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painting over old paint

Posted by naturelle (My Page) on
Wed, Feb 20, 08 at 16:03

I'll describe the symptoms and perhaps you can tell me how to proceed.
I have a lot of repainting to do of an old house and have noticed a few things.

The first situation is when I removed wallpaper from the bathroom and saw there was a thin layer of white paint which was applied over a previous layer of yellow paint. The yellow paint seems to be very well adhered to the original wall surface, but the white layer flakes off the yellow paint leaving bare patches. You can peel some areas of the white paint layer from the yellow paint surface with your fingernail.

The second situation is that the original paint on the doors and trim in the same bathroom is a mauvey gray, and when I painted directly over it with latex finish paint, I could similarly flake the new paint from the original paint with my fingernail.

I can't have the new paint finishes in the house subject to being easily rubbed off.

My thought is the two cases may be related, in that the yellow and gray paints may be possibly alkyd? In the case of the white layer over the yellow, the white layer may have been latex, so never had a chance to adhere properly to the yellow (alkyd?). The same explanation may apply in the case of my trying to paint the new latex finish paint over the existing (alkyd?) gray paint.

I don't know if that makes sense, or if there are other factors which may be in play.

How would I handle the wall situation. How do I tighten up the substrate (the flaking badly adhered white paint surface, so I could apply a solid paint finish (hopefully in latex). Do I have to remove the white layer first, or can I hopefully paint over it to "tighten it up" with a latex primer or other product, which will allow the new finish paint to have a solid base?

The same question applies to the trim situation.

This is just one room at the moment, and I'm sure the same syndromes will show up throughout the whole house, so I have to find out how to resolve this.

Thanks for your help with this.


Follow-Up Postings:

RE: painting over old paint

If you haven't...Test for Lead!!!
If present, wellll...different ball-game$$$!

Obviously, if existing layers are well-adhered, just prime & paint over. Sanding lightly wouldn't be an option if lead is present, so you HAVE TO PRIME.

If some paint flakes off easily, AND it's positive for lead, then the price rises in a hurry. Old layers are failing, and would just keep pushing off new paints.

Do some testing first, so you know where you stand.


RE: painting over old paint

Thanks for the reply, faron. It was not be conclusive, but was there a period of time when lead paint was used as a matter of course, versus when the dangers of using lead paint was well known and avoided.

I grew up in 1920-30 houses which I remember as having heavy oil based paints. I removed a lot of multi-layered paint with a blowtorch and scrapers as a kid, because that was the way it was being done then. Imagine the fumes and all.

Are there any home kits for testing for lead, and where would a good source be to secure the kit?


RE: painting over old paint

Pretty much any paint-store/big-box should have a kit. Just a few $$ for most. Some are "swab" types to be sent in.

Yikes!! Blowtorch & scraping...Uffda!

I hope there isn't any!! If there IS, it can be mucho-$$, because of all the tesing/re-testing and precautions to be taken.


RE: painting over old paint

Sanding is permitted "IF" you use a wet sanding sponge and dump the water residue down a sanitary sewer (toilet)

The thing you want to accomplish is to keep lead particles from being airborne, hence the wet sanding and washing, rinsing. Review the EPA booklet on lead paint prior to any remodeling or repainting.

There are primers out there they may be of use over the walls. Zinsser offers Peel Stop as a coating to lock down the peeling paint. Of course, without seeing your project, I can only suggest you get someone to view it prior to moving in that direction.


RE: painting over old paint

Thanks for the help.


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