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Building Homes or Extensions/Paint cracking or crackling on dry wall in bathroom (spider web type)

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QUESTION: I have a room in my home that has a shower in it (4x8). I noticed recently that the paint on the upper one-third is cracking (spider web like). What may be causing the problem and how do I correct it?  I have sanded the walls with a sander but can still see the spider web type cracks.

ANSWER: Hi Al, if your shower room doesn't have an exhaust fan and moisture I'd allowed to build up in the room for extended periods of time, it's possible that the cracks are being caused by the expansion (while moist) and the contraction (while dry) of the wall materials which in turn could be causing the paint to crack..you didn't mention what the wall materials were made of or what kind of paint you have been using.  But this would be my first guess. I hope this information helps, please feel free to write again regarding this or other matters, sincerely, Bruce Johnson..

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QUESTION: The wall is dry wall and I believe there are several coats of paint (4) on the wall(we are original owner). The room is ventilated with an exhaust fan. The paint used was either Sears or PPG and the last coat (PPG), the painter used a sealer first and then a semi-gloss PPG paint. I recently sanded the walls with an electric sander but I can still see the spider type cracks. If I use a vinyl spackling to fill in the cracks, then sand it smooth, prime and then paint will that stop the cracking or do I need to completely sand the wall down to the drywall paper, prime and paint. Can I use vinyl spackling vs joint compound. I read that the vinyl spackling is better, as it dries faster and does not shrink as much and is designed for filling in cracks. I am trying to find out the best way to solve the cracking before I paint again.  Thank you.

Answer
Hi again Al, yes a vinyl spackle will be more flexible than drywall mud which may solve your dilemma.  However, after prepping and sanding the wall you will need to re prime it..something is going on with your last coat of paint, maybe a reaction with the primer? A oil based primer topped with a latex paint?   Or it's possible that the last coat of paint is reacting to the previous coat of paint..old enamel? Spider cracks signify something going on in the substrate.  If moisture or extreme tmperature change isn't an issue then you need to make sure the primer you use will seal the previous layers from the new paint. Killz is a good separation primer..be sure to follow all manufacturers recommendations with the application of all finishes including recommended primer.  

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Bruce E. Johnson

Expertise

I can answer any construction related question in regards to carpentry, concrete, drywall, masonry, structural elements of any type of building, residential or commercial. Interior or exterior.

Experience

Custom Commercial and residential buildings. Churches, theaters, schools and auditoriums. Most recently I am working with the Catholic Church on several design build committees. I have a website related to scheduling and project supervision. Although my expertise is more related to multimillion dollar commercial, educational and theatrical projects my generous credentials in residential and remodelling construction make me a viable source of information regarding all forms of building questions.

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