Caulk pulling paint from wall

snookums2November 15, 2012


I noticed the other day that the caulk has pulled away from some baseboard that the carpenter caulked. But instead of just cracking, it's pulled the paint from the wall instead. (All the way to the old paint and bare drywall beneath.) This was done maybe 5 months ago. I'm not sure when it pulled away.

How would you fix this and what to do with all the rest of the caulking that needs to be done.

Not the best picture.


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Anyone know how to handle the peeling paint situation above? I have lots of caulking to do.

I was happy to see that he also caulked the area along the stair baseboard. Now I'm thinking, dust free surfaces. That whole area along the stringer was repaired with a heavy coat of joint compound -- but no priming had been done yet. I'm thinking that is one dusty surface to caulk over. None of these workers seem to clean the joints before caulking, but who knows. Running my hand over above goes white. But it seems to be holding up fine. Is doing that a really bad idea or probably okay bonding to compound?

    Bookmark   November 18, 2012 at 11:30AM
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The best surface to apply caulk to is a primed surface. You are right in that caulking over drywall compound isn't the best idea. I'm sure people do it every day and it may last for a while, but of course caulk will not stick the best to dust, which basically is what drywall compound is...compressed dust. It looks like in the picture the wood is pulling away from the wall and that may be why the caulk is starting to come free? Try pushing on that baseboard and see if it moves back and forth from the wall. If so, it needs to be nailed to the wall better before it's caulked. It could also be that when the walls were painted and they taped off the baseboards, they pulled the paint off when pulling the tape? It's hard to tell. In order to fix the peeling caulk, you need to cut out the bad areas with a razor knife and recaulk and then touch up.

    Bookmark   November 18, 2012 at 7:50PM
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Thanks paintguy. I don't know why he caulked over the bare, sanded compound. He caulked a few areas but it wasn't in the carpentry bid. I was so glad he did because I haven't ventured into that yet. Oddly, that part seems to be holding up. Maybe it's fastened better. I'll check.

Yes, the trimwork does move when you push on it. I was wondering if more nails would help stabilize things for this problem. Should the top baseboard cap area be nailed also? I notice there are no nails along this portion of the baseboard. Just two nails vertically every 16-20 inches on the base portion.

The walls have 40 yr old paint that had a flaking problem recent years, flaking off down to unprimed drywall. We scraped and repaired, Gardz'd all the walls to lock it down, and then one quick coat of white went on. I suppose it's possible they missed Gardz'ing this wall.

The trim was installed before painting, yet to be done. So, no blue tape involved. The carpenter caulked this wall for some reason and it has pulled away taking the paint off down to the old drywall instead of just cracking.

So, luckily he did and the problem surfaced before the whole house was done. Other than more nails, what do you think I can do to try to keep the paint itself from pulling away?

    Bookmark   November 19, 2012 at 8:27AM
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Sometimes carpenters will caulk to hide the big gaps that they couldn't close up. Generally, caulking is the painters job, but they don't want the customer seeing those bigger gaps. It could be that there are gaps in the wall with no stud there. Other than nails, I suppose you could try some glue behind the baseboard.

    Bookmark   November 19, 2012 at 11:17PM
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I see, maybe that's why he caulked a few areas.

So, I guess there is no additional wall prep that could help to prevent the paint from pulling when the caulk moves?

I was going to use Dynaflex 230, which has 25% movement and is recommended here. DAP tech says his preference would be 3.0 a polymer that is guaranteed and, I think, Class 50. If water cleanup is alright. I see the Moorlastic Crown and Trim is only Class 12.5, so the Dynaflex would be twice the movement. What do you think?

    Bookmark   November 20, 2012 at 4:41PM
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To correct my previous post, the DAP 3.0 is not water cleanup. I see the info BM printed out at the store says the Crown & Trim is Class 25, 25% movement. The online page said 12.5.

It's looking like the paint is bubbling at a point above the caulking, about 1/2 inch tall area. Doesn't even look like the caulk has pulled, just the paint above, at least in some areas. Turns out it's a pretty thin gap.

    Bookmark   November 20, 2012 at 10:17PM
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Well yea, better caulk will do everything better than cheap caulk. The thing that I notice is that carpenters think caulk is caulk and they always have Dap Alex Plus on hand...cheapest caulk around. Most painters are like this too. The better caulk is going to stick better and flex better when there is movement.

As for the wall prep, you may want to try actually priming the failing areas before doing any patchwork. This way, the patch is sticking to a nice clean primed surface. So, clean the area up and sand it well, then apply primer, then patch, prime again and apply finish coats.

    Bookmark   November 20, 2012 at 11:39PM
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Yeah, I'm with you on that. That's what I originally asked them to do. Scrape away chipping areas, then prime the whole wall with the Gardz before doing the repair work to lock the old failing finish down. But, they didn't want to do it that way. Neither did the drywall guy who came through upstairs.

I will do it that way myself for any remaining areas. I'm lucky this one area failed before the whole house was caulked so I can at least try to get around the issue.

Yes, they were using painter's caulk and Alex Plus. I'm glad I learned of the better caulks here.

Thanks for your help! Have a great Thanksgiving.

    Bookmark   November 21, 2012 at 10:33AM
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