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Why is the new paint peeling off this wall?

(17 Posts)
AmblingAlong Wed 07-May-14 11:51:21

Does anyone have a clue about renovating old houses? I was so proud that I'd managed to fill, smooth and paint (and even paper some walls).

I have just painted 2 walls in the bathroom above the tiles and now a week later the white paint on one of the walls is starting to flake off. The wall is kind of chalky underneath the paint but I did wash and sand it all before painting. The bits that I had to fill in have painted over OK. What can I get the chalky paint off with? More washing maybe?

PigletJohn Wed 07-May-14 11:54:46

how old is the house?


RockinHippy Wed 07-May-14 11:56:06

Sounds like you needed to seal the wall with a PVA wash before you painted (watered down PVA) this would have sorted out the dusty chalkiness in prep for painting.

I'm not sure about getting it off, maybe someone else could help with something easier. but I would be giving it a good sanding over the whole wall, seal & than repaint


PigletJohn Wed 07-May-14 11:59:41


never put glue on a wall which you hope one day to paint.

AmblingAlong Wed 07-May-14 12:01:24

That sounds like what I need RockinHippy and I'd rather do that than try to get the old stuff off as it seems to be quite thick and I'm starting to get fed up, just want it finsihed.

AmblingAlong Wed 07-May-14 12:02:10

PigletJohn x-post! Ok, so it has to come off somehow? Or could I paper over it?

PigletJohn Wed 07-May-14 12:04:45

tell me how old the house is.

RockinHippy Wed 07-May-14 12:08:23

piglet that was the advice of professional decorator friends as regards a similar problem we had! it was also backed up by our local professional paint suppliers - it's not glue per se, it's mixing PVA to make a sealant - something the company we paid to paint the front of our house forgot to do when painting over part of the wall - result - peeling paint within the week.

We followed the instructions of our friend & it worked - no problems a year later

AmblingAlong Wed 07-May-14 12:23:10

PigletJohn it was built in the 1930's

MangoBiscuit Wed 07-May-14 12:32:14

Watching with interest. We have a very similar problem, except it's not chalky underneath. From the shape of the patch that's peeling I'd say ours is something to do with where the shower had repeatedly splashed the wall before.

PigletJohn Wed 07-May-14 12:40:14

A 1930's house may have had distemper on the walls, it is usually in pale pastel colours such as pink, blue or green. Chalky is about right. It will not come off in cold water, but will with hot. It has a distinctive unpleasant smell. It is not a satisfactory surface to try to redecorate.

If the walls have been papered in the past, they may have a residue of paste, which will prevent the paint touching the plaster. Mist with warm water and use a broad metal scraper. Wipe the slime off the scraper onto your arm a rag until no more comes off.

When you have got the walls clean, apply one or two mist coats of emulsion thinned with 20% water, using a soft wide brush. It will soak into the plaster and seal it, and adhere firmly so that the finish coats stick well. If your finish paint is expensive, use matt white emulsion which is very cheap and will give the surface an even colour and absorbency.

Unlike glue or paste, it will not soften or bubble when emulsion is applied on top.

MangoBiscuit Wed 07-May-14 12:48:47

Pale minty green stuff, check! Would a steam cleaner do the trick?

AmblingAlong Wed 07-May-14 13:09:02

Thanks PigletJohn that's it - I've got really pale green and pink. I had been washing with cold so will give it a go with warm/hot and try again. Mango how I wish I had a steam cleaner to hand!

PigletJohn Wed 07-May-14 13:10:25

if it is distemper, a steam cleaner will get it off. However if you hold the steam jet still for long enough to make the plaster hot, it may crack and burst off the wall. Try spraying with hot water and a nylon scrubbing brush first, with your metal scraper to get it off before it re-sets. If it is distemper, you will smell the boiled-up horses hooves it is made with.

If your plaster is a greyish white, it is lime. Modern gypsum plaster is usually pink to brown. AFAIK lime plaster does not burst off the walls, but I have never steamed it. It may go soft.

MangoBiscuit Wed 07-May-14 13:39:51

Ambling, the one I have is courtesy of the Karcher review via Mumsnet. If Grumpy Baby lets me, I'll have a pop at it later.

Vivacia Wed 07-May-14 17:16:44

It could be salt coming through the brick work. Does the chalky stuff taste saline? Does the wall have a crackled appearance.

If it is salt it means water is getting in to the masonry some where. You need to stop that. Once you've prevented further damage the only thing you can do is to scrape off the paint, let the wall dry out, scrape off any more deposits and re-paint.

wowfudge Sat 10-May-14 11:09:06

Definitely sounds like distemper! Friends had it on the ceilings in their 1930s house and didn't realise until after they'd decorated. Had to scrape it all off. In the end they plasterboarded the lumpy living room ceiling as was less painful.

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