Posts Tagged ‘latex’

Loose Wallpaper; Wall Layers Delaminating

November 15, 2018


Look closely between the seam of the wallpaper in the top photo. You can see little crumbly things. In the second photo, the issue is even more pronounced.

This is in the upstairs bathroom of a 1950 house in central Houston. Over time, compounded by humidity, poor air circulation, poor air conditioning / heating, and possible influences from the outdoors, various layers inside the wall have let loose of one another.

What are these layers? Originally the walls were probably painted with oil-based paint. Over the years, layers of latex paint, gloss paint, joint compound, and etc. were piled on, probably without proper prep between coats.

Some of these materials are not compatible with one another, and, over time and with stressers like humidity, they can let go of one another.

If just the wallpaper has come loose, as in the second photo, it can be pasted and readhered. But when the wall itself is coming apart, there is no fix, other than to scrap everything down to the original drywall (huge mess) or go over everything with 1/4″ drywall.

In this case, the homeowner had me repaste the few loose areas of paper, and then chose to live with the other visible cracks, chalking it up to an old house full of character and quirks.

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Air Bubbles from Latex Paint

June 13, 2018

The walls had a light texture covered with latex paint, so I skim floated over the walls to smooth them. When the wet smoothing compound got onto the wall, the latex paint absorbed moisture, expanded, and created these bubbles. It’s called “off gassing.”

After the mud dried and was sanded, most of the bubbles disappeared, but some rings were still visible. When I primed with Gardz, a water-borne penetrating sealer, many of the bubbles raised their heads again.

I will have to see if they dry flat over night, or if I will have to use my putty knife to knock them off in the morning. I don’t want bumps showing under the new wallpaper!

Peeling Paint – What Is Going On?

May 8, 2016

Digital Image

Digital Image


I was “undressing” a bathroom today, to get all the fixtures off the wall so I could put up the new wallpaper. When I removed the hand towel ring, paint from the wall stuck to it, and pulled away from the wall. Latex paint peeling away from the wall like the skin of a balloon.

Why did this happen? Probably because whoever applied the paint used a cheap brand and put it over some other cheap paint. The paints were not able to bond together for a tight hold.

Another possibility is that the room had undergone renovations, which left dust on the walls, and when paint was applied over the dust, a tenuous bond resulted, which gave way the first time it was tested (by me pulling off the towel ring).

Moral: Properly prepare the wall, by removing all dust (with a damp sponge, rinsed frequently), using the right primer, and then following up with a good quality paint, properly applied. Waiting for the paint to dry and cure before attaching towel bars will also help keep these fixtures from getting stuck in the paint.

Why Is This Paint Peeling?

September 30, 2015

Digital Image

Digital Image


You are looking at the box where a phone line connects to the wall. I have unscrewed the plate so the wallpaper can go behind it. There was paint stuck to the plate, and when I pulled the plate away from the wall, some paint pulled away, too.

This shows poor bonding of the paint to the previous surface. You can tell that the yellow paint is latex, because it is stretchy and plastic-y. The green paint below that is probably latex, too. I don’t see a sheen on the green paint, but a gloss finish is one reason that a new layer of paint (or wallpaper) won’t stick. If the previous surface has a sheen, you must first de-gloss by chemical or by sanding (and then wipe off all dust), or use a primer specially formulated to stick to glossy surfaces, such as Zinsser 123.

There can be other reasons for paint not to bond well to the lower surface. Latex generally does not like to stick to old oil based paint. There could be crumbling or flaking, creating an unstable surface.

Either way, it’s important to get the subsurface stable and solid, so paint and wallpaper have something to grab on to, and to prevent peeling or crackling or flaking down the road.

Why Is This Paint Peeling Off The Woodwork?!

August 12, 2014

Digital ImageSee the paint peeling off the woodwork? This happened when the hose from my Shop Vac brushed against the molding, and also when I removed blue painter’s tape that was holding plastic sheeting across the doorway.

A couple of things are going on. First of all, this is latex paint put over old oil based paint, which is not a good combination.

Second, and most important, the painter failed to properly prep the woodwork before painting. This woodwork in this 1950’s home was originally painted with oil-based enamel (wonderful stuff, IMO). But it is glossy and hard, and new paint will not stick to it. So it is essential that the old paint be either sanded (and then wiped clean of dust), or wiped with a chemical deglosser, to remove the sheen, so the new paint has something to grab and hold on to.

Latex paint is also not a good choice, IMO, because it’s not sticky enough, and because it is too rubbery and plasticy. An acrylic paint is preferable, and brushes can still be washed up with soap and water. Of course, I’m something of an old-school gal, and I think that when painting woodwork, oil-based the best way to go. Even then, you still MUST properly prep the surface, meaning sanding and deglossing and wiping off the dust.