Home>Discussions>PAINTING & FINISHING>Old paint peeling down to bare drywall
10 posts / 0 new
Last post
AllycatMKE
Old paint peeling down to bare drywall
AllycatMKE

We just bought a fixer-upper and I was prepping the walls in one of the bedrooms to paint. I was gently scraping away some peeling paint around an outlet when it started coming off in huge sheets (some as large as my body) down to the bare drywall (like I can see the pencil marks on the drywall with the measurements written on it). Not all of the paint came off either. In some spots the paint stayed on. At first it appeared that it the paint stayed on in places where there was mud (j/c) on the wall (seams, nail/screw holes, etc.), but in other places it peeled off the easiest on those spots so there's really no rhyme or reason to the madness.

After google searching, I've found numerous reasons as to the problem ranging anywhere from moisture issues to no primer to painting on dusty/dirty drywall. And as far as fixing it, well the suggestions are even more wide-ranging. It would make sense to me that I would put mud over the parts that stuck and feather it out to try to even out the wall, sand, wipe, mud again, sand, wipe, and prime. But it appears there are some who suggest that I should use oil-based primer on the wall first, then mud, then primer again, and then paint. If this is the recommendation, do I put the first coat of oil primer over everything? Including the latex paint that's still stuck on the wall? Or just on the exposed drywall?

I have no idea what to do. Any thoughts, ideas, suggestions are welcome (short of burning the house down--bc I would like to live there eventually).

A. Spruce
Re: Old paint peeling down to bare drywall
A. Spruce

There is no easy answer here. What you should do is try to get every speck of the old paint off before you do anything because it will likely start failing as soon as you start over coating it with anything else.

The reasons for the oil based primer first is to seal in any pollutants that will affect adhesion of water based materials, both drywall compound and paint. Secondly, an oil base primer isn't going to add moisture to the existing paint, which will cause it to peel even more.

So, remove as much as possible, then prime the entire surface with oil primer, then float out the wall and retexture. At this point, you could continue using OB primer, or switch to a latex, however, you've already got the OB going and your equipment dirty with it, might as well use it as your base coat (2 coats ) before applying your top coat (2 coats ). Additionally, DO NOT skimp on the quality of the paint, I recommend paint dealer paint over big box/off brand/cheap paints.

LtlLori
Re: Old paint peeling down to bare drywall
LtlLori

This exact same thing is happening to me except it's new dry wall that was just put up a few months ago. We had our kitchen recently remodeled and I asked the contractor to just paint it white. After living with it a couple months I decided on a color and just finished painting it. I went to remove the tape and the wall and ceiling paint are peeling right from the wall and leaving the raw drywall behind. This is NOT an oil/latex paint issue - all paints used are latex. I'm guessing the recommended resolution is the same as for the old paint/drywall? Oil primer and then paint the wall and ceiling over again?
Link to an image of the peeling paint: https://goo.gl/photos/nUyxJP3xqUZ32oKH9

A. Spruce
Re: Old paint peeling down to bare drywall
A. Spruce
LtlLori wrote:

This exact same thing is happening to me except it's new dry wall that was just put up a few months ago. We had our kitchen recently remodeled and I asked the contractor to just paint it white. After living with it a couple months I decided on a color and just finished painting it. I went to remove the tape and the wall and ceiling paint are peeling right from the wall and leaving the raw drywall behind. This is NOT an oil/latex paint issue - all paints used are latex. I'm guessing the recommended resolution is the same as for the old paint/drywall? Oil primer and then paint the wall and ceiling over again?
Link to an image of the peeling paint: https://goo.gl/photos/nUyxJP3xqUZ32oKH9

In cases like yours, this is usually the result of no primer and/or cheap paint. Do you know what kind of paint the contractor used?

Primer does several things, it soaks into the dust, texture, and drywall surface, bonding it all together to provide a solid surface for your paint to bond to. If the dust isn't encapsulated and bonded to the drywall, then it acts as a barrier to adhesion of all coatings applied. You would also think that just any cheap primer would do the job, but no, this is not the case, again, stick to good, name brand products. Zinnser makes excellent primers, for typical applications, Bull's Eye 123 is a great general purpose primer. As for top coats, stick to name brand dealer paints, stay away from big box and store brands.

LtlLori
Re: Old paint peeling down to bare drywall
LtlLori

They used Sherwin Williams, which I've always heard is a good brand, but what they left behind is a paint + primer... guessing they skipped the true primer stage and went straight to the 2 in 1. Very annoying as that's what they used throughout the entire first floor. Do you think I can just sand down what remains on the walls to even it out as much as possible and then use a good non-oil primer so seal it all in and then paint over? Trying to avoid having to take the paint off of the entire wall(s) and start from scratch.

A. Spruce
Re: Old paint peeling down to bare drywall
A. Spruce

While SW is a good brand, using a paint/primer combo over fresh, raw drywall was not the way to go, 2-in-1 is meant for painting over previously painted surfaces. What should have been done is what I suggested earlier, two good coats of Zinnser BE123 or similar primer, then two coats of regular paint.

The fix now, depends on how easily your paint continues to peel. If you can still get under the edge and pull it off in sheets, as indicated by the picture you posted, then you really need to peel off as much as you can, from there you can feather the edges and/or skim coat everything with drywall topping compound, retexture and paint it properly.

LtlLori
Re: Old paint peeling down to bare drywall
LtlLori

Thanks! I'll give that a go and see if it behaves.

PaintingPro
Re: Old paint peeling down to bare drywall
PaintingPro
LtlLori wrote:

Thanks! I'll give that a go and see if it behaves.

How did the job go? What did you try?

Post up the results.

PaintingPro
Re: Old paint peeling down to bare drywall
PaintingPro

I recently had a client request me to fix his drywall issue, a similar problem to yours.
He glued an anti sound foam to his wall to prevent noise to the neighbors living space while playing the drums.

What I did was sc**** all the remaining chipping paint from the wall. Then sand it with 80 grit paper to remove all the rough areas where the glue stuck on pretty good. Then I used a lighter sanding paper to feather it, after it was smoothed out. I applied "Drydex", a fast drying dry wall repair formula to the wall.

Once it was dry I sanded it down with a 120 grit sand paper. After sanding, I then applied more Drydex to the needed area. Once it dried again, I sanded it with a 150 grit to smooth it all out.

Once the repair was evenly filled in, I painted the damaged area first with a primer. Once I gave sufficient time to dry, I then applied the wall color over the entire wall with 2 coats.

It turned out amazing!... Just like new again.

I recommend you trying this method.

Jennie
Re: Old paint peeling down to bare drywall
Jennie

I just peeled off all the paint in my bathroom. It was about five layers deep. I'm pretty sure it was from moisture. So just to confirm before I do any repairs on the wall I should paint the wall  with an oil based primer? I have quite a few areas where the top layer of the drywall has come off and you can see the layered paper below.  Thanks for your help! 

 

Sponsored Stories

TV Listings

Find TV listings for This Old House and Ask This Old House in your area.