paint sloughing in bathroom

Just bought a foreclosure house, and came to learn that Fannie Mae hired some drunken chimpanzees to repaint the house before they put it on the market (my apologies to drunken chimps for insulting them), gave them some paint and rollers from the dollar store and said "have at it".
Besides the fact that there were all sorts of runs and drips, and paint on the stained window trim and stair bannisters, AND the fact they painted everything the same flat white, I've noticed a problem in the lower level bathroom (this is a bi-level).
The paint over the tub has started to slough in two spots near the ceiling, and there is a stain on the ceiling directly over where one would stand in the shower that looks like a water stain from upstairs but there's no water or sewage line in the ceiling at that point.
I suspect they painted flat over semi-gloss, which is why the paint is sloughing. I am planning on re-painting this bathroom with designated bathroom paint - am I going to run into problems? Will my new, good paint end up sloughing because of the crappy flat paint underneath? Any thoughts as to what I should do about what looks like an old water stain on the ceiling, to ensure that won't show through the new paint?
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Kyle wrote:

Flat/Semi-gloss has little to do with your problem. Your new paint will stick to the existing paint. The problem is the existing paint is not sticking to whatever's below it (possibly a damp surface or mold or mildew).
I'm sure others can advise an alternative solution to stripping off all the old paint and properly preparing the surface.
For stains and the like, to keep them from bleeding through your new paint, you should first cover the area with a sealer like Kilz.
Good luck on your rehab.
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They didnt hire drunken chimps, they only paid a drunken chumps wages, so what did you expect. And it could be a mess with soap residue, gloss paint and the cheapest paint used by the chimp. Wait till you get to the roofing and plumbing.
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Kyle wrote in

By sloughing, I'm assuming that you mean peeling.
They used flat paint because it hides imperfections better than shiny paint. Little cracks and bumps show up better with shinier paint.
Use fine sandpaper on the runs.
Denatured alcohol (that's ethyl alcohol, not isopropyl) *might* remove the overspray of flat paint from glossy trim paint. If not, try Goof-Off.
For the peeling spots: They obviously didn't prep properly (or at all). * Use a scraper to get off the big stuff. * Use coarse sandpaper to get rid of as much of the flat paint as possible. A Random Orbital Sander (ROS) will save your arm. Hook it to a shop vacuum to minimize the dust. * Follow up with fine sandpaper to get rid of the sanding marks and smooth out the edges where one type of paint blends into another. * Go to a good paint store, not one of the big box places, and tell them what you're facing. They'll sell you the right kind of paint. Buy the middle grade. * Put on a coat of primer. Primer is good at sticking to stuff. * Put on a coat, or two, of paint.
I recommend shiny paint for baths and kitchens. Flat paint is hard to clean, dust sticks to it, and it rubs off easier when you wash it. I always tell my clients to use the shiniest paint that they can stand.
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Steve Bell
New Life Home Improvement
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wrote:

Thanks for the post Steve, I will have to do this myself in a year or two. Same setup as the OP; POs of house repainted before selling, but were a little sloppy on the prep work, they painted over some old paint where the top layer wasn't in good condition, and it's already starting to peel a little in the hallway outside the bathroom. Just one question, when you say "coarse" sandpaper, what grit would you recommend? I'm more of a car guy, so when you say "coarse" I think something like 240 grit which I assume won't get it on checked/peeling paint. But what should I use? 120? 80? coarser? In my case this is over real plaster, not drywall. Will I need to skim coat with anything before the Kilz?
thanks
nate
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N8N wrote in

I use whatever I have in my sandpaper box, but I like 80 grit to start with. Don't press too hard, and you'll avoid the worst sanding marks.
Every case is a little different. Some paint is harder than others. The really soft stuff just clogs the sandpaper immediately. Good luck if you have that.
If the original is in _horrible_ shape, you can try stripper, but it's a big mess.
The thing I didn't address before is damage to the wallboard. If water got into the gypsum, which can happen in bathrooms, the wallboard needs to be replaced. Check that by pressing gently but firmly on the wallboard with the heel of your hand midway between studs. If it gives more than the wall in your bedroom, replace the wallboard. It will only be a matter of time until it sags, then falls.
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Kyle wrote: (snip)

The only things I'd add to Steve's reply (down thread) is to look at these primers when you get to that point in the process. Peel Stop http://www.zinsser.com/product_detail.asp?ProductIDf Gardz http://www.zinsser.com/product_detail.asp?ProductID '
You should still do the scraping/sanding/washing to get the best surface you can before you prime.
Make sure there is a good working exhaust fan and that it is properly vented to the outdoors. Lack of proper ventilation could explain the apparent water stain you mention.
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wrote:

Make sure there is absolutely no leaks, no drips and no condensation from above. Sometimes water will travel a distance horizonatally before falling vertically. Is there condensation after a shower? It is easy to suspect lack of paint preparation, but in this case you need to keep an open mind. You may want to pre-prime the discolored areas with a coat of shellac-based primer. If all is fine, then spend time in the prep work and apply a good brand of primer and semi-gloss (or gloss) kitchen/bath paint. The kitchen/bath paint will last much longer.
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