The problem: Blue painters tape is peeling Zinsser Bulls Eye 1 2 3 primer off the new dry walls.

The project: I removed a fireplace and brick facade and replaced it with new sheet rock covered with it with AG all purpose joint compound. I also flattened the surrounding walls and hallway halls with the same joint compound. The walls were completely dry prior to priming - 4 days to 3 weeks. Prior to priming the walls were lightly sponged with a very damp sponge to remove dust. I then painted two coats of Bulls Eye 123 primer on all walls.

We needed to texture the 4 inches of ceiling along the new wall - a plastic sheet was taped with blue painters tape to the wall at the ceiling. When I removed the plastic sheet the primer came off with the tape. I have since tested various other parts of all the walls with packing tape. I press the tape onto the wall and peel it off. The tape removes the primer in some spots. Once a spot is created the tape can remove large areas of primer. (I have subsequently stopped this until I learn more about the problem and how to fix it.)

Might you know why this is happening? More importantly, how do I remedy this problem?

  • Is the Bulls Eye 123 primer recommended for use on bare wallboard? Maybe you think you should have used a PVA wallboard primer instead.
    – SteveSh
    Apr 26, 2020 at 18:16

4 Answers 4


It has been my experience that primer over drywall mud requires a looooooooog dry time. The primer is a water based product that will soften up drywall mud even over 1/8 inch thick. Your using the damp cloth to clean off dust instead of using a vacuum and tack cloths probably lent some to the softening as well. I had to wait a full week before I applied a second coat of the primer.

If you applied painters tape to primer when the underlying mud was even a slight amount damp the paint will come off.

  • Thank you. Vacuuming and tacky cloth I have done in the past and will resume. The wall that is most affect has been drying for 3 weeks.
    – Katrina
    Apr 26, 2020 at 19:23

My notion is that the 'very damp sponge to remove dust' actually created its own layer of new dust. (For the future, it's most common to vacuum or brush fresh mud before painting.)

I suppose there's an outside chance that the primer was old/faulty; that primer is usually very sticky.

All blue tape is not created equal. There are more or less delicate versions available. Putting it on less cured paint might lead to a particularly strong bond. Leaving blue tape on for too long can lead to a stronger bond. Packing tape is crazy sticky, so it's not a great test of paint adhesion.

To fix, you can obviously spot fix the paint gouges with more joint compound. If you feel like the entire wall has a poor paint bond, you could go at it with a 4/5" putty knife and see if you can peel sheets off.

If this was a job I was being paid for, I'd try to peel anything that peeled off readily and then patch. If it was my own home, I'd roll the dice and hope that the paint stays stuck.

  • Thank you. It is my home ... i like the idea of scraping then filling the open spots and repainting.
    – Katrina
    Apr 26, 2020 at 19:25

I would recommend using Zinsser B-I-N® shellac based primer on the area that you will be applying the tape.

Sand the area where the tape pealed the primer off and then roll on the shellac primer. Give it at least 24 hours to cure.

Remove tape, paint wall. (I believe the tape will not peal it off.)

  • This answer should have more votes. As another comment notes that the water-base can soften the drywall mud. So just don't use a water-based primer! B-I-N is an appropriate primer to use instead.
    – EricS
    Aug 27, 2023 at 2:02

I never use a wet sponge, wide three-foot broom, broom off the dust. Once the first coat is dry pole sand the walls to correct for any imperfections in smoothness. I have learned to give joint compound time to dry. The joint compound needs time to dry, 8 hours. I know everyone is in a hurry I have learned to give it time to dry. It won't even sand properly, it seems to just fall off while sanding.

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