Primer won't stick to the walls

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Old 10-12-09, 07:38 AM
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Primer won't stick to the walls

I need some help.

We are painting our bathroom. The walls were papered, which we steamed and scraped off. We did our best to wash and sand off all the old glue. What is left is the bare, original (unpainted) wall. The house is old (1950), so I am assuming it is plaster. The walls are very smooth.

I first started with Valspar's drywall primer (because we patched a hole left by an old medicine cabinet), but that didn't get good coverage. The paint didn't seem to stick very good in most places. I re-sanded and primed again with zinsser Bullseye 123. Much to my horror, not only did the Zinsser not stick, but it pulled off the 1st coat of primer in many places. As I would roll on, old primer would peel off and stick in the roller brush.

I don't know if this is being caused by the slick walls or that we didn't do a good enough job cleaning off the glue. However, if it is the glue's fault, I don't know what more we could have done to remove it.

What is the solution? I'd rather not paper back over it.

Would an oil-based primer stick?
 
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Old 10-12-09, 09:23 AM
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A solvent based primer would be a better bet.

Are you sure the walls aren't painted? If they have an oil base enamel on them, you would have the problems you are experiencing.

A solvent based primer is always recomended if you can't remove ALL the adhesive. The only waterbased primer that is ok to use is zinnser's gardz. If you repaint latex over oil enamel, you should use a solvent based primer. Oil base primer should work fine.

If it is indeed raw unpainted plaster, then a latex primer would work. Dust could cause the problem. Is the back of the peeled paint dusty?
 
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Old 10-12-09, 10:44 AM
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Originally Posted by marksr View Post
A solvent based primer would be a better bet.

Are you sure the walls aren't painted? If they have an oil base enamel on them, you would have the problems you are experiencing.
Hahah! I checked at lunchtime and I bet you are right!

The rest of the house has latex walls and oil trim, and I just assumed that the walls under the wallpaper were latex too. However, I assume that at one point the entire house was oil-based, and I bet the wallpaper was put on before the switch to latex. What's the old saying about what happens when you assume?

That explains why I have a big peeled paint spot in the hallway going to the bathroom! It was papered also. We only had a problem in one spot, though.

OK, so what should my plan of action be? I assume that if I just roll oil-based primer onto what I have, the latex will roll off onto the brush? Am I going to have to sand everything down, or is there another option?

And, while I am at it, what is the solution to the peeling part in the other room? Sand the peeling edges back and prime over with oil? Do I need to spackle in some drywall compound to smooth out the crater left behind by the peeled paint?
 
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Old 10-12-09, 03:37 PM
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The best way that I know to fix it would be to aggressively sand, prime and paint. The problem is there is a good chance the oil paint is lead based If you can protect your lungs and not breathe any of the dust AND are able to contain and dispose of ALL the dust - then there isn't any real danger to your health. Short of that, I'd do a deligent job of scraping the latex paint off and then oil prime. There are good odds that any latex paint that doesn't get removed by either of these methods - will adhere ok and not cause any problems. Spackling or joint compound can be used to hide the transision between the different layers of paint.

Back then most walls other than kitchen and baths were painted with flat oil base paint which rarely poses any problems when repainting with latex. It is possible that oil enamel was used elsewhere because of the increased washability. Oil enamel is a great finish to apply wallpaper to. It seals the wall real well and makes the wallpaper removal not as bad as it would be otherwise.
 
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Old 10-13-09, 11:57 AM
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Thanks. Hadn't thought about the lead. I was ready to go borrow an orbital sander and get to work.

I'll scrape and re-prime with oil and see how that works.
 
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