removing/covering up bad paint

all right. i am in the process of scraping paint off my bathroom walls and ceiling. i don't want to scrape anymore!
i don't know if there is some sort of sealer on the walls or what. it's drywall, the building was built in 1980. there is something on the walls, i don't think it's oil paint because it doesn't come off unless i gouge at it with the scraper, but it's glossy and was probably at one time white but is now yellow. i'd primed and painted over it probably 3 years ago. there are places where it was peeling, so i started to pick at it and a lot of it peeled off, sometimes in fairly large sized sheets.
that would be fine if i could take it all off that way, but what's left is sticking pretty well and is hard to scrape. i haven't even started the ceiling.
my question is: can i just put drywall mud or plaster or something to that extent over it? will it stick or will it more likely flake off?
my bathroom's been in disarray for the last month because i can only spend about an hour at a time before i get bored/frustrated and need to do something else and at this point i'm about 50% done... i need my bathroom back!
thanks.
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snipped-for-privacy@mesmerized.org wrote in

Whatever is loose has to come off. Covering it with "something" will just result in the "whatever it is" to peel off with a coat of the new "something" you put on it.

Could it be old wallpaper underneath? Does it have like air bubbles?
In a case where it is wallpaper, what happens is the room moisture gets through the latex paint and causes the old wallpaper to bubble and maybe "flake". If you think this might be the case then:
- Scrape, gouge, cut with util knife, etc all the loose stuff until you have all solid areas.
- Prime entire wall with oil based primer. Let it dry WELL. "Kills Oderless" works. Don't use the Kills that is not oderless that is a buck or two cheaper. It stinks HORRIBLY BAD. Get the primer tinted 3/4 of the final color. Paint store/dept should have a machine setting to tint to 3/4 of the color you give them.
(If it is wallpaper under there somepalce, if you put latex primer or paint and/or mud on it, places that were not messed up will start to bubble.)
- mud and smooth out
- prime again with latex or oil based primer. Might as well use oil since you already have some and a roller loaded up with it. After the first priming, wrap the roller cover in plastic wrap so it doesn't dry.
- paint with latex paint
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snipped-for-privacy@mesmerized.org wrote:

gloss paint with fine sand paper. Wash the room well with good household cleaner, rinse, dry. Spackle the edges of peeled paint to feather the edges. "Sand" the spackle lightly with a damp cloth wrapped around a flat sanding block. Prime the spackled areas, being careful to feather out borders. Prime the whole room. Be meticulous about following instructions for recoating, keeping paint stirred, etc. Paint with your favorite paint (which is purchased to go with the primer). It is amazing how wet the ceiling can be after a shower, even with exhaust fan running. Dry the ceiling and use another fan for a while to make sure it is dry prior to priming and painting.
My least favorite problem to deal with is latex over oil enamel. I never use latex on doors or trim, as it is almost impossible to patch and sand little dings when it's time to repaint.
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