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Interior Paint/Plaster Bubbling

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Dec 09, 2013, 04:31 PM
Interior Paint/Plaster Bubbling
Need some advice. My house is 100 years old and is load bearing brick on a stone foundation. It is all plaster construction with the interior of the outside walls having the plaster directly on the brick. The interior of one of the outside walls is bubbling and peeling. The wall is along a set of stairs to the second floor. At the top of the steps is an old leaky window and across from the window is a full bath (no fan). The peeling is around the window and continues intermittently two thirds of the way down the stairs where it stops. The wall is cold to the touch during the winter. I've primed and painted but it just bubbled again. How can I prevent the peeling? Will a new window and a bathroom fan fix the problem? Attached is a crude drawing of the area. Thanks!

Dec 09, 2013, 08:48 PM
Continuously bubbling paint, after priming and repainting is nearly always the result of moisture in the wall behind the painted surface. The paint/plaster separates from the wall surface and does not stay adhered.

If this is a recent issue, I would look at what is happening on the outside of the house. A failed gutter system, rotted fascia board allowing moisture to get into and between the brick wall, roof issue with leaks in attic? The window (and flashing around it) could well be a contributor but really look at the exterior for rain/water infiltration from all possible sources. Until any issues here have been resolved and allowed to dry out, I doubt you will have much luck with paint or plaster holding up.

Helpful also to have a geographic location for your home, so we know what weather issues may be common, for the best advice.