A Peelin’ Ceiling No More!

The act of painting a ceiling in the worst. I take that back.

The act of sanding down a ceiling is the worst.

The spackle dust falls all over your face. It gets into your ears and pores. And there is no way to avoid it, because the only way to reach the ceiling with your sanding block is to stand on a ladder directly underneath the spackle snow. Actually, “snow” is too kind. Spackle dandruff is more like it.

I last posted about my hallway here, where I had finally painted the walls but neglected to paint our peeling, finicky ceiling.

When we installed our kitchen recessed lighting, we installed three in the upstairs hallway and one in our upstairs bath. We also removed the one ceiling light not-so-smack-dab-in-the-center of the hallway.

First I scraped down as much of the flaking ceilings as possible with a metal scraper.

Then I thinly spackled all the ridges to level out the ceiling surface with the surrounding area. The less excess spackle you use, the less you will need to sand.

I’ve used a number of different spackle brands during our renovations, but this SheetRock Joint Compound easily takes the cake as my favorite. It’s thick and gloppy, so it stays on your “spackle brush” (or scraper), unlike the lighter and airier ones, which can be more foam-like. It spread very easily and didn’t dry out during application.

And while the “dust control” feature doesn’t work miracles, I think it was a bit better than some others I’ve used.

After the spackle had 24 hours to dry, I started the sanding process.

I like to wear a face mask and work goggles while sanding ceilings. Otherwise you end up with plaster dust up your nose and in your eyelashes. I also like to wear a hat, because spackle powder in your hair can be hard to wash out completely.

As you can see, I don’t bother putting down drop clothes. Instead, I keep our Shop-Vac close by and use it regularly. (Don’t use a regular vacuum, you will ruin your filter.)

Next was painting. We use Valspar Ultra White Flat ceiling paint. We bought the 5 gallon bucket last summer and are just hitting the bottom of it now!

I have no ceiling painting secrets. Sorry. It’s a pain(t), but so worth it.

In a few spots, the new paint started to fall off in peeling areas I missed.

This was due to the extra weight on paint flakes that weren’t adhered to the wall. Don’t freak out if this happens.

The next day I scraped the flakes off, re-spackled and re-painted. This is why it’s important to scrape off all the loose pieces. Painting over them will not make them magically re-adhere to the wall.

That blue square is where the old ceiling light was.

And here is a good ole before and after shot.

Again, we painted the walls Martha Stewart’s Rice Paper, removed the old ceiling light and installed recessed lighting.

And what you see on the wall over there is an in-process subway art project taped to the wall with painter’s tape.

Just ignore that for now. Once I actually finish it I’ll post on it. So in a few months. : D

I bought this vintage poster at my favorite store in Gloucester, MA.

Key things to remember when dealing with a peeling or cracked ceiling:

1. Scrape. Scrape. Scrape. Use a metal scraper not a plastic one.

2. If you have lead paint concerns, do NOT sand. Research properly.

3. Find a spackle that works for you.

4. Sand first with a sanding block to get it flush with the ceiling. Finish sanding without a block to sand down any last nicks or ridges.

5. After you paint, you can always touch up with spackle and paint.

Have you had to deal with peeling paint before?

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