Home>Discussions>PAINTING & FINISHING>Something is wrong with my walls!
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katebee
Something is wrong with my walls!

I have no idea what the problem is, but I am trying to spackle a few holes and some of the old paint came off as I was smoothing out the spackle. I took the edge of the spackle knife and was easily able to sc**** off a layer of this paint. Using a damp rag I tried wiping the area clean and all it did was take off a hand sized area of paint. What is this that I'm wiping off? Underneath it's slightly bumpy in texture but feels somewhat glossy. Any help would be appreciated! I'm trying to figure out whether I should keep washing the wall off or not.

Thomas
Re: Something is wrong with my walls!
katebee wrote:

I have no idea what the problem is, but I am trying to spackle a few holes and some of the old paint came off as I was smoothing out the spackle. I took the edge of the spackle knife and was easily able to sc**** off a layer of this paint. Using a damp rag I tried wiping the area clean and all it did was take off a hand sized area of paint. What is this that I'm wiping off? Underneath it's slightly bumpy in texture but feels somewhat glossy. Any help would be appreciated! I'm trying to figure out whether I should keep washing the wall off or not.

What room are you working in?

jkirk
Re: Something is wrong with my walls!

... the last post is kinda pointless

anyhow. it can be any number of things from moisture damage to the drywall/plaster, latex paint on top of oil so its didnt stick to the oil, no primer on the walls for when the paint went on

katebee
Re: Something is wrong with my walls!

I'm working in a hallway. Do you have any suggestions as to what to do next? Should I wash the walls to get the top layer off? I have a hand sized spot removed so you'd be able to see where it was if you painted over it.

ordjen
Re: Something is wrong with my walls!

Katebee,

How old is your house? Is it plastered? I suspect you may be encountering "calsimine". This was a water soluable paint that was used many years ago. It was intended that it be washed off everytime before a new coat was put on. Unfortunately, oil paint came along and people would paint over it. Then came water soluable latex paint and people would paint over the oil paint. Unfortunately, the water from the latex would work its way through the oil paint and loosen the bond of the calsimine to the wall and everything would let go! From personal experience, I tell you it is a mess!

You may also be encountering a really poor quality "contractor's grade" paint. These cheap paints have large amounts of cheap chaulk as the pigment. They are virtually impossible to wash. The pigment will wash off the wall!

What to do? If it is really water soluable, I would try to wash it all off and then prime the surface. Short of that, I would prime the whole wall with a coat of good oil-based primer. This should prevent the moisture from Spackle or future latex paint from getting to the underlying paint and loosening it.

katebee
Re: Something is wrong with my walls!

Ordjen,
The house is from 1961 and my husband bought it 10 years ago. There are so many problems with this house to begin with that I couldn't tell you much about it. I myself just moved in 5 months ago. How could I tell if it was plastered? If it helps, I did notice that a fine dust would come off on my hand when touching the hallway walls. It was like this in our bedroom as well but the paint in that room just peeled off in sheets the size of my torso. We peeled an entire wall before managing to prevent it from peeling into the other walls. Here too I found a fine chalk like dust on my hands after touching the walls.

Thanks so much for your help!

Thomas
Re: Something is wrong with my walls!

If someone has pulled off wallpaper and did not wash the sizing off could be your problem. Just wash walls and prime with Kilz primer(oil base).

ordjen
Re: Something is wrong with my walls!

Katebee,

If your house is 1961 vintage, it probably is drywalled. Drywall sounds hollow when knocked upon, as opposed to plaster which sounds quite solid.

I think you are the victim of really low quality paint which was put over a glossy paint with no primer. It probably was done to cheaply make the house look good for sale. You stated that the surface underneath looks glossy.

To the extent possible, I would try to peel and/or sand off what is terribly loose. I would then prime the wall with oil based primer, as I and tomn10 have suggested. This should stabilize the poor quality paint underneath and allow you to continue with normal water based Spackle and latex/acrylic paints.

A quick test of paint quality is to wet your hand and place it on the wall. If the paint darkens as it absorbs the water, you have really poor quality paint present. Quality paints, even flat paint, will not absorb water rapidly. Quality paints are generally 100% acrylic and use only titanium oxide as its basic pigment. If the label states "calcium carbonate", leave it on the dealers shelf. Good paints begin around $20 per gallon. Don't assume, however, that price in totally indicative of quality. Some of the major manufacturers have products approaching $60 per gallon, but which test lower then paints
costing half that amount. Consumers Reports is a good starting reference.

jkirk
Re: Something is wrong with my walls!

washing down the walls with tsp and warm water wouldnt hurt for prep to get any grime and oil off before priming

Faron
Re: Something is wrong with my walls!

I'll concur with ~ 95% of the above assessments.
Due to your homes' age, at least it isn't Kalsomine!!

I'd wash the walls first with POWDERED Dirtex. Usually no need to rinse. When dry...

Here's where I'd use a different primer:
* Zinsser's Gardz primer will lock-down a somewhat unstable surface. This goes on somewhat thin, and looks like clearish skim milk! This is a classic case of where this specialized primer/stabilizer should be used.
* Now that the surface is stabilized, prime again with a good Latex primer. You wouldn't absolutely HAVE TO, but in this case, I would.
* Now...finally...your 2 finish coats of paint!!

Faron

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