I am hoping someone can educate me a little on a wall issue i am having. I've reached out to several different professionals after I was left with this fiasco by the painting "professionals" I initially hired but the wide range of resolutions only caused more confusion.

The issues stem in my laundry room. One of the smaller walls about 3x9 is peeling in large layer of paint which goes down to what looks like brown paper. Almost half the wall has peeled. . The other wall looks like the brown paper was sanded right down to the plaster? The remaining walls look like I could peel the paint in large portions without any problem but are "okay" otherwise. Since I"m probably not explaining things correctly I've attached the images to show this fiasco.

I've contacted a few different companies who advised going right down the studs and hanging new drywall, which seems in my novice mind a very drastic measures, not to mention requiring me to sell a kidney..j/k...Others recommended skim coating which seems like a quick fix. But I really have no idea so I am just speculating.

At the end of the day I just want everything done right. Even if that means to have new drywall hung. But since I have no idea what right is, I was sort of hoping for some input? Is the answer to go right down to studs and hang new drywall or is skim coating the only thing needed?

If new drywall needs to be hung, do I then need to coordinate a separate painting company to paint drywall? This is all foreign to me and relying on the same folks I am paying doesn't always give an unbiased answer. Thank you for taking the time to offer some input as I'm learning as I go..

wall that seems sanded down

Wall peeled paint

  • What is the "brown paper"? Old wall paper? Have you tried to remove it? A sturdy plaster wall should not need to be removed. Painting over wallpaper is controversial - not only is it hard to paint evenly, but the paper is likely to bubble and peel after painting. I understand this is due to moisture and solvent in the paint as well as the natural "breathing" of walls. If wallpaper, remove it yourself. Test for/assume lead, take precautions.
    – AdamO
    Aug 2, 2023 at 5:40
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    The second picture with the green and brown the wall does not look flat. Is that a large bump in the wall? Does any of the wall feel damp or soft(push in with fingers)? You might have a moisture/leak problem behind the drywall that is causing the paint problems.
    – crip659
    Aug 2, 2023 at 9:54
  • @crip659: I'm not sure, but it looks to me like the large bulge is where the paper has been partly peeled away from the wall (eg see the tear in the centre-right of the photo).
    – psmears
    Aug 2, 2023 at 15:15
  • That sheet of drywall will probably need replacing, if only to see what is happening behind it and to make sure the wall is flat again for paint.
    – crip659
    Aug 2, 2023 at 15:24
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    Even if you chose to hire out the entire repair, it may end up being less expensive to pull out the old drywall and replace than it would to repair what's there. Sometimes, repair work is more time consuming than replacement and the cost of labor usually far exceeds the cost of materials. Call several drywallers and ask each of them for a repair quote and a replace quote to see what you get.
    – FreeMan
    Aug 2, 2023 at 16:38

2 Answers 2


Assuming no underlying moisture issues, this looks like half the facing paper on drywall has been torn off.

As such, and again this advice depends on the gypsum layer underneath being solid, this just needs a skim from a competent plasterer. (Not an average handyman; not an average painter.)

Credit to @evilelf for the reminder: the paper needs to be primed with an oil- or shellac- (or pva-) based primer.

  • 2
    You have to prime the ripped paper first, or the moisture from the skim coat will cause it to bubble.
    – Evil Elf
    Aug 2, 2023 at 12:49
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    I agree, but the paper on drywall provides much of its strength, like top and bottom members of a truss. It has much less resistance to damage due to forces in an outward direction as it is. Therefore, this is a judgement call depending on expected usage.
    – isherwood
    Aug 2, 2023 at 13:02
  • @EvilElf -- it turns out that it's not so much a matter of priming, just a matter of getting all the loose paper off Aug 3, 2023 at 1:48
  • Capsule summary: she primed with hot mud. I'll stick with paint. Aug 3, 2023 at 2:34

That looks like a bad drywall job was the base issue. That is why the painters job turned out poorly. Paint is paint. If it won't stick to the wall it is not the fault of the paint.

It looks as if the drywall was installed with the wrong side out. The only way to fix that is to tear it off and install new drywall correctly.

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