Peeling Latex over Oil Base Paint.... help!

61tinkerbellMay 16, 2011

I'm cross posting here and on the Old House forum, because I'm not sure how active this forum is.

Previous owner slapped on a coat of latex on most of the trim and doors, (which had oil base on) and it is rubbery and peeling, what would be the best way to get rid of this and make it so it can be painted correctly. I do not want to strip it off entirely as it would take forever!


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latex over oil base paint should not be a problem. Most likely the problem was with the paint used and not adhering to the oil paint. It does not sound good when you say the paint is rubbery and peeling, I would remove the latex paint altogther sand the trim then repaint. You could try removing the peeling areas from a piece of trim, and do a light sanding, then paint again with a quality latex paint to see what happens.

I wonder if you could use the latex paint remover they sell at Home Depot, rather than stripping.

    Bookmark   May 16, 2011 at 12:41PM
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Latex over oil is a big problem... I would advise using a latex stripper such as jasco to remove the top coat and expose the old oil coating... don't have to go down to bare wood, just get under the coat that is the problem... from that point use an oil primer to prep the surface, make sure the primer you use will accept latex paint over the top... most do... prime the surfaces then you should have no problem changing over to a latex... hope this helps!

    Bookmark   May 16, 2011 at 2:27PM
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Thank you smcdanii, helps a lot!

    Bookmark   May 16, 2011 at 5:51PM
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Painting latex over oil based paint is really not that big of a deal anymore, but the surface has to be prepped. If you paint directly over an old shiny oil based paint layer with some cheap latex paint, then there is probably going to be problems. You don't have to completely strip the latex paint layer. Just remove what is loose and sand well with medium grit sanding sponges. If you are going to prime, then a high quality acrylic bonding primer will be just fine. I don't think an oil based primer is necessary. And use a high quality topcoat, 100 percent acrylic. This is one of those times where using cheap paint is just a bad idea.

    Bookmark   May 17, 2011 at 12:01AM
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Yes Tinker....
You're one of the waaaayyyy too many victims of the "Realtor-induced" Paint-the-trim-and-sell-it phenomenon.

I REALLLY WISH most sellers would leave well enough alone. Slapping-up a quick coat of paint usually causes MORE headaches for the new buyers. looks good for a bit right before a sale, but then the reality of NO PREP sinks in!

Latex paint IS RUBBERY for quite some time! That's the major advantage....flexibility. If it was as hard as Oils, it wouldn't breathe.

The Truth/Remedy can be a b*tch....peel-off/sand-off/strip-off the existing paint. The existing paint not peeling now soon will be.

And yes, obviously, choose Top-notch 100%-Acrylic paint in a Satin or higher sheen. Once the old oil paint is thoroughly scuff-sanded with 100-grit paper & all dust're at last ready for 2 coats of your new paint.

Priming...wellllll....never hurts, but if you sand well, AND get real good paint, you're good-to-go!


    Bookmark   May 17, 2011 at 12:22AM
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I'm currently renovating a home with just this exact problem - previous owner painted latex over oil-based trim without proper prep. In many areas, though not all, the paint is peeling. And yes, where it's peeling it does have a "rubbery" feel to it. The problem is not that difficult to fix, though it does add extra steps (and to my least-favorite painting job!).

You will probably find, as I have, that there are some areas where the latex has adhered well, and others where it hasn't. I use a putty knife to scrape off the paint where it's peeling, then I sand everything with a sanding sponge (it's green, 160-grit, I think). I then follow up with two coats of adhesion primer (Sherwin-Williams) and then two coats of my semi-gloss trim paint (also Sherwin-Williams).

I've been very happy with my results so far.

    Bookmark   May 17, 2011 at 4:38PM
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Ok, I had this exact problem with peeling rubbery paint and found a great solution!! Use a wallpaper steamer (mine is wagner), steam the paint in small sections, and it all comes off just like wallpaper! Quicker than wallpaper! Hope this helps, I did my entire bathroom with this method and very happy with results!

    Bookmark   July 25, 2012 at 6:19AM
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