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Question DetailsAsked on 6/14/2011

Ugly, awful plaster peeling problem in bathroom

I need a contractor in Greensboro, North Carolina that does plaster walls. Everyone works on drywall. I live in a house built in the 50s and all the walls are plaster. We had a bathroom remodeled about 2 years ago. Before the remodel it had wall paper. I'm thinking the wall paper was put up to camouflage the problem. Within a few months of removing wall paper and doing the remodel, the paint and plaster began peeling. We had a painter come in and fix it. It looked good for about 6 months then began bubbling, flaking and peeling again. It's spreading!! It started on the wall above the shower head and had moved to the adjacent ceiling and out along the original wall. Clearly, the first fix was not permanent. What is the remedy for this situation? Is there a particular category of service person I could contact that deals with this type of problem. I need a permanent solution!

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3 Answers


I am a service provider in Portland, Oregon. I have A-ratings in the PLASTER category, though I am entirely self-taught. I think your problem may be simply with poor paint adhesion. I have learned that everything that is loose must be peeled off. Be agressive with a 3" flexible putty knife. Such blades self-sharpen and the corners round off. They become persistently razor-sharp in this use. Then use an oil-base stain-block primer. Then repair with setting mud. Prime again with oil-base. I support public conversation, but will converse by email.

This Message Board is a good idea. I hope more members will visit regularly. It is one way of linkage nationwide.

Answered 9 years ago by oregonian


Thanks much for your reply. I didn't even think about it being a bad paint job!

Answered 9 years ago by Fleur


Hopefully you have solved problem by now, but if not, and for benefit of others who might click on your question because they have a similar issue:

1) wallpaper glue has to be thoroughly removed, or paint will not stick right - commonly requires chemicals or sanding if not plain old- starch based wallpaper paste, and oil based overcoat holds better than latex or acrylic.

2) plaster soaks up moisture - the treated paper on drywall reduces this, but old bare plaster soaks it up like a sponge, so unless it is thoroughly dried out for several days without using the tub or shower before painting, the moisture underneath will commonly damage the paint bond. You also need to prime bare plaster with a true water barrier - a heavy-build oil based flat primer is best, silicone based worst (paint will not stick properly over them).

3) bathrooms should always have 2 coats finish paint over the primer to improve water resistance - and far more preferable to use a flat or dull satin for first coat, then a high-satin or semi-gloss paint for last coat due to better water resistance of it's skin. Gloss would in theory be best, but with wiping down and washing and scrubbing and drips on it, gloss level quickly looks erratic so a bad choice for anywhere except smooth ceilings that will only very rarely be washed or stained. And oil based definitely longer-lived and better-bonding than latex.

Answered 6 years ago by LCD

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