Drywall Dust Causes Paint Failures

Question: I am experiencing a paint problem in my new home. We’ve been living here since March. I was painting the white walls a custom color so I trimmed the ceiling and the baseboards with 3M blue tape I purchased from Lowe’s Home Improvement. The tape promptly took the paint off the ceiling when I peeled it off after only 5 seconds of being applied. The paint and drywall contractors and the homebuilder superintendent have been here to inspect the home and have determined after 2 months, that nothing is wrong, but that walls were not intended to be taped unless you use the $11 per roll 3M tape. Not only did my tape peel off paint, but there is a spot on my wall where the paint just rolls off. There are numerous walls with orange peel, I think they call it, where there are many little cracks in the paint.

Answer: Your problem is common for a couple of reasons. On new construction, we see a lot of drywall dust remaining on walls prior to painting. You always have a mud joint at the ceiling and wall joint, and when sanded prior to painting, you get a tremendous amount of dust accumulating in the corners. If this dust is not vacuumed off, and the surface wiped, the remaining drywall dust on the surface keeps paint from soaking in. You will likely see a white powder on the back side of the paint chip, and from the surface where the paint peeled. Wipe with a dark rag to check, looking for this white residue. This residue should be removed from the failed areas prior to repairing. This problem is typically compounded by the use of inexpensive flat latex paint as a primer and finish on ceilings. Many paint companies are promoting “self-priming” builder flat finishes for new construction, so I can’t even blame the builders and contractors. These products typically do not wet through this dust. If the finish was sprayed on the ceiling, and not brushed or rolled in the corners, this will compound the problem. We do not like Blue tape, especially 3ms. It will pull flat latex in most cases, even if little dust is under the surface, which is almost always. I feel it is too aggressive for any flat acrylic.

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