loose tape problems


Old 07-12-06, 07:15 PM
Thread Starter
Join Date: Sep 2005
Location: savannah ga
Posts: 55
loose tape problems

Why does drywall tape become loose?!? I am in the process of taking wallpaper down in my home and painting. Every room I do I think is going to be easier but it turns out becoming more of a challenge.

I am on the formal dining room now and it didn't even have wallpaper on it!!! It did at one time though and seems to be covered with a thin layer of texture or something, maybe old wallpaper sizing. No problem, I'm getting pretty good with simple skimcoating. The wall looks like they were going to wallpaper or paint and never got around to it. I was going to paint the room ever since I moved in but it didn't really look that bad with my pictures on the walls and china cabinate so I didn't get around to it till now.

Behind the china cabinate was a large seam, I figured it was just poor texturing and gouged the crack to make it flat and put some joint compound in it. I was trying to blend it and noticed that it bubbled after it sat awhile. Long story short, the tape is loose, I took it off. There is quite a bit of skim coat or texture or something caked on the wall so I figure if I retape and fill in with the needed amount of joint compound the tape will just come loose again.

Here is my new strategy, somebody tell me if this is a sound plan. I am going to retape the really bad seam that I just took the tape off of. I will put some mud over it. There is too much leveling to do though so after the first coat over the tape is dry I will seal the entire wall with zinsser gaurdz (I've been doing this with every wall I have removed paper from so far) and finish smoothing and leveling the wall. My theory is that the gaurdz seal the wall to prevent any more loose tape and seal down any bad spots. I guess I should use some zinsser cover stain to prime before I do the final skimcoating.

So far there seems to be only the one really bad seam smack dab in the middle of the wall, the rest is just a rough finish. I wiped it with a damp sponge and it doesn't get slimy so it's not wallpaper paste, or maybe it's paste that has been primed over. I think the room was previously done in golden metallic wallpaper, there is another wall, more of a partion really that has a thick layer of texture stuff over foil paper that I am also having to level, my thread on that is in the wallpaper forum if anybody is interested. There are some pencil marks on the wall and a couple of stickers with numbers, I think they were going to do something with the wall and never finished it, lucky for me I guess. I want to skim coat over the roughness so the wall will look nice and smooth when I put on the final coat of paint. I did this in the hall and one wall in my kitchen and it looks pretty good. I started on this room and it was looking good until the seam problem, now I am afraid to continue without sealing the wall. I think there is foil paper under there and some kind of coating over it, it seems to be adhering so far, unlike the previously mentioned partition, so I am hoping that sealing it will prevent the moisture in my skimcoating from affecting WHATEVER IN THE HECK IS OVER THE WALL!!!!!


Thanks in advance for any suggestions or tips. I know somebody is going to suggest resheetrocking the whole wall but this is not possible at this time, and I think if I fix the seam and stabilize the finish I can continue my project, I have more time than money at this point.
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Old 07-12-06, 08:06 PM
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Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: USA
Posts: 20,532
Yeah, tape coming loose can be a pain. Usually when tape comes loose, it is because it has gotten wet, either from a leak, or from condensation (such as when warm humid outside air meets your cold air conditioned air inside the home). If certain parts of the tape appear bubbled, it was probably just a bad job of taping. When the tape does not have enough mud behind it, it will create dry voids which are what causes the bubbles. You can't mud over such a mess, it will only keep bubbling everytime it gets wet. So you did the right thing by ripping off any bubbled tape.

So when you retape those spots, be sure to thin the mud with a bit of water so that it isn't quite so thick. That way when you spread the mud on the wall, lay the tape in place and wipe it down with your 6" knife, it will bed the tape tight to the wall while wiping out the excess behind the tape.

good luck. Painting is never as easy as just getting out the paint, brushes and rollers. Don't forget to lightly sand the walls down to get rid of imperfections before you paint!
Old 07-12-06, 08:42 PM
Thread Starter
Join Date: Sep 2005
Location: savannah ga
Posts: 55
Smile Wow! quick response!

I think the tape may have gotten wet from repeated wallpaperings or something, it is humid here. I suppose it's a good sign it seems to be the one seam, maybe it was bad from the beginning like you said, there seems to be a gap between the sheetrock in that spot, the gap has compound in it but the sheetrock doesn't seem to be flush, at least from what I can tell. Maybe there was a pocket in the gap and under the tape.

I had to really douse the other walls to clean the wallpaper paste off and only had one other piece of tape come loose, in a hidden spot in the hall. I thought the first rooms were the worst ones because of the mess of cleaning paper and paste off but now I realize I had it easy.

After painting this dining room, I have paper removal in a living room, grasscloth paper to come off in the den, and a bedroom in which the paper is pretty much falling off just as it is. The old me would have pegged that room as easy but the new hardened and cynical me will postpone any celebrations until the job is done, and even then I am going to give it a couple of weeks!

And then I will rest a couple of years before I tackle the wallpaper IN 3 OTHER BEDROOMS AND 2 BATHS!!!!!

wallpaper = spawn of satan
wallpaper: the stuff that pandoras box is wrapped in

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