So a couple of weeks ago I was painting my daughters room with valspar primer and paint. Well we applied the primer on all the walls and then started noticing bubbles under the primer and when we went to fix it, the paint the whole wall started to peel. The issue is that it wasn't just the primer that peeled it was the primer and the paint underneath.....what should I do to prevent that from happening again because unfortunately the people we bought the house from used the same paint all over the house.

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    Hello, and welcome to Stack Exchange. Some more information, including pictures of the bubbling, would help us help you. – Daniel Griscom Sep 3 '17 at 20:56

Sounds like you ran into some oil-based paint. Is it an older house?

Prime first with an oil based primer before painting with latex. That should get it to stick.

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Old paint failing when new paint is applied is rather common, especially if the old paint was cheap/crap or very old, and/or it was thinly applied. The weak polymer film/surface in the old paint is subjected to a lot tension when the new paint dries. If you think for a moment, the new paint couldn't level and form a nice surface if didn't do that. Possible fixes are:

  • Use a paint (base coat/primer) that puts less tension on the old paint. In my experience, expensive paint tends to exercise more pressure on old paint than average-price one (I'm talking of at lest 50% difference in price here). So, my of thumb is that cheaper paint is better here in this respect (but worse in terms of everything else, usually). Once you do get one or several layers of inexpensive (but recent) paint as base coat hardened, these will hold a more expensive top coat well, or at least better than the old paint. (I cannot make specific suggestions because I had all my painting adventures in Europe and I see Valspar is a US manufacturer; I've never heard of it before, and conversely all the paints I dealt with are unavailable in the US, as far as I can tell.)
  • If you can determine what the old paint is, and it's low gloss/sheen, you can try to spot paint only damaged areas. That also lessens the tension put on the old paint considerably (compared to painting whole walls)... but you'll have to stick to the old color [and perhaps dubious quality paint].
  • Also inspect what's under the old failing paint. I've had a case where the plaster was disintegrating for some reason, literally turning into dust at its surface, which cause the old paint (of known decent quality) to open wide cracks when painted over. Solution was to replaster where it came off, and spot paint in a few place where it was really necessary. The ultimate solution would be rather costly in this case -> replaster everything [well, at least the skim coat], then repaint.
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You might look into Gardz. I've been exploring how to deal with painting a wallpapered room and it is often recommended for dealing with minor drywall paper damage, as well as issues with paint adherence.

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