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wall bubbling after 3rd coat of primer applied

I'm painting a room that will be our nursery. i'm using No VOC primer and paint to protect my wife and child from toxic fumes.

then it all went bad.

First the room was painted a dark blue and black so the primer I used didn't cover the blue until the 3rd coat of primer in four days. I thought i allowed the coats to dry enough before the next coat. 24 hours between each coat.

second, our house is old and has horse hair plaster. i looks like the previous owners papered over the plaster before painting it the dark blue.

as I was putting on my 3rd coat of primer and wishfully thinking my last. the wall started to bubble.

lastly. instead of leaving it alone, I started picking and scrapping the wall that was bubbling and pulled 60% of the paper off one wall. I think if I didn't stop i'd destroy all the work I'd done. right now only a small wall section has been scrapped down to the horse hair plaster.

so my question is. Where do I go from here?
1. how to i repair the section of wall that i peeled back to the plaster? not all the paper is removed.

2. how to a treat the rest of the walls so this doesn't happen there?


Re: wall bubbling after 3rd coat of primer applied


Sounds like you identified the problem. Your repeated priming of the surface has loosened the water soluable paste which holds that underlying wallpaper on the wall. At this point, I would cut out any raised bubbles.lightly sand those areas and then prime the whole room with an oil based primer such as orignal Kilz. After the Kilz has dried, patch the cut out areas with dry wall topping compound and then spot prime these areas with the Kilz. You can then apply a finish coat of acrylic paint. If you should have a bubble raise, don't panic. Let it dry out. It will probably tighten up. Indeed, your original bubbles might have tightened up too when thoroughly dry.

A note on repeat coats of primer: Primers do several functions; adhesion, sealing and, almost secondarily, blanking out old paint colors. Primers often sacrifice blanking ability in favor of adhesion and sealing qualities. The reason for this is that primers will have less white pigment than a full bodied white paint. Had you switched to your finish color immediately, you might have gotten sufficient coverage. Also, if you did not do so, tinting the primer toward the finish color would have greatly increased its blanking ability.

Re: wall bubbling after 3rd coat of primer applied

thanks Ordjen,

side notes:

I should have kept the wife out of the room until it was finished. she wouldn't have pointed out the bubbles.

i was afraid if i painted the light pink over a blue tinted primer i'd get a purple room. really don't like purple.

Re: wall bubbling after 3rd coat of primer applied


I had a very similar problem, even after I removed the wallpaper. The glue remained on the surface of the plaster and continued to bubble the low VOC primer, not matter how many coats were applied. Just to add to "Ordjen"'s suggestion, which is absolutely correct, I painted with Zincer oil-based primer (which has a very strong odor, but covered well) and then used a razor blade to cut off the few bubbles that came up. I patched with fexible joint compound and spot primed with the Zincer primer. 2 years and it still looks great! Good luck!!

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