How to fix peeling paint on ceilings

Wednesday, March 28, 2012
Mitre 10 MEGA
(Thinkstock Images)

I have old plaster ceilings. The existing paint is peeling in big flakes and I’m not sure what the best way to fix this is? Can I get some advice?

If the ceiling is fibrous plaster, scrape all the paint off, using paint stripper and a scrapper. We would suggest using Selleys Kwik Strip Smart as this is a non-caustic paint stripper and more of a gel formulation making application a little easier and safer. If any small areas of damage are found, possibly from scraping too hard, apply GIB Plus 4® or GIB Trade Finish® Multi with a broad knife to repair. It is easy to apply and to sand smooth and will act as a filler to fix the dent or mark. Alternatively, if the remaining surface is sound, we would recommend skimming with Polyfilla Skim Coat. This is extremely easy to apply and sand back and fills fine imperfections.

Check the back of the board (if a ceiling cavity) to ensure it is not damp (it is a good idea to check insulation for dampness too). If you find dampness, find the source of water and have it professionally repaired. It’s important to check to ensure no moisture is soaking into the board, which can cause localised issues with paint adhesion.

Once you are ready to paint, seal the surface to be painted with an oil based pigmented sealer to ensure good adhesion of the next coat of paint. Use acrylic paints for the rest of the job.

If the ceiling is plaster board (GIB® plasterboard) follow the above steps. However, the paint will probably be much more difficult to remove, resulting in damage to the paper surface of the board. If damage is significant, a skim coat of an air drying compound such as GIB Plus 4® or GIB Trade Finish® Lite can be used to repair the damage.

Remember health and safety. If you choose to undertake the job yourself, consider that very old interior paint systems can contain lead, which was used as filler in the paint. As lead is a heavy metal that can have negative impacts on the body be sure to use face masks of an appropriate grade to ensure lead particles are not inhaled. Also, remember to think about the job with regards to safe access, and other potential safety issues, and acquire the appropriate gear before starting. Alternatively, seek the services of a professional who is familiar with the health and safety aspects of the job.

If you need DIY, gardening, renovating, decorating or product advice, send your question in and we will get it answered in this column as soon as possible.

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