Asked on Feb 16, 2014

Drywall was hung paper side out and paint peels and bubbles

Taryn C
by Taryn C
My house was built in 91. When we moved in 4.5 years ago we repainted almost all the rooms, priming with latex kilz before applying the new colors. We had issues with the paint bubbling around windows in a couple spots but otherwise the paint looks fine.
The problems started when we tried to hang a Hot wheels racetrack that uses 3m strips to attach to the wall and the track would pull the paint off the wall. Later, when we tried to remove wall decals we had put up large areas of paint came up. These large areas showed that the underlying issue is that the drywall was hung paper side out. The bottom-most layer of paint is white but I have no way of knowing whether it is primer on not.
We are repainting my son's room and are currently pulling up all the loose paint we can. The paint only seems to stick at the joint seams and over screws/nails where mud was used. Obviously I will need to use some mud to transition over the edges of remaining paint, but do I need to skim coat the entire wall? I prefer to use a latex primer such as Kilz 2 if possible, but I want the paint to actually stick to the wall and not just look nice. We'd like to hang the racetrack in his room after painting and have the 3M strips work like they should.
Thanks for any advice!
This is one of the now exposed areas of backwards drywall.
  8 answers
  • SawHorse Design Build SawHorse Design Build on Feb 16, 2014
    @Taryn C I have seen this happen before where there is excess drywall dust from the sanding phase and the paint adheres to the dust instead of the drywall. The drywall should have paper on 2 sides so that is not the problem. Priming over the peeled paint will just add more weight to the peeling layer and will cause it to peel more. You will need to sand the walls first to get to the bottom layer then prime/ paint again.
  • Jeanette S Jeanette S on Feb 17, 2014
    I don't care what it is, when you "stick" stuff to a out later...and this is particularly true with wallpaper! It can all be a mess! I have worked very hard to get every piece of wallpaper out of my house and will never, ever stick stuff on my walls again! We used beadboard and texture paint to cover up problems in a small bathroom because I did not want to get sanding dust in all my vents! I love it!
  • You might want to try texture paint over the bonding primer.....It will cover the transition lines from the paint to the affected drywall and look very high end...
  • Silver Geras Silver Geras on Feb 17, 2014
    As a primer kilz is over rated, I had the same problem, will never use again. Texture paint is the best.
  • Seidman Paperhanging Seidman Paperhanging on Feb 17, 2014
    Smooth out your walls, clean up all dust. Prime with Zinsser's Guards, Guards is a clear penetrating primer-sealer that will sink into the drywall to protect it from stickers or wallpaper. There is a lot of new technology out there now and I for one stay on top of new products. After priming with Guards, prime again with Zinsser's 123 then apply 2 topcoats. You should have no further problems.
    • SawHorse Design Build SawHorse Design Build on Feb 17, 2014
      @Seidman Paperhanging I would trust the advice of a paperhanger since they have to have well prepped walls in order hang paper.
  • Taryn C Taryn C on Feb 17, 2014
    Thanks to each of you for your help!
  • Jacqui Jacqui on Feb 18, 2014
    What do you mean the drywall was hung paper side out? Drywall is paper on both sides - there is no right or wrong side. I agree with SawHorse. This happened with my mom's ceiling. She had to have the textured ceiling all scraped off, re-sanded, primed and painted.
    • See 2 previous
    • Joseph Clisham Joseph Clisham on Sep 23, 2014
      @Jacqui back in the 70s80s and 90s the dry wall had a outward side and a side that went towards the studs this is what is meant that the dry wall was hung up side down or backwards the side that should go to the studs wont hold paint i have the same problem haven't found a fix to this problem
  • Cyndi Moore Tippett Cyndi Moore Tippett on Feb 18, 2014
    I agree with Seidman Paperhanging, I was told from a professional painter to not use Kilz because you have to sand before painting. He told me to use the Zinsser's oil based primer (in the gold can). I had to paint every surface in my 2400 square foot house last year and I used Zinssers Gold before painting and I will tell did a great job covering and sealing all the stains. Give it a try....