASAP. You do not want to wait with the possibility that the leak is still active, water can do too much damage. Remember when you are dealing with water you are also dealing with the possibility of mold, not to mention the structural damage. You need to see if the leak is still active, which is the most important things here, to determine how serious the situation is. Yes, it may be from the toilet, but you are going to need to investigate to find out. Being that one bathroom is above the other you are probably going to need to remove a good piece if not all of the downstairs bathroom ceiling to investigate. Finding the cause of water is not an easy thing to do. Once the leak is repaired or found to be dormant and that the ceiling joists are structurally intact you are probably best off going with sheet rock.
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Old 12-27-2008, 04:29 PM   #15
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Skim coat peeling in bathroom. ?


Ah the perks of home ownership. You definitely have a serious problem that should be fixed as soon as you can... just painting over it is strictly cosmetic... IMO a waste of time but if it's bothering you go for it. Removing the ceiling and seeing what's up is the only way to go... I'd add a vent if you don't have one. With credit/money/jobs being tight right now I know you want to wait but I would keep this high on your priority list... as others have mentioned you don't want mold which causes a new host of problems (including health problems for inhabitants) and just bc you don't see it doesn't mean it isn't there.
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