Sealing/Priming walls prior to painting?

9 Apr 2014
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United Kingdom
I recently moved house and in the corner of the front and back bedrooms the paint is flaking off the walls in both in a small patch. It appears that the paint was applied directly to the bare plaster as this is visible beneath the paint. The house is timber framed front and back and this is happening where the timber frame meets the external brick wall. There is no evidence of damp nor any found in the full survey.

I am redecorating and was a bit confused as to how best prepare the bare plaster prior to painting as I will clear the paint off these areas as it literally falls off! For the unaffected areas I intend to paint directly over the existing paint after washing down the walls.

Should I use a primer/sealant or a water down emulsion mix? I plan to use Crown emulsion.

New to this so any help/tips greatly appreciated.
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Flaking paint is a real pain, I do sympathise.

When I had this I scraped off whatever would come off easily - though with a sharp scraper it's hard to know when to stop - you may be able to get it all off, but that takes ages. After that I painted on a mix of PVA glue and water - that seemed to 'seal' it well enough. Then some of that polycell base coat stuff followed by two coats of the emulsion and the wall looked pretty good. Certainly not a professional job, but I saved hundreds not paying a plasterer and painter!

good luck
*Don't* use PVA, that's probably the reason the paint failed in the first place. Not sure why plasterers keep telling people to PVA walls before painting, worse thing you can do.

Zinser do a range of products that can help, a couple of the Pro guys on here have posted about them before.
Strange how there seem to be very strong views for or against PVA here.

In my experience PVA was a disaster when I put it on fresh plaster, the slightest knock and paint would peel. BUT on crumbly old plaster, partially covered by paint (which sounds like your case), it was great.
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Probably lots of experience sorting it out :) I've had to re-plaster two ceilings in this house that were painted with a PVA paint mix as nothing would take.

First coat of paint with PVA probably does seem to finish up nice, trouble is when you later recoat the PVA will start the lift of the surface, worst case is you get lots of patches of bubbling or lifting paint, it's just not worth the risk for the extra work it creates.

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