The company who built our home subcontracted all the work. The drywall was installed and taped, then they started fixing spots with mud, trimmed, and painted all at the same time. We only realized this going back through pictures. They caulked everywhere to cover up their screwups.

We thought it was at a point we could fix the minor things ourselves. My wife was working in one of the rooms fixing a corner when four layers of paint peeled off and took part of the drywall paper with it.

We went and looked through all the paint and stuff they left and turns out they never used primer and sealer. They just painted all the walls and ceilings with white paint that said it has primer in it. It is latex paint and was on the wall for a month before the paint came off.

Is there a way to save this or are we going to have sand down to nothing or something else?

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  • "Drywall cardboard"? Do you mean the paper tape over a joint? If so, then did you pull on that thread of badly adhered drywall tape to see how much of the joint unravels? The tape should tear rather than peel away, assuming that the mud is totally dry. Yeah. Check that first. Is the mud dry?
    – popham
    Oct 18, 2023 at 0:25
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    It's hard to answer. You say they didn't use primer, then in the next sentence say they used primer. What do you mean by "at the same time"? That they taped and painted the same day? I don't even know if that's possible. A few pictures would help us give you an answer
    – Cheery
    Oct 18, 2023 at 1:11
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    How long has the paint been on the walls? A water based paint typically takes about a month to cure. It's adhesion will increase as it cures.
    – popham
    Oct 18, 2023 at 2:04
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    I’m not going to vtc, but this really isn’t a diy question: it’s about you getting back to the builder with a sternly worded letter insisting that they fix the defects in your house. Oct 18, 2023 at 13:54
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    Many builders these days include a "homeowners warranty" for workmanship issues like this. Did you get one? This is definitely a reason to have them make good on it! Also, plaese edit your question to clarify the details people have been asking you about in the comments. I'm still not certain, even after having read through all the comments.
    – FreeMan
    Oct 18, 2023 at 14:04

1 Answer 1


I only use "paint+primer" branded paints over existing paint. I do that because of one rental property that has paint like this, where the stuff peels off the underlying drywall in sheets once you get it started. No contractor is going grant that everything needs redoing. They might humor you by spot fixing your specific complaints. They'll blame your wife for peeling the paint.

To fix your spot of missing paint, take a sharp knife and cut around the outside of the peeled paint. The goal is to give yourself an edge of paint around the bad spot where the paint still has adhesion to the wall, however weak that adhesion may be. Peel off the paint inside the cut. Now you apply joint compound around the perimeter to hide the ledge where unpainted wall transitions to painted wall. Sand, prime, and paint.

For poor finish quality, you can peel, prep, and paint. Alternatively you can skim coat (taping compound adheres better than topping compound), prep, and paint. The texture from a heavy nap roller is also an option. If you let the paint partly dry and then roll it again, you can get a pretty coarse texture.

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    Yeah, paint-plus-primer is as thick as regular latex, and it doesn't absorb into and bond with drywall anywhere near as well as actual drywall sealer. This answer is my strategy as well, though I might prime before skimming also to promote stability and bond. It can be quick and sloppy.
    – isherwood
    Oct 18, 2023 at 20:55
  • @isherwood, I also read around here about some chemical treatment of existing paint to promote adhesion. Deglosser. That's the stuff. No idea if it works well, though. Sounds like it could just be a TSP alternative that avoids adding phosphate to waterways.
    – popham
    Oct 18, 2023 at 21:17

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