paint bubbling and peeling question

Jack KennedyJanuary 25, 2014

Hi everyone;

We have a 1926 house in central North Carolina. It has been very well cared for over the years and when we moved in 8 years ago all we had to do was have everything painted and the floors refinished.

We've just noticed some paint issues forming in our living room. On the ceiling the paint is starting to alligator in a few spots. some of the spots look like there was a patch done and the patch is splitting and the paint it turning white.

On a wall across the room we have some bubbling/alligator as well.

There are no bathrooms above the room, just the master bedroom. The house is brick, which is over original stucco. (odd i know, but we do in fact have stucco house that was bricked over about 50 years ago) We are almost certain that it cannot be a moisture issue.

Do any of you have any clue to what could be causing this?

pictures below.....

cross posted in the old house forums

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The paint or patch isn't adhered well and over time it comes free.

    Bookmark   January 25, 2014 at 8:09PM
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Is this happening on an outside wall?

Previous patching could indicate they fixed the same problem before.

    Bookmark   January 26, 2014 at 12:01PM
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Jack Kennedy

Hi Snookums2-

the wall bubble is on an interior wall. We had a tiny leak in the roof and had a similar looking problem upstairs. that had been fixed previously and then we fixed it too. Roof is new now.

    Bookmark   January 26, 2014 at 1:58PM
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Lots of times paint blisters / bubbles because there is moisture in the wall / ceiling.

It's been a really cold winter. Do you think it might be too much humidity or condensation?

    Bookmark   January 27, 2014 at 4:53PM
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Jack Kennedy

Hi Geoffery -

We think it's exactly the opposite. the house is very dry from the heat running constantly.....

    Bookmark   January 29, 2014 at 10:55AM
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In a 1926 home, in NC, I doubt there's much (if any??) good insulation, especially in any attic present. Your house may indeed be "dry", but it's mainly because older homes "breathe" much better. Meaning...the envelope isn't sealed as tight as newer homes. Moisture does escape much better in older homes.

I think this is a "thirsty plaster-patch" issue!
* I'm assuming mostly plaster walls/ceilings here...
* Old plaster is like an old cracker. VERY dry, & will suck all the moisture out of patching materials. This can lead to lifting & cracking fairly quickly!
* Therefore, exposed plaster edges, b4 repairs, need to be "rehydrated"! Ideally...the defective areas should've been lightly misted 3 or 4 times, an hour or so apart, sometimes over an entire DAY.
* Now...patching-plaster can be applied, left to dry again, and finish-sanded & textured to match.
* Then...another day or so to let it dry equally.
* In a perfect world, an oil primer would've been used b4 painting, but Zinsser-123 is an acceptable latex alternative.

REASON: IF your walls are plaster, they have a much different ph-level than joint-compound products. This alone can cause adhesion issues down the road!
* Oil primers aren't nearly as susceptible to this ph-difference as most Latex primers.
* Zinsser's Gardz primer can be used too. It's a good, clear, specialized water-based primer listed for plaster as well.

>>> I mention all this, because I think that's the direction you'll be heading to repair these "repairs"!

>>> I also can't rule out moisture-condensing on framing, & migrating in from stud-cavities. This will happen in many homes when there's big temperature swings after cold-snaps...ESPECIALLY ones (older) where much more heated air migrates "out".


    Bookmark   January 29, 2014 at 9:51PM
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