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Potential Drywall problems in new house

My husband and I are in the process of buying a new (to us) house. The house was built in 1924. It fits our needs perfectly and the price is right. It does need some work though - as does almost any older home.

My biggest concern at the moment is the walls. So far we've only viewed the house once because it's occupied until closing. When we viewed the house, I noticed that a lot of the painted walls look "bubbly". The texture of the walls are odd as well - the only way I can explain it is as if someone covered the walls with a layer of paper mache and then painted over it. Beneath the paint, you can see overlapping layers of paper or tape or something...very odd. The walls are not flat or smooth at all. I tried to find out from the home owners as well as the real estate agent if they knew whether or not the walls had been painted over wallpaper. No one claimed they knew anything - which is a little suspicious to me since the paint looks fairly new.

So - what are the potential problems and how should a person go about fixing them? I was told by a carpenter friend that we should sand the walls and then apply a layer of mud, let it dry, and then paint over top. My husband and I are perfectly capable - as long as the problem isn't worse than we think it is. I just want to know exactly how we can get smooth walls.


A. Spruce
Re: Potential Drywall problems in new house

Without seeing the walls for ourselves, there's no way to diagnose the extent of the problem. It sounds like many layers of paint and somewhere along the line an incompatible paint got used which caused the issue you describe. Is the crackling in some areas but not others? Only one room or all?

If it's just crackled paint, then scraping to remove the tall, jagged, and loose material would be in order, followed by applying a layer of drywall topping compound, also known as "floating". It will likely take multiple layers to float the walls smooth, from there you can either texture or paint. Before you paint ALWAYS use a good primer such as Zinsser BullsEye 1.2.3. first, then top coat with paint of choice.

Re: Potential Drywall problems in new house

Almost assured that this is the painted over wallpaper. We scraped off multiple layers of painted over wall paper in our 97 year old apt. building. The only way to get to smooth walls is to get rid of the wallpaper. Very tedious. A small inexpensive tool called a Paper Tiger and a gel substance that soaks into the holes made by the paper tiger and lots of work is the only way to solve this problem.

Hank Bauer
Re: Potential Drywall problems in new house

This tool will remove Paper, Glue and plaster high spots and leave the surface smooth.
Check Concrete tool supply.
[email protected]
Item: EPF-1500 SCOURER.
After removal if the wall require skim coating use a Venetian plaster just be sure it is lime based.No synthetics.

Re: Potential Drywall problems in new house

Chinacat, have you had a professional home inspection done? If not please make sure that you do. You need to know what problems you are inheriting before you buy the place. Good luck.

Re: Potential Drywall problems in new house

Thanks, everyone for all your replies! You have no idea how much I appreciate this.

I'm including a photo from the MLS listing. It's the best photo that shows the paint/wall issues.

Let me know if the image doesn't work!

As to the extent of the damage, it looks like the issue is in every room but the kitchen and bathrooms. In photos, it's difficult to see it unless the light is hitting it just right. The rooms with lighter paint colors are not as noticeable as the darker colored rooms. I believe that the only reason that the kitchen and bathrooms are unaffected is because they have been remodeled recently.

Yes, we're planning on having a home inspection done. In fact, there will be 2 separate inspections done since our loan is coming from the USDA Rural Development Office. However, I'm already in love with the house and it's in much better shape than most of the houses we've seen.

Here is a link to the MLS listing for anyone who is interested: http://www.westerniowamls.com/scripts/mgrqispi.dll?APPNAME=Iast&PRGNAME=MLSPropertyDetail&ARGUMENTS=-N188880667,-N114716,-N,-A,-N0

I also just noticed that I had the build date wrong, apparently it was built in 1939. My agent must have looked at the square footage instead.

Sorry for the long post! Thanks!

A. Spruce
Re: Potential Drywall problems in new house

I can't see the damage you're referring to in the MLS pics, but you're definitely going to want to get rid of all those God awful paint colors! Yesh! What were they thinking!:eek:

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