Why Is My Plaster Bubbling?

Why Is My Plaster Bubbling? How to fix bubbling plaster

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Key Takeaways:

  • Identifying Bubbling Plaster: The content describes the appearance of bubbling plaster as raised, blister-like patches on the wall’s surface, often filled with air. The surrounding paint may begin to flake off, creating a noticeable and unpleasant sight. This visual cue serves as a clear indication that something is amiss and requires attention.
  • Causes of Plaster Bubbling: Bubbling plaster is attributed to two primary factors: moisture/dampness within the wall and the activation of salts in the plaster mixture. The content highlights various sources of moisture, such as poor ventilation.
  • Importance of Prompt Action: The content stresses the importance of taking immediate action upon noticing bubbling plaster. Delaying intervention can exacerbate the issue, and the root cause, whether damp or salts, needs to be identified and addressed promptly.

Isn’t it extremely depressing to look at a freshly painted wall and discover bubbles and blisters where the paint isn’t adhering properly? 

This, my friends, is frequently caused by dirt that is hiding beneath the paint, improper wall priming, or even painting over a moist patch. But do not worry! Bubbles in paint are simple to remove.

Take immediate action if you notice any bubbles forming on your plaster because waiting will just worsen the situation. 

You see, the cause of plaster bubbling within a wall is either damp or salts, and the problem won’t go away unless the source of the damp is identified and addressed. So be vigilant and take quick action.

What Does Bubbling Plaster Look Like?

Ah, that’s right—everyone is wondering what bubbling plaster looks like. Let me tell you; it’s a pretty recognisable sight. 

You’ll likely see raised, nearly-blister-like patches on the plaster’s surface that look to be filled with air. The paint that is around these blisters frequently begins to flake off the wall. It’s a rather disgusting sight.

So, if you see this in your home, pay attention since it’s a blatant sign that something is wrong. It could be brought on by moisture, salts, or even improper application methods. 

But don’t worry; with a little knowledge and work, anything can be rectified. Therefore, keep a watch out for bubbling plaster and intervene as quickly as possible.

What Causes Plaster To Bubble? 

Well, let me tell you, there can be a few different factors at play here. You see, bubbling plaster is often the result of moisture and damp within the wall

This can be caused by various reasons, such as poor ventilation from dirty wall vents, leaks, no damp-proofing or even high humidity levels.

Another factor to consider is the use of salts in the plaster mixture. If the salts within the plaster become activated, this jointing compound mixture can lead to the plaster bubbling and peeling away from the plaster walls. 

And, let’s not forget, if the surface wasn’t properly prepared before painting over the interior plaster wall, this can also lead to the plaster wall bubbling.

So, there you have a few possible causes of bubbling plaster. Keep a watchful eye, and take action as soon as you notice any bubbling to avoid the problem from escalating.”

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How To Stop Plaster Bubbling?

“Well, now, if you’ve got a case of bubbling plaster on your hands, fear not! It can be sorted with a bit of know-how and a bit of elbow grease. 

Here’s what you need to do:

  • Identify the source of the problem: You need to identify what’s causing the bubbling. Is it damp, salts, or poor preparation? This will determine the next steps you need to take.
  • Remove the paint: Carefully remove any loose or peeling paint from the affected area. This will give you a clear view of the problem at hand and allow you to assess the extent of the damage properly.
  • Tackle the source of the problem: If it’s damp, causing the bubbling, you need to find and fix the source of the dampness. This could mean repairing any leaks, improving ventilation, or even installing a dehumidifier. You may need to apply a salt inhibitor to the affected area if it’s salted.
  • Repair the plaster: Once you’ve dealt with the source of the problem, it’s time to repair the plaster bubble. This will likely involve removing any damaged thin and thick layers of plaster from the interior wall surface, allowing the wall to dry out, and then applying a new layer of plaster.
  • Prime the wall: Before repainting, it’s important to prime the wall to ensure a proper bond between the new paint and the wall.
  • Repaint the wall: Once it is dry and primed, you can repaint it.

And there you have it, my friend! A simple method for stopping plaster bubbling. Just remember, the key is to act quickly and address the root of the problem rather than just treating the symptoms.”

Repair bubbling plaster

How to Repair Bubbling Plaster?

Once you’ve identified and resolved the underlying issue within your abode that led to the plaster’s initial bubbling, you can repair the affected plaster. 

You may opt to strip all the plaster from the wall and begin anew, particularly if the damage caused by dampness is extensive. 

In such situations, it’s prudent to enlist the expertise of a skilled professional who can undertake the plasterwork with a high level of proficiency and to your desired standards.

The same applies when touching walls that have only experienced minor plaster bubbling. 

Even if the affected area is small, it may still be preferable and possibly more effective to seek the services of a trained plastering professional to restore the wall to its previous state.

Typically, the plasterer would adhere to the following procedures when it comes to removing and restoring plaster that has bubbled.

Step 1:

To begin with, the plasterer will remove the bubbling plaster from the bubbled plaster wall entirely. Once this has been done, the edges of the newly cleared space will be thoroughly inspected for any other forms of contamination, dampness or damaged plaster. 

If any such issues are discovered, further plaster will be removed accordingly. This approach ensures that all compromised areas are identified and appropriately addressed, leaving a stable foundation for the plaster restoration to come.

Step 2

Typically, the wall will be cleared until a firm, stable, and undamaged layer of plaster or masonry is exposed. Once this has been accomplished, the newly uncovered surface must be cleaned. 

This is generally accomplished using a stiff nylon brush to remove any building debris, along with a sponge dampened with clean water to eliminate any lime deposits that may have accumulated as a result of penetrating damp. Lime plaster may be a necessary replacement in instances where the existing plaster is severely damaged and crumbly.

Employing the correct techniques and tools to clean the surface thoroughly is critical to ensuring that the plaster will adhere correctly and achieve a smooth, consistent finish. As such, plasterers will take great care to guarantee that the surface is ready for the plastering process.

Step 3:

After the walls have been thoroughly cleaned, it will be time to apply a coat of primer before the new paint coat. The purpose of this primer on your interior or exterior walls is two-fold: it serves to contain any remaining residue on the wall from the previous damping.

It also aids in achieving proper bonding with the plaster compound that will be applied to the wall. The primer effectively seals the surface, ensuring that the plaster adheres securely, and it also helps to prevent any damp from compromising the plaster over time. 

Plasterers are well-versed in selecting the appropriate primer for the specific surface and conditions, and they will apply it with care to ensure optimal results.

Step 4: 

Once the primer has dried, the missing plaster can be repaired and applied. Typically, this involves applying a patching plaster, or if the area being treated is small, a jointing compound may be used. 

The number of coats required will vary depending on the depth of the hole left from removing the damaged plaster. Plasterers will use their expertise to determine the optimal amount of coatings of paint coat needed to achieve a seamless, flawless finish. 

This careful approach ensures that the newly repaired area is fully integrated with the surrounding plaster and a second coat that it blends in perfectly with the rest of the wall. 

With their years of experience and training, plasterers are skilled at achieving polished, professional results.

Step 5:

After all the coatings have been applied to the wall and the plaster has been carefully smoothed out to ensure it lies flat against the rest of the plaster, sanding will be required to achieve a properly smooth wall surface. 

A quick dusting with a damp cloth usually follows to ensure that the wall is free of debris and that no dust becomes trapped by the primer. Limestone mortar will then be applied to fill in any gaps or cracks that may have occurred.

The primer is an indispensable step in reapplying plaster, as it prevents any residual water damage present in the walls from affecting the newly applied plaster. 

Once the primer has been applied, you can proceed to redecorate the wall to your heart’s content, as the process will be complete. Plasterers are experts in selecting the most appropriate primer for the specific surface and conditions, and they will apply it with care to achieve optimal results. 

With their expertise and attention to detail, plasterers can transform a damaged or unattractive wall into a smooth, beautiful surface that is ready to be adorned with the finish of your choice.

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Get a no obligation FREE quote now. Our team is here to help. Take the first step towards a guaranteed solution by filling out our form below. 

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Bubbling Plaster

Bottom Line

Whether it be due to rising damp, salts, or poor preparation, there are steps you can take to repair the issue and prevent it from happening again.

It’s important to address the root of the problem rather than just treating the symptoms, so be sure to identify the cause of the bubbling and take actions like installing a damp-proof course to tackle it. 

This could mean repairing any leaks, improving ventilation, removing rising damp patches, applying a salt inhibitor, or even removing and replacing the affected plaster.

With some know-how and elbow grease, you can have your walls look as good as new and avoid any further bubbling. 

Remember, the key is to act quickly and take the necessary steps to prevent the problem from escalating. Happy repairing!”

Jake Fitzgerald - Damp Surveyor

Jake Fitzgerald - Damp Surveyor

Surveyor of Timber & Dampness in Buildings (CSTDB) & ( MRICS ) Chartered Quantity Surveyor

Jake is a qualified chartered quantity surveyor and experienced damp specialist with a unique skill set in thermal imaging. With a focus on effective solutions, Jake combines his expertise in quantity surveying and thermal imaging to accurately assess and address damp-related issues. He utilises advanced technology to identify hidden moisture sources and develop targeted strategies, ensuring comprehensive and cost-effective solutions for his clients. With a commitment to open communication and client satisfaction, Jake delivers cutting-edge solutions that tackle damp challenges head-on.

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