Paint peeling fix on a budget, what would you do?

by Suzan
This 1938 old gal is showing quite a lot of wear. The walls & ceiling in the kitchen are bubbling & peeling. Likely there is lead paint. Hub said no water damage but research indicates moisture build up from improper ventilation. I do not really want to remove the ceiling, I was thinking more of applying something on top. Ideas?
Wall split
  24 answers
  • Jonnie Hammon Jonnie Hammon on Mar 07, 2016
    You may have moisture coming through your walls, so scrape it all off, check your walls, if it's moisture, and you don't want a repeat, take the wall down, add a vapor barrier, put up new wall, prime and repaint.
    • Kim Humber Kim Humber on Mar 07, 2016
      @Jonnie Hammon I think you may have missed the part about the possibility of lead paint. Scraping, sanding and removing lead painted items requires containment and extra clean up measures.
  • Jeannie Herman Jeannie Herman on Mar 07, 2016
    What if the problem has been fixed (mositure) how do you fix these problems? Do you scape and then spackle/redo and then paint??
  • Hope Williams Hope Williams on Mar 07, 2016
    Hi Suzan. Unfortunately there is no easy fix for your dilemma. It is a moisture problem and too much paint. This bottled together will cause your issue. It looks like drywall under all that, correct? Option 1 is to scrape off any bubbles, apply beadboard, Luan, or other wood treatment. Using liquid naile AND nails/screws to secure in place. Being sure to screw into joists to prevent it from falling off. It is not going to stick for long if it is only glued up there and not anchored into place using hardware INTO your joists. Option two is Tin tiles. Again, use same method for install. You can sort of hide your seams with strips of wood. Option 3 is plank it. Tongue and groove or Luan cut to size. Two things I do recommend, a dehumidifier and measure and Mark your joists first. Chalk line them if you can. Good luck!
  • Janet Pizaro Janet Pizaro on Mar 07, 2016
    I agree with Hope and would like to add there is most likely lead in the old paint and would recommend You have that checked before you tackle this project.
  • Cathy Cathy on Mar 07, 2016
    Sorry, but you will have to scrap, and if it is lead paint, you need a professional for your own safety--and with that peeling, best get it checked ASAP---esp. if children come over to your house.
  • Kim Humber Kim Humber on Mar 07, 2016
    First, you need to determine what type of material you are dealing with. Is it lead paint? At any big box hardware store you can get an instant read lead test kit for under $20. Then you will need to determine if it is paint over plaster, paint over drywall or paint over wallpaper. If someone has attempted to paint a latex or acrylic paint over original oil based paint you get this peeling effect also. Your house was built prior to 1938 so you really must assume that at some point you will be dealing with lead paint since it was not banned until the late 1970s. Covering it up, or "encapsulation" as it is known in the restoration industry, is your safest option. I love Hometalk, I really do but sometimes you need in depth research and not a quick DIY life hack. This is one of those times, especially if you have young children in the house. I suggest you research on the site as I found them a great source when we completely restored our 1895 Victorian. You will also need to address the moisture problem. If it is just lack of ventilation and you have ductwork you could install an air exchanger, Venmar is a brand name we have here in Canada. Exhaust fans and attic fans will help as well. Additionally you may need a vapor barrier in the attic. It is doable once you have the right info.
    • Suzan Suzan on Mar 07, 2016
      i need to get in attic, hub is not very good at getting to the bottom line. He said repeatedly that there would be water stains visible. Geez
  • Louanne Burgess Louanne Burgess on Mar 07, 2016
    Panel over it with beadboard.
  • Johnchip Johnchip on Mar 07, 2016
    No easy fix, but the good news, is lead paint was used mostly on windows and wood, not walls. Even if so , it is not as big a seal to scrape off as some would make it out to be. It is not like asbestos flying around in your air. I see wood lathe beyond the wall in the one picture. Either you will have to patch the walls, and new ones will keep popping up, you scrape or pane with new drywall over the entire walls, actually not that expensive and will permanently seal your problem.
  • C C on Mar 07, 2016
    I would definitely panel over it with beadboard. Google research beadboard ceilings..... cost effective & pretty!
  • LD LD on Mar 07, 2016
    Based on your pics, it appears that there are multiple layers of paint and/or possible wallpaper. As stated in the previous responses, this is not a quick fix unfortunately, water moisture can come from when the interior humidity is too high (should be no higher than 40% humidity), and when the home is not allowed to breath. Homeowners want to make their homes air tight, but unfortunately then you are not allowing for the space to breath, and you can then build up toxins in your home. Now in regards to your wall and ceiling issues, this could be caused by not keeping the interior space at a constant temperature setting, for when there is big fluctuations in the temperature you can get cracking, but some of the issues could also be from settling of the home, painting latex over oil base paint, improper prep work before painting. Considering the age of your home, it is a given that you have lead paint and asbestos, so proper drop cloths/clothing/face mask, and ventilation will be necessary in order to make those minor repairs. The easiest solution for your ceilings would be to either use tin ceiling, wood planking or put install 1/4 inch drywall over the existing ceilings, for the walls you will need to sand the edges on big open areas and to remove those areas that have blistered, then follow it with a skim coat. Here is a link for tin ceiling:
    • See 1 previous
    • LD LD on Mar 07, 2016
      @Suzan , the only ones I have seen is online at Home Depot and they are plastic, but they cost about the same as the real tin tiles. American Tin Ceilings does have some style in clearance. A 10x10 ceiling = 100 sq feet divided by 4 = 15 tiles needed be their website, which would make them cost $375, and that was a style that cost $15 per tile. There is paintable wallpaper as an option or you could have someone plaster the ceiling either a smooth finish or there are many different designs they can do as well.
  • Sally-Charles Evans Sally-Charles Evans on Mar 07, 2016
    I had a bubble last year that looked like one of those. It was on an outside wall above a register. It showed up in the summer. I got an air deflector and put it on that register and the bubble shrank and is gone. I think the cool air on the warmer wall was causing moisture......what has gone away.
  • Sandra Sandra on Mar 07, 2016
    That one on top almost looks like Africa. lol
  • Paulette Paulette on Mar 07, 2016
    It depends on your time restraint.stripping the paint or getting rid of as much as possible...because it probably has lead in it....and I have seen large sections of this let go at a there small children in the home...please use face masks...and contact your health department on getting rid of it and sealing it....tin ceiling wood be nice
    • Suzan Suzan on Mar 07, 2016
      No children but little dogs. Have you seen the lookalike styrofoam molded like the tin designs?
  • Karen leslie Karen leslie on Mar 07, 2016
    Having scraped painted wallpaper off of the walls and ceilings of multiple old houses-it looks to me as if you have the same. You might be able to see faint vertical seams where the paper was overlapped. Sometimes, there is so much paint its hard to see them, though. When the paper gets damp from humidity in the air-it starts to bubble, taking the paint with it -like shown in your photos. If you plan on keeping the walls and ceiling a painted surface, you will need to roll up your sleeves and use a TON of elbow grease and a good scraper and remove it all! Be careful not to gouge the walls with a too- sharp scraper or else you will be spackling a lot before painting. Some gouges are inevitable:( Be sure to then remove the glue and paper residue that will be left behind before you prime and paint. Obviously, if you dedide to go this route-you need to take all precautions indicated/ or have remediated professionally if the paint turns out to be lead based.
  • Conni Conni on Mar 07, 2016
    My house was built in 1930 also. I have a couple places like this so its good to know its not water damage.. My contractor simply lightly scraped the area and patched like a drywall repair. Looks great and so simple. I have a much bigger issue in a bedroom and he put new thinner drywall over the entire ceiling- much easier and cleaner end result than trying to repair a large area. And there is no disturbing the lead paint-it's simply covered over. My house is plaster over wire and lathe walls. Typically the plaster is covered with a thin wall paper--
  • Ramona Whitten Ramona Whitten on Mar 07, 2016
    I have peeling walls too.( That vinyl mobile home panels) I plan on using Kilz on it and painting over it. If it looks uneven; I will texterize the walls with sheetrock mud for a fix then paint it. There is a special drywall repair tape. Perhaps consult Sherwin Williams- they will give you free advice if they think you might buy their product.They have something called "superpaint" now. I plan on wiping the mildew with a bleach and water solution first. Perhaps a paint for basements and baths that can withstand water; that has a anti-mildew agent. I wouldn't sand lead based paint- then its in the air and more likely to get in your lungs. and I have heard that dust gets everywhere.
  • Bobbie Littlefield Bobbie Littlefield on Mar 07, 2016
    1938? Likely lead based paint. It SHOULD come down - or enclose it with boarding of some type. If there is moisture-insure it isn't coming from behind the walls!! Get some professionals in for price quotes (3 at least). That way, at least you KNOW what you are dealing with. Me? I would have all the walls and ceilings down. Replace appropriately -darn the budget!
  • Paulette Paulette on Mar 07, 2016
    Yes I have...they are very nice...but that paint is pretty heavy
  • Duv310660 Duv310660 on Mar 07, 2016
    Scrape scrape scrape, prep prep, prime, paint!
  • Sandra Hellewell Sandra Hellewell on Mar 08, 2016
    I agree with @duval.26! That is the proper way to fix it otherwise, you will continually have problems with peeling paint!
  • Mar3393727 Mar3393727 on Mar 08, 2016
    Hubby is a 30= yr. drywall finisher. SCRAPE !!!! You should not apply any paint until you have scraped it clean, wet paint will pull more off the wall & then you have a mess. Do it right and then sit back & enjoy.
  • Snapoutofit Snapoutofit on Mar 10, 2016
    don't cover up the problem. I like the ideas fellow-hometalk-er's just gave...boy are we smart.
  • Marcia Strode Marcia Strode on Mar 13, 2016
    In 1938 you assuredly have multiple layers of lead paint (it's all that was available back then) & probably wallpaper mixed together. As someone else recommended get 3 professional quotes for removing/covering--they can determine whether it's truly a moisture problem or normal environmental moisture combines with age & the weight of multiple layers that's causing it to peal. It's NOT cheap & you can do it yourself (check the EPA website for info on doing do) but's a royal pain & very time consuming, the money is some of yhe best you'll spend , even if you just have them do the lead paint removal & pre-prep, doing the rest yourself. (Will also add value when you go to sell your house.) Be very careful to pick up small chips and vacuum dust wit a HEPA filter vacuum (preferably one with bags you can toss)-so your pets don't get into the paint residue. It can kill them--I learned the hard way and lost a beloved cat!
  • Debbi Debbi on Mar 13, 2016
    If you can't put new drywall over it all, do what Marcia Strode said. Don't mess with lead paint removal. Yes, it will cost you, but your health is more important than the money.