My ceiling from Hell -- Where to Start? Please help!

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Old 09-01-08, 10:34 AM
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Unhappy My ceiling from Hell -- Where to Start? Please help!

Below I'll post some photos of my living room ceiling. There are places where paint is either hanging or has been cut away. The thing is, the peeled paint is very thick, I'm not sure if it's paint afterall, or something more. It seems perhaps what the paint adhered to is what's peeling? I'm so clueless I also don't know what the surface beneath this peeling paint is. What is that? Pardon my idiocy.

I want to paint over these spots, I was figuring I would cut away the hanging paint, spackle the paintless area, then prime and or paint over that. I don't need it to look perfect, I just want to cover the spots.

So, could some kind person tell me if that's paint or more than paint hanging from my ceiling? Any advice to a home-improvement novice/idiot?

Here are the pictures:

Below: this section has given away a bit in the past weeks, the tear has extended. Note that the half-ass repair work (evidenced by the spackle? brushstrokes) was done by the landlord's crew before I moved in... This is the big trouble-area. Note the thickness of the paint, and the brown backside.
<img src=http://i298.photobucket.com/albums/mm280/rogerzeus/IMG_0818.jpg>

Below: here's a close up of that same area, to give you an idea of the thickness of the hanging paint/whatever.
<img src=http://i298.photobucket.com/albums/mm280/rogerzeus/IMG_0817.jpg>

Below: another area of my ceiling, same problem
<img src=http://i298.photobucket.com/albums/mm280/rogerzeus/IMG_0819.jpg>

Below: same spot, enlarged. Note the brownish backside of the peeling section.
<img src=http://i298.photobucket.com/albums/mm280/rogerzeus/IMG_0824.jpg>

Below: one more paintless area that needs fixing. The surface beneath is a bit different textured, perhaps, and might give you a better idea of what exactly it is.
<img src=http://i298.photobucket.com/albums/mm280/rogerzeus/IMG_0821.jpg>

So....

Any ideas? Do I have peeling paint, peeling plaster, or what?

I'll be forever grateful for any advice before I tackle this in my comically inept way.

 
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Old 09-01-08, 04:26 PM
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Welcome to the forums!

I'm not sure if that's a plaster veneer or not, it isn't peeling paint, maybe a skim coat coat gone bad.

I'd scrape off all the loose, coat the affected areas with a solvent based primer [just in case] and then skim those areas with joint compound.

Does he landlord know you plan to fix this? is he ok with that? can you get any credit on your rent if you do a good job?
 
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Old 09-01-08, 08:08 PM
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Is that ceiling supposed to be smooth or textured? If it is textured, the only fix is to pretty much remove ALL the failing texture, and then have a pro re-do it. I just don't see a 1st-time DIY job blending in to existing texture.

It is odd that whatever is falling off is coming off in kind of stiff sheets... it's not at all what I would expect with paint (either flexible or small chips), or failing joint compound (not strong enough to form sheets.) My best guess is some kind wallpaper with texture slathered on top... it looks like there are seams of some sort.

If this were a house I were renting, I would be letting the landlord deal with it. All of that loose stuff just has to come down and a new surface put up. No amount of gluing is going to fix it.

How old is this house? If it is from the lead-paint era, it's time to find a new place to live unless you REALLY trust whoever your landlord hires.

SirWired
 
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Old 09-01-08, 09:42 PM
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Originally Posted by marksr View Post
Welcome to the forums!

I'm not sure if that's a plaster veneer or not, it isn't peeling paint, maybe a skim coat coat gone bad.

I'd scrape off all the loose, coat the affected areas with a solvent based primer [just in case] and then skim those areas with joint compound.

Does he landlord know you plan to fix this? is he ok with that? can you get any credit on your rent if you do a good job?
Thanks for the reply! Glad I'm not the only one who doesn't know exactly what that is up there on my ceiling... The thing is, I rent this apartment, and for a very good (cheap) price. I generally fix everything on my own, figuring for the price I can do what I can on my own. I bug my landlord as little as possible.

So.. I'd like to try to tackle this on my own, at least give it a try.
 
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Old 09-01-08, 09:52 PM
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weird stuff

When I was a kid my dad had a bunch of rent houses, he used that stuff to cover up when people tore up the walls & stuff. I don't know what it is called but I'm telling you, you aren't gonna be able to do anything with it. the glue under it gets brittle & it just falls (never seen anybody put it on a celling) even if you cover some spots the glue is just to old & it's gonna keep coming down in other places.
Scrape it ALL off (cheap) use a roller and thinned out plaster to then go over it then paint. GOOD LUCK
.
 
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Old 09-01-08, 09:54 PM
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Originally Posted by sirwired View Post
Is that ceiling supposed to be smooth or textured? If it is textured, the only fix is to pretty much remove ALL the failing texture, and then have a pro re-do it. I just don't see a 1st-time DIY job blending in to existing texture.

It is odd that whatever is falling off is coming off in kind of stiff sheets... it's not at all what I would expect with paint (either flexible or small chips), or failing joint compound (not strong enough to form sheets.) My best guess is some kind wallpaper with texture slathered on top... it looks like there are seams of some sort.

If this were a house I were renting, I would be letting the landlord deal with it. All of that loose stuff just has to come down and a new surface put up. No amount of gluing is going to fix it.

How old is this house? If it is from the lead-paint era, it's time to find a new place to live unless you REALLY trust whoever your landlord hires.

SirWired
This is a 1920s era apartment, not sure when that ceiling went up. As mentioned above, it's a cheaply priced apartment, so I try to tend to it myself, though I've so far failed with the ceiling!

It seems to be a smooth texture beneath all that peeling/hanging whatever.

Also, there are seams visible. It looks like whatever it was that they laid up there is in 18 inch side strips, each is the same width, and they go from wall to wall. The only good news is that almost 2/3 of the ceiling is not effected, it seems they somehow used inferior product on the back third of the room, or laid it improperly or whatever...

I don't need it to look pretty, but I do want to cover it up, so I'm still thinking I might give it a shot before I call the landlord.

Does this new info give you any further ideas?

Thanks very much !
 
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Old 09-01-08, 10:17 PM
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One final post before I hit the bed. I just pulled down a piece of the peeling, stiff, whatever is on my ceiling and took a few pics.

Both pics are of the underside. There is paint on the side I didn't photograph.

<img src=http://i298.photobucket.com/albums/mm280/rogerzeus/IMG_0829.jpg>

<img src=http://i298.photobucket.com/albums/mm280/rogerzeus/IMG_0832.jpg>

It seems to be glue on the underside, so whatever that is was apparently glued to whatever smooth wood-like surface makes up my ceiling. As it peeled, so does the paint, as the previous poster suggested. The second photo is just a close up to show the texture and maybe help solve the riddle of what this is.

Again, thanks to the last poster. But is it even possible/correct to paint on the smooth surface that makes up my ceiling beneath this peeling paint?

I'm hitting the bed, will check back tomorrow!
 
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Old 09-02-08, 05:55 AM
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They used to use a plaster lath and that sounds like what you may have. Obviously you will need to remove all the loose. Be sure to cean up and contain all the debris since it's likely some of the paint contains lead.

I usually repair plaster with a setting compound like durabond and you will have to use some type of compound before painting so you will have a decent looking repair.

Hopefully one of our plaster guys will chime in later.
 
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Old 09-08-08, 09:21 PM
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you probably have a re-felted ceiling. oftentimes, homes with plaster ceilings would begin to show serious cracking after 20-30 years. one solution was to use a finishing felt that is glued to the ceiling. sometimes it was plastered over, and othertimes not. I would almost guarantee that is what you have here. This is a major repair project!!! this isn't something you will be able to accomplish on a weekend or for little expense. felt was almost always applied when the ceiling had already begun to crack and become unsound, and they haven't been doing felt for at least 30 years!! chances are that the entire ceiling is unsound and needs serious repair or replaced.
 
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Old 09-08-08, 09:43 PM
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If this is the case (30-yr-old felt), and that plaster has been painted, I'd just find a new place to live. That stuff is just screaming "lead contamination." Unless there is some magical way to remove it without chips or dust, this is NOT a DIY project.

SirWired
 
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Old 09-08-08, 10:21 PM
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sirwired was absolutely right about the lead paint issues, and i should have said something about it. long story short, there are no band-aids you can apply to that ceiling. it has probably out lived its useful life.
 
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Old 09-20-08, 05:10 PM
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This is exactly what happened to me.

Mine was caused when the roofers were tearing off my old roof down to the rafters and it rained pretty hard very suddenly. For the next YEAR, the paint peeled off of the ceiling inside where the water was. My ceiling was a 1929 plaster and lathe ceiling. Only way to solve it was that finally things dried out and we scraped and primed and painted...
 
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Old 10-15-08, 04:17 AM
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Me too ..Ughhh

We have just completed a major bathroom renovation. The paint in the bathroom looked very similar to some of your pictures, especially closer to the shower area - large hard, thick flakes of "paint". It is plaster/lath construction. The under-surface looked sound, so we scraped any loose sections, and filled with compound.

We used a professional painter. He primed the area, and used a ceiling latex. It bubbled. We scraped and filled again, then primed. He then put on a lacquer to seal the repaired surface before the latex ceiling paint. Now, 2 weeks later, the paint is starting to crack again. Every time it is in a new place.

Can anyone tell me what to do? Can/does it need to be stripped? Can I repair and seal the entire ceiling? Above this is an attick, so removal and reinstallation will be VERY messy.

Thank you.
 
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Old 10-15-08, 12:43 PM
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Is just the paint peeling/bubbling? or is it the underlying plaster or joint compound?

I assume your painter used a pigmented shellac sealer/primer and not lacquer.
 
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Old 10-15-08, 01:33 PM
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Right now, it is just my new paint that is starting to bubble and crack. It just started to do this, and nothing has come right off (yet). I have avoided digging at it so far.

Yes, I think you are right. The painter used a shellac. My mistake. Not sure if it was pigmented or just clear. It seems like the bubbling is always at the edge. Maybe one more repair, and shellac the entire ceiling to seal the whole thing????
 
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Old 10-15-08, 01:42 PM
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Could you supply a pic?

use a free site like www.photobucket.com
 
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Old 10-15-08, 03:59 PM
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Photos of paint problem

Thank you for your interest, and help.
It is hard to get a good picture, but I think this shows the newly developing problem. You can see the pictures at:

http://www.facebook.com/album.php?ai...a&id=511697500
 
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Old 10-16-08, 04:04 AM
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Thanks for the pics

I'm not sure on the cause but it might be the use of flat paint instead of a latex enamel. Enamel will help to repel moisture while flat latex may allow the underlying drywall/plaster to obsorb the moisture.

Obviously you will need to scrape off anything that is loose and make the area level with joint compound. Too keep the repair from showing you need to thin down a little j/c to a little thicker than paint, for texture. You can apply it with a sponge. If the texture dries to heavy, you can sand it down and then retexture using thinner j/c.

I don't think you would need to seal the whole ceiling with pigmented shellac primer [but it won't hurt] but the repairs will need to be primed [latex primer is ok] I think the main thing is to apply 1-2 coats of latex enamel over the entire ceiling - any sheen is fine.

Use of an exhaust fan or other means to remove shower steam should also help.
 
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Old 10-16-08, 04:18 AM
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Thank you Mark,
This sounds like a pretty simple fix. I will definitely give that a try before ripping the whole thing down. If the problem re-developes, I will post here again.
 
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