07:14PM | 10/21/08
Member Since: 10/20/08
1 lifetime posts
I am in need of some advice concerning our bathroom. I apologize now for the length of this post, but I feel it is important for me to explain thoroughly so that you can give me the best assistance. My husband and I recently moved back into our home after having rented it for several years.

I would love to call in a contractor concerning this problem, but our budget will not allow it. I am a stay at home mom/wife with all the patience and time in the world and I saw no reason why I should not be able to paint our bathroom. Famous last words… How hard could it be?

I took pictures and uploaded them to photobucket because it did not appear that I could share 5 pictures in this single post. I hope they are clear enough.

The Problem

Image 1

You are looking at our bathroom wall. The paint is coming off the wall. I would not describe it as peeling paint though. I equate peeling with length such as when you peel a cucumber. This is more like flaking chips.

Image 2

The majority of the walls are cracked like this example, although this is a section that has started flaking away. I could not clearly photograph the cracks that have not yet started flaking, but they are clearly visible when I look closely.

When I made my initial inquires about the problem, I was told that this occurs due to moisture. To fix it, I would need to sand the paint off, re-prep the wall, and repaint. I purchased sandpaper and got started. After a couple hours of sanding, I was getting no where. I was not even getting dust. So I returned to the hardware store and inquired again. This time it was recommended that I use a sander.

Image 3: Using the sander seemed to do nothing but melt and smear the paint, revealing a pink layer beneath the blue. I still seemed to be getting no where. I spent more time trying to pick strips of melted paint off the sander than actually sanding.

Back to the hardware store I go, this time being told that the paint is likely latex and I would need to use a putty knife to scrape the wall. This was going well until I ran off of the… joint compound? White chalky stuff applied to the gray/green paper layer of the drywall usually around the edges and middle. I was sure the actual brown paper was a bad thing, see Images 4 and 5.

The guy at the hardware store said the initial painters apparently did not prep the wall at all prior to painting it and that I would have to replace the drywall. Taking a wall down to hang another is much bigger job which involves the removal of cabinets and such. Surely this wasn’t my only option.

I went home, started browsing the internet, and learned that the tearing of the gray/green paper layer of the drywall is a problem that typically occurs when people attempt to remove wallpaper. The solution has been to apply a couple applications of Zinsser’s Gardz along with a couple applications of joint compound, essentially recreating a smooth wall surface. I have no problem with doing this. While this is definitely more time consuming than replacing the drywall, with consideration of my beginners skills, I think it would be simpler. Besides, it is not like I am in a hurry. This brings me to my question. Since I have to essentially rebuild the wall anyway, is it still necessary to chip away all the old paint? Theoretically speaking, and this is where my lack of knowledge comes in, would the applications of Zinsser’s Gardz and joint compound not seal everything underneath? Old cracked and flaking paint included? I would just hate to do all this only to learn that my theory is wrong and wind up replacing the drywall anyway.

Thank you for your time.


04:10PM | 10/22/08
Member Since: 07/28/02
1356 lifetime posts
There could have been some wallpaper removal in the past that caused some of this and there could have been latex paint applied over an ol based paint as well that is causing the cracking and flaking. I would scrape and hand sand to remove as much of the loose and flaking paint. Then you will want to prime with an oil based undercoater but not a stain killer type as they dry to brittle and may add to your problem, and then you can do your drywall repair to smooth things out. Then prime with an acylic primer and topcoat with an acrylic eggshell paint.
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