Painting apartment wall

I hope someone can help me. My apartment was flooded by an overhead apartment and over time the paint has pealed and is flaky. Normally at home I would just scrape it all off, paint a coat or two and be done

But if I look at the wall in the apartment the wall is not a plasterboard as I would know it from home,

I don’t know if it is some kind of insulation but behind the paint is a slight spongy film on the wall

If this makes sense, does anyone know what it is and how you go about fixing/painting it

Hello @RoryW and welcome to the forum.

If the apartment is a rental… I’m wondering if the landlord would be able to tell you what the wall is made up of…

best of luck

Thanks Stella , it is not a rental so no landlord to ask

Could it be a thin layer of expanded polystyrene (a few mm) - there was a vogue for this at one point as “insulation”.


OK, that idea is a non-starter… but reckon billybutcher’s idea might be it…
back in UK, in 1970’s… we used rolls of insulation/evening out the wall, went on like wallpaper and was soft and spongey (by nature)…
It would have been topped by wallpaper of one sort or another…

Perhaps make further investigation in an area which won’t be noticed. I don’t think it would have been damaged by water…

EDIT: wow, walk down memory lane… I can visualize our first home and its tiny dining room, with its north-facing wall… which always felt damp/chilly to the touch.
OH lined the wall with rolls of “whatever”, then papered… and it worked like magic.

Yes, I had this in a house I bought in the UK some time ago. Not really sure it was very effective as insulation. I think it was put on to try to consolidate some areas of blown plaster behind.

Thank but I dont think it is that.

Well, OK but some clues might help - is there solid wall behind? Can you post a photo?

Can you, as Stella suggested, probe somewhere which won’t be noticed so see if you can work out what it is?

will post a picture but it will be Sept 2nd before I am there again

Well, I’m interested to see… but not holding my breath… :rofl: :rofl:

Attached is a screen grab from an old photo - if this makes sense to anyone

Could it have been cork tiles/sheets on the walls??? I’ve seen that done in/around bathrooms…

Whatever’s going on… it’s badly damp right around an electric switch… so needs sorting.

Maybe let it thoroughly dry out then skim it with plaster before re-painting.

However, I’m sure there’ll be postings from some SF pros with better solutions!

Thanks, that’s what I plan to do. It should be well dry at this stage as the water damage happened 11 years ago. I just haven’t got around to fixing it !!

Recommendations for French brands of paint and primer products welcomed

Thanks, yes….finally

Skim with plaster……heads to YouTube !

That certainly looks like all the loose stuff needs to come off before you do anything.


So many people believe they can plaster having watched youtube :joy:


** shock ***

This is what awaited me on my recent visit - now fixed up and looking better