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Plinden56 04-22-2011 01:56 AM

Paint bond failure to level 5 drywall finish.
Has anyone experienced poor paint adhesion to a smooth wall (level 5) drywall finish?
I am looking for any information on the subject of topping compound that is so soft that a typical self priming acrylic flat wall can’t pass a tape adhesion test.

I know that there are many adhesion promoting primers out there as well as products like Hamilton's prep coat that are denser than topping mud but the job specs did not call for it.

I have a new construction smooth wall job from 2006 that I coated with Dunn Edwards Walltone acrylic flat. The manufactures spec sheet clearly states in two places that it is self priming. We ran a dust mop over the walls before spraying and back rolling both coats per manufactures spec.

Any documentation on the subject would be appreciated as we are being dragged into a construction defect litigation.


2buckcanuck 04-22-2011 02:52 AM

this may help you a tiny bit,

I'm in Ontario, but we were doing level 4 work with a type of mud called machine mud. and the paint was flaking away from the wall. The mud was switched and the flaking stopped.

Don't know how you would prove this, but it is possible.

Bigger question is, what is your paint doing, you said poor adhesion , but is it flaking, is it all over the place, or just in the corners etc....more info plz 04-22-2011 02:53 AM

Walltone is a cheap interior flat that was designed to compete against the production grade paint. Did you paint this in 96? Best to just get your rep out there.

jack pauhl 04-22-2011 03:13 AM


Originally Posted by Plinden56 (Post 212654)
[Has anyone experienced poor paint adhesion to a smooth wall (level 5) drywall finish?]

Sure have, all the time. This is a very common issue unfortunately many paint contractors have no clue its happening with their paints because they are not testing for it. It doesnt matter if its primed with drywall primers or so called primer/sealers either because so many of the wall primers (slash) sealers are not adhering to bare smooth drywall or mud either. Your Level 5 job doesnt make it any different other than you now have a massive area open for failure with all that topping.

There are few (very few) paint and primer products that provide great adhesion to bare drywall or mudded surfaces. You'd be surprised! There has been no other single topic I have spent more time writing about than primer failure over bare drywall. That wide spread primer failure led me to seek other options for situations like yours.

Companies have gone as far as making low tack masking tape for delicate surfaces to minimize paint from pulling off the wall :eek: Go figure.

I'm not famiiar with the product you mentioned but this is a very common issue with paints and primers. If all you do is open a can of paint and paint the room, you'll never know how well that paint is stuck on the wall until you test for it.

The more homeowners and builders find that info on my site, the more people are going to be calling their painters for answers when they find out their paint did not adhere. Trust me, people write and inquire seeking answers just like what you're going through.

Did you have your paint rep out to look at the job? If I were you, I would go right out and grab a gallon of that paint and apply it to a sheet of bare drywall topped with mud and see if their product today sticks.

If I posted a list of paints, primers and primer/sealers that have poor adhesion to bare drywall ... you'd be shocked.

daArch 04-22-2011 08:05 AM


can you post a list of paints, primers and primer/sealers that WILL adhere ?

Often I am asked what should be applied as a base for my wallpaper. As you may know, wallpaper exerts much torsional force on the wall as it dries and can rip the hide off a buffalo. (OK, an exaggeration).

In the wallcovering industry we always blamed poor adhesion on the lack of proper dusting. Vacuuming is not enough, we tell people. A damp rag or swifter wiping is necessary and then test by wiping a bare hand over the surface. (Some blow and go boys have actually stated there sprayer blows the dust off - :eek:)

So I guess there is more to it than a dust issue?

How about Gardz/Draw-tite ?? 04-22-2011 09:36 AM

Jack, I have painted a ton of level 5 board. I have never experienced any failures concerning adhesion. If it is so common wouldn't I have at least one experience of a failure? Perhaps some products are used beyond their capability. Level 5 board needs a primer regardless of the specs say self priming. The OP is correct, Walltone clearly says "Self Priming". I don't believe their is a true self priming product for ANY raw substrates. Most those products are designed for the low end or fast turnover projects, like tract projects.

Plinden56 04-22-2011 10:32 AM

Additional info
Thanks for the quick responses. The job was done was a spec home built in July 2006 then sold in 2008. I was first contacted in December of 2010.

The issue was "discovered" when they were having repair work done in a room. They say that the paint came off where they had used blue tape to hang plastic sheeting. My Dunn Edwards rep from that period is no longer with the company and I have not contacted my new rep as yet.

Due to this now being a smaller part of a larger construction defect case I'm not sure we could get a rep in there or what would be the best course of action to find out how extensive the problem really is.

What I really need is any documentation about similar experiences of paint bond failure caused by topping mud used in smooth wall projects. Specifically I'm looking for info and opinions that back up my belief that the problem is the mud manufactures. I believe they do not have enough glue or binder in the topping mud to provide a solid enough substrate to support a latex paint coating.

Your thoughts would be appreciated.


dvp 04-22-2011 10:41 AM

you may want to look at the drywall mud. one of our superintendents had a similar failure years ago at another company and it was determined that a bad batch or drywall mud had caused the failure. i have heard of a few other instances of this in recent years.

Rcon 04-22-2011 11:36 AM

I'm just curious as to how long you warrantied this job for. 14 years from application to failure is an awful long time so i'm not sure why you'd be getting dragged into litigation, unless you offered a lifetime warranty. 04-22-2011 12:10 PM

The 10 year major defect warranty law didn't come into effect until 02 or 03. Which you are beyond that any how. Its prob best to not defend yourself and let your GL handle it for you. The more you gab can potentially hurt you more. I'd tell them "see you in court" since its been so GD long.

Plinden56 04-22-2011 01:54 PM

wrong year posted
My apology, I posted the wrong year built as 1996. I have edited the post to read 2006. Whats a decade between friends:)


Plinden56 04-22-2011 02:01 PM

General liability insurance
This home was one of nine large custom homes that I did on one street for one contractor. I had called my general liability carrier to see if he thought this would be considered a "tract" and he said no. As it turns out there is an exclusion in the policy that states 5 or more homes is considered a tract. Shame on me for not getting that conversation in writing. So now it looks like my GL carrier will be dropping my defense due to working on a tract.
I guess it pays to read the fine print and get everything in writing.


Paradigmzz 04-22-2011 02:07 PM

I know there was a big drywall mud settlement due to improper acidic/ alkali levels in the mud, which in turn, caused paint failure. It was so big, it was in the fine print of Lowe's shopping reciepts for almost 6 months.... My bet is with the ph of the mud, not improper prep or crap paint.

Sorry, Jack, I got Ewings back on this one....

Plinden56 04-22-2011 03:06 PM

more info on this?

Originally Posted by Paradigmzz (Post 212690)
I know there was a big drywall mud settlement due to improper acidic/ alkali levels in the mud, which in turn, caused paint failure. It was so big, it was in the fine print of Lowe's shopping reciepts for almost 6 months.... My bet is with the ph of the mud, not improper prep or crap paint.

Does anyone know more about this settlement? I can't find anything on this with a google search.


Capt-sheetrock 04-22-2011 06:20 PM

Pretty easy to tell if its the mud or the paint. Put some tape on the wall, yank it off, then look at the back of the tape, is it just paint or did mud come off with the paint. I know that sounds low-tech and stupid,,, but hey, it works.

straight_lines 04-22-2011 09:10 PM

I have never seen paint fail an adhesion test without mud on the back of the paint. HQ paint bonds very well to almost everything. 04-22-2011 11:04 PM

What's HQ paint? Might be a blond moment I'm having :D

jacob33 04-22-2011 11:08 PM


Originally Posted by (Post 212815)
What's HQ paint? Might be a blond moment I'm having :D

Not sure if you are joking or not but I believe it is High Quality. 04-22-2011 11:22 PM

Yup, it was a blond moment, nope I wasn't joking. Hey it took me a year before I understood IMO or LMAO. I finally googled it. It made a whole lot of post make sense :)

CRS 02-20-2015 09:13 AM

All of the Level % drywall primers/surfacers are formulated way beyond CPVC, Critical pigment volume concentration. This causes the adhesion issues and then you are screwed.
Even bonding primers have adhesion problems. I have nearly two years of dedicated research to this issue. The level 5 primers have no place on the market.

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