Can't Clean Recently Painted Walls


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Old 03-10-07, 09:36 AM
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Red face Can't Clean Recently Painted Walls

About 1-1/2 months after repainting the bath (latex) in our rental home, we had a couple people using it for 2-3 days. After they left I noticed some water drip marks around the shower and the hanging towels. The kind you sometimes see in a bath from the steam. I was surprised because the walls were freshly painted and should have been clean and not left steam/water streaks. I took a clean damp rag and wiped the spots to clean off the drips. When it dried, it left wipe marks on the walls. Now any additional wiping just spreads the problem!

Then a week or so back I rented the place out again for a couple of days and this time the renter must have wiped some spots from a wall (painted about 6 months ago) in the entryway to the house. Now I can see the same type of wipe marks on the entryway wall, although those aren't as noticeable as the ones in the bath.

I still have all of the bedrooms to paint and I purchased the paint some time back. The paint should be good, I bought it from Sears and it hasn't been exposed to cold temps or anything.

I'm hoping someone can tell me what is causing this. How can I fix the walls that are already painted? What can I do to prevent this problem before I paint the rest of the rooms?

Background Info:

Place needed to be repainted because of soot damage. I believe soot was from candles, tenant said soot came from my propane heater. Anyway, prep work done before painting was at the recommendation of a professional cleaning company that deals with soot damage.

Walls were all wiped down with dry sponges made for cleaning up soot. Walls were then covered with 2 coats of Kilz and finally 2 coats of paint - latex, satin finish.

Does anyone have any ideas of what is causing the problem I'm having? How can I fix it? How can I prevent it for the rest of the rooms? Could this problem still stem from the soot problem? If so, does anyone have any experience and additional advice for cleaning up soot damaged walls, especially the walls that have already been painted over?

Thanks!
 
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Old 03-10-07, 12:22 PM
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Without actually being there, the problem in the bathroom sounds like Surfactant Leaching. Its a fancy name for chemicals in the paint rising to the surface.

Sort of like chocolate that you forget about in the pantry. After a while it turns whitish, thats the milkfat coming out.

As for the paint it is most often seen in high humidity enviroments, such as a bathroom. It is made worse depending upon color. Deep rich colors suffer the worst, as they contain more pigment than light colors.

At this point, you need to let that paint DRY out as best you can. If they have another bathroom, use it for a few days. Prime with BIN, and then 2 coats of a HIGH quality BATHROOM paint. Either Zinnser Bathroom, or SW Bath paint. These types of products are designed for high humidity situations, and help mitigate these issues.

Good luck.

BTW your restoration co was incorrect. Kilz is NOT rated for soot/fire restoration work. It may be the most often repeated phrase out there, but it is NOT for that type of work. ONLY BIN is rated/guranteed to cover fire/soot/smoke damage. Kilz will typiclly cover the stain, but it has very poor holdout, and usually the odor/stains leach through over time.

The amount of coats is irrelevent to the situation. You can put 10 coats of kilz up, and still suffer problems. For those of you kilz fans out there, anecdotal evidence of "I've used it for years...." great. Check with MasterChem who makes it, they DONT warrenty restoration work. Zinnser(makers of BIN) DO warrent restoration work.
 
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Old 03-10-07, 12:25 PM
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Excessive steam from a shower (or other humidity sources) before the paint cures can cause 'surfactant leaching' leaving "drips" that appear and act like you have described

It could be long showers, no exhaust fan, humidifier, or something like that to bring the humidity up to or over 60% within a week or two of painting
More if it was cold outside and on an outside wall

Is it possible that this is the case?
 
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Old 03-10-07, 02:44 PM
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Thanks groundbeef and slickshift!

I see that BIN is available at most hardwares. I will get that for the rest of the rooms I have not yet painted too -- so I hopefully won't have this problem again.

But can you clear up something for me? From reading both of your replies it sounds like you are saying that the problem is likely surfactant leaching. But when I read your description of what that is, that sounds like a problem that could happen in any situation with high humidity and wouldn't have anything to do with the soot. Is that correct?

The reason I ask is because the place was vacant for about 1-1/2 months after it was painted. Shouldn't this have been plenty of time for the paint to have cured? Also, I have the same problem on a wall that is not in or near the bathroom. There is no humidifier in the house or anything else that would cause excessive humidity (other than during the course of a shower.) Also, since the bath was painted, the house has been vacant except for the 2 times that someone was there for about 2-3 days each time. (It is a resort type rental.)

Perhaps I am misunderstanding something. If so, can you please try and explain where I missed the boat?

Thanks Again!
 
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Old 03-10-07, 03:16 PM
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Ah...in that case it is most likely not surfactant leaching (due to humidity)
From the description of the problem it did sound like that was a good possibility

With that clarification it sounds more likely the Kilz was ineffective as a sealer/blocker, and the soot is bleeding through (or causing leaching)

Do you know what type of Kilz was used?
2 coats of oil-based Original Kilz really should have done the trick
The Kilz2 and Latex Kilz...and pretty much any other Kilz would have been the wrong kind
It could make a difference on what to use to fix the problem
 
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Old 03-10-07, 06:54 PM
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Bingo!

That's it! I used Kilz2. If that's the wrong stuff -- then that's the problem! Argggghh!

I should have known, water based primer on oily soot -- obviously wasn't thinking when I did that.

Knowing that's what I did, what would you recommend I do to fix the problem? Can I still just put BIN over it all and start over?
 
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Old 03-10-07, 07:11 PM
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Yes you could
An oil-based primer/sealer might have worked before
And using one now may work
But there is no better sealer than a pigmented shellac like Zinsser's BIN

It's very stinky, and hard to use and clean up
But if you can deal with that, and use a VOC respirator and have a supply of fresh air, it dries quick and seals like nothing else

If that's too much for you, a premium oil-based primer/sealer might work
But it would be a "might"
 
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Old 03-10-07, 07:46 PM
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Thanks again slickshift!

Honestly, I feel I have no choice but to do this the right way. I don't want to invest any more time and effort into this project than is necessary. So I guess I'll have to work with the Zinnser's BIN.

I am an amateur painter, but a very picky one (which is why I'm doing this myself -- don't want to have to blame anyone else if I'm not happy, if you get my gist )

Anyway, when you say it is difficult to work with -- can you elaborate? Would an amateur, like me, maybe be getting in over their head? I am NOT a fast painter, would this present a problem?

As for clean up, what do you recommend?
 
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Old 03-11-07, 04:45 AM
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Pigmented shellac dries FAST!! I've never had any problems applying it but like slick I've painted proffessionaly for years. The odor is the biggest concern. Without a respirator it can make you 'drunk' in a short while. Ventilation is needed to disipate the fumes or you will need the respirator when you come back

I seldom have need for pigmented shellac but if I remember correctly it cleans up with denatured alchol, it will provide clean up info on the can. I usually use an old worn brush and chuck it when I'm done. It is cheaper to throw a roller cover away than clean it up.
 
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Old 03-11-07, 09:46 AM
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Thanks marksr and everyone for all of your help. I think I'll wait to finish this project in the spring when I can leave some windows opened.

This site is great! Everyone here is so helpful and knowledgeable I just love it!

Thanks Again
 
  #11  
Old 03-12-07, 05:39 AM
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Surfactant Leaching has no limit as far as "dry time" is concerned. Low grade semi-gloss latex can suffer surfactant leaching in high humidity environments no matter HOW LONG they have dried. The problem is the humidity "rewets" the chemicals and they then migrate to the surface. Same goes for very dark colors, as the humidity can "rewet" the colorants, causing surfactant leaching.

So in the OP's case, it is ENTIRELY possible that the bathroom is suffering from surfactant leaching, independant from the 1 1/2 month cure time.

The primer problem could excaserbate the situation, as again, BIN is the only product designed for fire restoration. Acually, XIM has manufactured a prodcut for SW that they warrent, but the name escapes me. It is less ex*****ve than BIN, and not as well known. If I can think of the name I'll let you know.

Best solution is BIN, and a couple coats of HIGH quality Bathroom Paint.
 
 

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