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Leaching/Running Paint in Bathroom

Question and any help would be beneficial, we moved into our house roughly two years ago and painted the bathroom and within a period of time started noticing what appeared to be possibly nicotine stains start to leach through the wall. With this said we attacked the issue by repainting the bathroom first using a base coat of KILZ Primer and then applied the actual paint that was said to be specifically for bathrooms. In doing so the problem actually has gotten worse now the paint pretty much runs down the wall at times. We were under the impression that the KILZ would seal the wall off and eliminate the issue. It should be noted that we do have an exhaust fan in the room and make it general practice to leave the door cracked open while showering. Our house is also heated with baseboard hot water heat and the room is located within the center of the home.

Any suggestions would be much appreciated, we are at a loss for how to solve the issue.


A. Spruce
Re: Leaching/Running Paint in Bathroom

Those "nicotine" stains were probably nothing more than common house dust. There is enough of this coating all walls within your home, however, in the warm/moist environment of a bathroom, the condensation that collects on the walls "washes" the wall, and creates these dark "drip" or "run" marks. It happens, and a periodic washing of the walls will keep it at bay.

The second issue of the paint running is totally different. Is the paint actually running or is it more of the dust/dirt, "nicotine" residue that you're seeing? If it is actual paint color that's running and not the dark brown sludgy looking stuff, then it could be any of the following problems

  1. cheap paint
  2. the paint wasn't mixed properly
  3. improper wall preparation/cleaning
  4. paint was incompatible with primer
  5. either paint or primer was faulty

1 - Cheap paints lack the pigments and additives to cover and harden properly - stick with name brands.2 - Always mechanically mix paint within a few days of use, any longer and serious settling of the pigments and additives occurs that mere stirring won't reincorporate.
3 - It is important to wash semi-gloss/gloss walls with TSP solution to remove surface dirt and grime, as well as etch the surface ready to accept the new coating.
4 - This is a less likely occurrence, however, it can still happen. Any reputable paint dealer can offer suitable compatible products.
5 - The least likely of the causes is faulty product, though it does happen. If you still have remnants of the primer and the paint, take them to a reputable dealer and get their opinion on compatibility and quality.

Re: Leaching/Running Paint in Bathroom

Some questions ..........

What size is the room?

What type of wall material? (drywall, plaster, wood, paneling, other? )

Did you remove some wallpaper before you painted?

Did you wash the walls prior to painting?

If so, with what product(s)?

Did you also rinse the walls well?

Did you originally use an oil-base paint or a latex?

Do you remember what brand?

Low cost or high-end?

Really dark color, maybe?

The Kilz you used.....was it Kilz "original" or Kilz II (the waterborne stuff)?

How long between priming and painting the second time?

How long did you wait after the paint was on the walls before you started bathing or showering in the room again?

How many people are using this bath?

Re: Leaching/Running Paint in Bathroom

See my answer above in "Paint Gets Damp" query

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