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blistering paint

8354 Views 57 Replies 15 Participants Last post by  daArch
Need help please...

We've been contracted to paint a large bedroom.

Removed all wallpaper and discovered several areas where the primer that was put on prior to the paper was blistering.

Repaired the areas and put new primer on the walls...several areas are blistering again.

This is a bedroom with no moisture problem that we can find.

Any ideas what is causing this and how to fix it?

We've done a lot of repair work and haven't had this happen before.

Thanks for any and all suggestions,

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Not every home owner wants the WP removed. I did a flip home a few months ago and they just wanted in cleaned up. They did not want the extra cost of removing 3 LAYERS of 30year old WP... So, our only option was to prime over it and paint it. So, not every situation requires the utmost perfect way of solving an issue. Believe me... I offered to remove the WP.... They didn't want it... my previous post gave the experience I speak of about bubbling WP. We primed, seen bubbling, let it dry, it shrank back down, we painted the next day, some more minor bubbling, it dried, shrank back down. done.

Every job is situational. Some prep processes are not always the best approach, it really comes down to what the HO is willing to pay for.
I have to agree with Jason here. Not every repaint we do is for the single guy driving the Porsche. Some people just cannot afford or do not want removal of (sometimes multiple layers) of wallpaper. This can get very pricey. Don't get me wrong, I've done a lot of jobs where stripping the wallpaper and repairing/priming the drywall underneath is done. I agree this is the "proper" way to do it. However, sometimes that's just not what the customer is willing to pay for.

When we bid a repaint for a room with paper, we tell the customer what should be done. We explain that the wallpaper should be removed, etc, etc. Then we give them the other option, paint over it! We have done a number of jobs where we simply skim the seams then prime and paint right over top of it! The customer knows before hand that there is no warranty, and it (generally) will not look as good as removing the paper. Some people just want to get the color on the wall.

Is it the right way? probably not. Is it what the customer is willing to pay for? Yep. Will I walk away if the customer wants to pay me to do it the cheap way? Nope!
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I completely disagree with that logic and your example is quite flawed. It should be more along the lines of "But your honor, I didnt make the decision to kill the guy using a gunshot to the head, I was only hired to do it. The proper way would have been to choke him to death as there is less mess for the clean up guys to deal with".

The bottom line is the customer gets what he wants, the customer understands the issues and cost that will incur should they decide to remove the paper at a later date, and I get to earn some money and make them happy. I cant see turning down a job because it might adversly affect another tradesman who may or may never deal with the results of the customer's decision. Its just like painting over some drywall in a garage without sanding the seams. And in the future it'll take extra work to make it look like a proper wall, but there is no greater chance of paint failure and it's what the customer wants. Any future finisher will charge to skim the seams agian. Win x3

I assume it's the same with paper hangers. Do you not make money either way? I understand that stripping painted paper is a pain, but don't you put that into your price? I could understand it if the customer would be in the dark about the whole thing, but in these scenarios they are fulling informed.
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When a customer asks you to put a band aid on a problem, you do have to ask yourself how much you are willing to compromise your professional standards. These days, it seems there are enough desparate painters that are willing to stretch quite far in that direction. In spite of that, it is good to remember how to say no.
If a front door has some lifted poly at the bottom, do you demand the customer strip, restain, and reclear the door? Do you walk away if the customer only wants the damaged areas touched up and a new coat of clear? We need to compare apples to apples here, this isnt the same as if painters with this mindset are brushing lacquer on a deck. I'm offended that you would call painters who dont do things your way 'desperate'.
And I completely disagree with the ethics of doing something that will knowingly fail at a future time and lay the burden of 3x the cost for remediation at the feet of others. Personally, I do not need to profit off that kind of fraud.
Why would it knowingly fail? If the paper is prepped properly, it will fail no sooner than the paper normally would. We're not just throwing some behr on it and walking away.

If the homeowner HONESTLY expects to be the one who will pay the future costs, that's another situation.

If it's a making money quick with a flip scam, then the ethics of being part of the deceit is highly suspect.
I dont generally ask my customers what their plans with the home/building are, its none of my business. Buyer beware?

But we can go back and forth all day on this. May I suggest you put yourself in the position of the innocent future owner and project how you would feel about buying a gilded can of worms.
I think most people spot a wall that has painted paper :yes:. It's not hard to miss!

Many other professions have laws protecting future owners from this type of cover up. We need to self police.
I agree we need to educate and inform the customers, but should painting over wallpaper be a crime? :no:lol.:no:
*edited for formatting
So many voices! Whoo!
My reponse was to Mantis, who stated that he didn't care, as long as he got paid. That is what I object to.
Brian Phillips
I think you may need to review my posts again, I never said anything of the sort. Of course I care about the workmanship I and my crew give. What I said was what the owner does with the building is none of my business. If i had a carpet layer come into my home and ask me if i planned on flipping this house, then proceed to lecture me on his ethics, he'd promptly get a swift kick in the arse. I lay out the options to the owner. The owner is completely informed of what he is getting into. If he choses the less-than-perfect option, great! Painting over wallpaper is not a substandard practice in any way, regardless of how you view it. We're not "rolling back the odometer". It is not shady, it is not underhanded, and it is not unethical. Is it unsightly and a pain in the butt to remove? Yes. immoral? No.

It seems this thread is being derailed a bit. Nobody here is the misleading the customer into thinking priming over paper is ideal. for example, one of the recent times we did it, the owner was a 70 year old retired marine living in a town home on a fixed income. His dining room had some disgusting brown wallpaper he was not happy with. He was on a fixed income and plainly stated he could not afford what we had quoted to remove the paper and reprep and paint the walls. The paper in his dining room was in good condition so we offered to skim the seams, prime, and paint overtop of the paper. He saved a good chunk of change and was happy with the finished product.

But you are right, I guess when he dies and someone else decides to do something with that dining room they will have a headache. Does that make me a hack or a bad painter? I think not.
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In post #21 you wrote: I dont generally ask my customers what their plans with the home/building are, its none of my business. Buyer beware?

What is that supposed to mean if not "I don't care"? If you don't know what the customer intends, how do you recommend the best approach? And what does buyer beware mean? It means, the responsibility is on the buyer because he just might get screwed.

Brian Phillips
I thought I explained that in my last post, I'll try again.
A customer calls me and asks for a bid to paint a bedroom. I discuss paint finishes with them and reccomend one based on color choice, kids or no kids, possible abuse to the walls, lighting, wall condition, etc. I generally do not ask them "Are you planning on selling this house for as much profit as you can possibly make?" Most people plan on selling eventually, those that dont sell will die in the house and someone else will take possession afterwards. Even then, plans do change. Someone who expects to live in their house forever may run across a hardship and sell the next year, or in this economy, get forclosed on. So, speaking in general, their future plans for the building are irrelevant to me.

"Buyer beware" means exactly that. If you're going to make a large purchase, do your best to know what you're getting into. As painters, it's not our responsibility to hold the customer's hand and expect them to do the moral thing when selling their house. We can inform the owner until we're blue in the face, but in the end a shady owner is going to do everything he can to line his pockets, regardless of who he hurts in the process.

I think it's hilarious that Jason and I are being lumped into this "immoral, dishonest painter group" because our standard of quality vs home owner expectation differs from yours. gg :thumbsup:
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