Problem - bathroom sealant over oil-based paint

26 Sep 2007
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United Kingdom

I recently redecorated our bathroom, repainting the entire room and regrouting the original tiles.

Our bathroom has tongue-and-groove cladding all round and, above the cladding as it goes around the bath, tiling in white half-tiles to the ceiling.

After painting the woodwork (oil-based, eggshell finish, over the old oil-based paint, lightly sanded for better purchase), I let it dry for a couple of days. Then I put masking tape down and used a bead of white kitchen and bathroom sealant to seal the gap between the base of the tiles and the painted moulding which tops off the tongue-and-groove. Nice job, or so I thought.

What happened about a week later was that the bottom edge of the sealant slightly pulled up and away (presumably it takes longer to fully cure than the 24 hours it says on the cartridge), taking flakes of the new coats of paint with it and exposing the old paint beneath. Very tatty.

What has happened here? Was the sealant the wrong kind, or too strong? Or did my first coat of paint simply not adhere to the old sanded one beneath it?

I tend to the latter, but can't think what caused it. I'm wondering if there was something greasy on the surface of the old paint - something I couldn't see but which was too durable to be sanded away. A thin layer of old sealant from the previous time I decorated the bathroom? Dried shower gel?

Should I just rip it all out and start again, being extra thorough? Or do I need to do something different? For instance, should I use acrylic latex sealant instead?
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