Bathroom Ceiling Painting Fail!


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Old 02-12-10, 07:15 PM
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Bathroom Ceiling Painting Fail!

So, back in the spring/summer of 2007, I remodeled our bathroom (new fixtures, new tub, etc.). I had to install a new ceiling fan over the tub area and repainted the ceiling. Now, the ceiling in the room has two levels (or heights). The ceiling is 8' for 2/3 of the room (around sink / toilet), and it is 7' above the tub area. About 6 months after the remodel, the ceiling over the tub started to pickle (my word). basically little bumps started to appear, then they would break open and you could see the dry joint compound from the repair work I did.

My thought is that the primer failed. Anyhow, I left for a long time. flash to last month. In early Jan, I scraped all the bad spots, sanded and applied JC. Then primed using KILZ premium primer (2 coats), followed by 2 coats of a Matte finish Bathroom Ceiling paint by Ace.

All was well for about 2 weeks, now I am seeing small bumps showing up on the ceiling, which I am sure will turn into large bumps, then they will break open as before.

What the heck is going wrong with this ceiling? I am thinking of several causes....
1. Bad primer? I used Kilz regular the 1st time, and Kilz Premium the 2nd time.
2. Bad paint? the paint in question was a dedicated Bathroom ceiling paint. Thinking that in the future, we will go to a dedicated paint store and buy our paint (no more ACE or Lowes).
3. The problem is coming from high humidity in the room? I replaced the existing ceiling exhaust fan, with a new one, with an extra 25 cfm of exhaust airflow.

Typically, after a shower, there is moisture on the ceiling, but it is usually gone after about 5 minutes.

Any other thoughts out there?
 
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Old 02-12-10, 08:03 PM
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Is the exhaust fan vented to outside of the house or into the attic?
 
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Old 02-13-10, 05:10 AM
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The original oil base kilz should have done a better job than the latex kilz. When you finished the ceiling, did you remove all the sanding dust before you primed?

The lower ceiling over the shower complicates the problem. How far from that ceiling is the exhaust fan? are you saying that ceiling is dry within 5 minutes?

I'm not overly familiar with the coatings you used [kilzII and Ace] although kilzII has been reported to have adhesion issues. I never use latex kilz because it's a poor stain sealer and there are better primer options available. The matte finish might also be an issue although I assume it is a latex enamel. A satin or semi-gloss enamel might repel the water better. Zinnser's Perma White is one of the better bath room enamels although I usually use one of the latex enamels stocked at my local SWP store. Most any paint store will have a better selection of quality coatings than a big box paint dept.
 
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Old 02-13-10, 07:10 AM
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Yes, the ceiling was wiped (vacuumed and wiped) prior to the priming.

Yes, the fan exhausts to the outside, though it is a little long of a duct run, maybe 10' and I am a bit worried that the fan does not have enough static to push the air out with enough force. That being said, I may change the vent location in the spring. The fan is a light fan combo and is roughly 1' from the tub.

As for the wetness and drying time, I should say that the ceiling is dry in about 5 minutes when I take a shower (maybe 10 minutes). It takes up to 15 minutes to dry when my wife takes a shower (20-25 minutes).

The more reading I do, tells me the paint choice was wrong, although the initial problem I can point to the Kilz, since the blisters had formed and cracked open to reveal the JC. Even though the paint was supposedly a dedicated paint for bathroom useage (of course, I can not find it now!)
 
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Old 02-13-10, 09:33 AM
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How is the ceiling vent switched? Many times vents are put on a timer so that it can run for about ten minutes even after everyone is done showering. I have the two level ceiling thing going on as well, and used pretty much the same type of paint. I don't have any issues with moisture causing paint damage, even though my fan vents to the attic.
I don't immediatly recognize the length of your vent duct to be an issue either. Once pressure sets up, air gets going. Maybe you can snuff out a few matches near your vent if you'd like to check out the air draw.
 
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Old 02-13-10, 11:04 AM
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Mine is wired to a basic switch. I run it for maybe 10 minutes, yet my wife will let it run for 45 minutes.
 
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Old 02-15-10, 12:17 PM
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High humidity is the cause of the problem for sure.

The little pickle-like bumps are what I would describe as surface tension blisters caused by the paint and primer becoming saturated with the warm water vapor over the top of a softened drywall compound.

Drywall compounds are like "mud", in that they are rewettable even after they have dried. You can dissolve them with a wet sponge for example, even after they have dried.

Spackle, on the other hand, is usually not rewettable. Once spackle dries - it will not dissolve with water.

Latex paints are porous. Water vapor can pass through the film. Flat latex paints are VERY porous. You should never use a flat latex in a steamy bathroom. Use a "bathroom" paint that forms a tighter film.

You say that you used Kilz "regular" primer- do you mean Kilz (oil) "original"?

Oil primer is the best primer for sealing out moisture from the drywall compound and repairs in this situation. You will probably have to do a few coats for a better seal. The compound must be sealed well or it will soften when wetted, and the tension of the expanding and shrinking paint with saturation and drying out will pull little blisters (if you look at the underside of the blisters, there is probably traces of drywall compound on them) as the paint pulls on the weak drywall compound.
 

Last edited by Slatz; 02-15-10 at 12:41 PM.
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Old 02-28-10, 10:51 AM
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Kilz vs. B.I.N.

Used Kilz orig (latex) and Premium (latex, but suited for wet areas, poor results), the 1st and 2nd time (respectively).

Went to a Sherwin Williams store the other day and told my story. He said that I sounded like a repeat story of not only his own experience, but similar to several other people over the last few years.

His orig thought was that the companies made changes to the products...BUT, he also said that on his bathroom, he used B.I.N. (oil based) and now 2 years later, it is still holding up.

I bought a quart and intend to give it a shot soon. I will keep everyone posted.
 
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Old 02-28-10, 10:59 AM
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BIN is an excellent primer but it does have a strong odor! Do you have a window in the bath room you can open? or some other way of getting fresh air ventilation?
 
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Old 02-28-10, 11:04 AM
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BIN is shellac. In a wet environment as this situation, with temperature fluctuations, you would do better with oil (Coverstain).

Coverstain is an interior/exterior primer, with the ability to flex with exterior temperature changes and the high humidity that exteriors are exposed to. Oil will wet the drywall compound and penetrate better for a better anchor into the compound.
 
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Old 03-07-10, 06:04 PM
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When to Paint

So, I intend to go forward with an oil based primer, then a semi-gloss paint. Question is when do I do it. the previous paint failure occurred roughly 6 months after application, and slowly got worse before becoming somewhat static. I would say there was no change in the last 6 months before I repaired and repainted. NOW, with the new paint applied, the failure started almost immediately, and it getting worse daily. One thought I have is to just leave the ceiling as-is for a few months, let the the existing paint / primer failure become static, then repair / repaint. My fear is that if I just fix the failed areas I see now, then prime & repaint, I will just be putting a band-aid on it, since I am sure that are still some areas where the adhesion is bad, but has not yet show itself.

Thoughts?
 
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Old 03-08-10, 04:42 AM
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That's a tough decision The oil primer [after removing all the loose] might lock the paint down BUT if the the existing paint is prone to failure, it might take the new with it. Can you handle not repairing and painting for 6 months?
 
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Old 03-08-10, 09:23 AM
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Easy

I lived with the last failure for quite awhile, and so far, the latest is almost unnoticeable so it should be quite easy!
 
 

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