Painting Plaster Walls

We live in an old farmhouse with plaster walls. We are struggling with paint staying on the walls, especially the hallway walls and hallway ceiling. The paint is always cracking and chipping off. The last time we painted, it was only about 1 month before the cracking and chipping started. Any suggestions on what to try to get the paint to better stay on the plaster?


By Lori Ebert from NJ

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January 28, 20120 found this helpful

It sounds to me that there are too many layers of paint on the walls that have been applied over the years. Too many layers of paint will do what you describing as well as what is called alligatoring. That is the paint wrinkles. I would strip a small section and repaint with latex paint to see how it holds up. Painting with a primer over alll those layers of paint will not change anything. Just continuing the peeling and cracking. You could also get an opinion from your local paint store.

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January 31, 20120 found this helpful

Well I'm your local paint department. To me, it sounds as if you are painting with a water based paint, or Latex, and going over an oil based paint. Water based can not go over oil based. It starts to peel and crackle within a few days. If you know you have not painted with water base over oil base, then the reason would be the surface you are painting over is not fully cured.


Peeling and cracking paint means moisture is still present under. Painting in rainy weather, high humidity, low temperatures outside can also cause peeling and cracking. You need to fully let what you have done dry. Dry for a week if need be then sand the surface smooth.

After use a oil based interior primer. I recommend Kilz Oil Base. Reason for that is because you can paint over a oil based primer using a water based paint, just not water based paint over oil based paint. The oil based primer will stick to any previous oil base paint it might come in contact with with no problems. Then your water based final paint finish will stick to the oil based primer.

But please, if it is at all humid outside, let the primer cure a few days longer then recommended on the can. It needs to be fully dry.

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