I'm trying to clean up a painting mess where a friend's tenant painted latex over oil in a couple of rooms. The latex coat was applied maybe 18 months ago. This spring my friend (aka my attorney) asked me to fix the peeling paint in the kitchen and that was weeks of sanding/stripping. I found latex over oil, over wallpaper and glue, layers of spackle and even ketchup stains in the wall. No prep at all just a mess. Eventually I got the paint surface to a reasonable state and put a zinsser oil primer down and then painted.

The bathroom was fine 6 months ago and now a peeling mess. Sanding and scraping have removed most of the loose paint, I've hit the wall with a belt sander and heat gun. Underneath there's glue, wallpaper, and maybe 4 coats of paint (yes lead is there I'm sure). But the top coat of latex is mostly gone.

My question is I have to assume there's damage to the paint underneath, right? I've no guarantee that prepping/painting on top will maintain since the latex has been tugging at the oil layers underneath? I'm assuming much of the underlying coats will need to come down?

Maybe the simplest thing is thin drywall on top of everything else. Any advice welcomed here.

My attorney is an awesome dude, takes me out to dinner often and fishing a dozen times a year. So very hard for me not to help when he asks.

TIA, Wolfy

  • 2
    Yer screwed dude! Not to make a joke but I do believe this is as much of a nightmare as you describe. Problem with any chemical or mechanical solution is that you are going to hit that drywall and either gouge it or soak it or rip the paper or something that's gonna make you replace it. I agree with the idea to rock it and I'd even consider just going to studs depending on how the floor meets the walls and ceiling. If this was your place you might take chances that you can't with someone else's place.
    – jqning
    Sep 10, 2015 at 2:30

3 Answers 3


I would guess that gut (rip/demo to the studs) and re-rock is likely be the best option here - not only best end result at the paint job, but fastest (if drastic-seeming) route to that paint job. Scraping and stripping are awfully slow compered to rocking and mudding.


One solution to take it down as close to drywall as you can, even if the drywall gets damaged. Then skim coat. Then wallpaper over wallpaper liner.

Other than re-doing drywall I can't imagine how else you'll get a paintable wall. Especially since it's someone else's.


I had the same problem with a layer of latex paint that a previous homeowner had applied over six separate coats of oil paint. I was able to use a natural orange stripper to remove the paint layers and get down to the hardwood underneath. It wasn't easy but the results turned out well and I was able to use a latex paint over the wood after I primed it.

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