A plaster wall in an old closet has stains coming through the paint. I don't know what the stain-causing stuff is, but it seems to be under the entire wall of the closet. It is showing up in mottled patches all over the wall. The existing paint is very old.

We covered it with Kilz oil-based, white-pigmented, primer. The stain came though the first coat by the next day. We applied a second coat of Kilz and it held up well. We left it there a few weeks to make sure.

Then, we painted the closet with a latex paint. In two days, the stain is showing though the latex.

My questions:

  1. Can the latex pull stain through the primer?
  2. would another coat of primer and paint help, or should I replace (or cover) the wall with drywall?
  3. Is there some super-primer I should use instead?
  • When you say plaster, do you mean plaster over wood lath, mesh or even concrete or brick? House or apartment/condo? – Mister Tea Dec 16 '16 at 20:36
  • @MisterTea It's a house built in 1915 near Portland, OR. Plaster over wood lath. – bitsmack Dec 16 '16 at 21:08
  • Whats on the other side of that wall? You can paint over it again and again or sheetrock it but the source of the stain should be found first. Otherwise you could have a bigger problem that gets swept under the rug until it becomes a larger issue. – Mister Tea Dec 16 '16 at 21:51
  • @MisterTea It's an exterior wall, with old siding that looks intact. No windows, plumbing, or electricity. I'm not sure about this wall, but others like it had solid wood sheathing inside and out. Over the sheathing, the exterior has siding and the interior was furred out with lath to hold the plaster. – bitsmack Dec 16 '16 at 22:05

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