Sign In to join the community | Help

dealing with cracking ceiling paint problem....

I have had problems with cracks developing in my ceiling paint.  When we moved into our house we re-painted the ceilings and walls in the living room, and I noticed as we applied the ceiling paint there were chips or sections which appeared to delaminate from the original paint surface.  We waited for those sections to dry and then attempted to re-surface the delaminated chips with spackling paste, which we then sanded smooth when dry before applying the paint again.  Years later there are sections in the ceiling where cracks have developed and subsequently it appears those cracked areas are actually spots where the undercoats are separating, making, once again, sections where the paint is chipping.  I tried to scarp those cracked and peeling areas, and this time scrubbed the undercoat and attempted to sand the edges.  It looked like we had it beat, but after a few weeks the edges which we sanded smooth are now showing signs that the paint layer is still delaminating, making me wonder what the heck is underneath!


Can anyone who might have experienced similar problems with paint cracking/delaminating suggest what is causing this problem and what solutions might be available (short of replacing the ceiling itself!).  Thanks!


Not what you were looking for ? Try posting a question
Posted 2012-06-07T23:03:56+0000  by jimkrauzlis jimkrauzlis


Hi Jimkrauzlis,

Peeling paint is one of the great thorns in the side of a homeowner. It often requires major work to resolve and always makes me wonder what I did wrong when it happens.

In the case of your ceiling several issues could be at hand. Moisture is often the cause of paint failure.

An improperly insulated attic can trap moisture between the insulation and the ceiling causing it to migrate into the ceiling and cause the paint to fail.

Check your attic insulation, is the vapor barrier facing down against the ceiling or up towards the roof? It should be facing down.


Installing an attic fan can also help reduce attic moisture.

Another common problem is incompatible paint. Applying oil based paint over latex will guarantee peeling paint sooner or later.


Latex paint is porous and will allow moisture to move through it, oil based paint does not, the moisture is trapped and the paint peels.

Surface preparation is another issue often overlooked. Any loose or peeling paint must be removed and the surface properly prepped to assure a good long lasting paint job.


Old chalking paint must be sanded away or sealed before a new finish is applied.

When you purchase a home you are left in the dark as to what paint was used prior to your arrival.


If you’re unsure use a latex paint, it can be applied over a well prepared surface successfully with few worries about pealing.

Make sure you locate and solve the moisture problem, before repainting the ceiling. Once that is corrected, scrape and sand the ceiling down to a solid surface making sure all the loose paint is removed.


Then use a good quality primer such as Behr Stain Blocking Primer and Sealer and a good quality ceiling paint such as Behr Premium Plus Ceiling Paint and your peeling paint issues will just be a bad memory!

Good Luck with Your Project!




Posted 2012-06-08T00:32:40+0000  by Mike_HD_OC




Just a couple questions of clarification which might elicit an educated guess:


- Is the cracking/peeling to a former layer of paint or to bare plaster or drywall? If the cracking is to a former layer of  

  paint  which still appears sound, you have adhesion problems. If it is paint, is it glossy?


  Whether glossy paint or bared plaster or drywall, you will want to prime with a 100% acrylic primer before patching.

  This will profide incresed adhesion. I  prefer patching with drywall mud or easy sand "hot" mud due to its superior 

  adhesion and sandability vs. pre-mixed patching compounds.. After patching,   prime once again.


- Are the walls drywall or plaster? I have often seen moisture break the bond of paint  to the slick surface of plaster.

  Likewise, I have seen paint jobs over drywall mud fail to adhere because the drywall dust was either not removed

  before painting, or a primer was not used before painting over that dust. This was also a nightmare scenario for

  anyone who tried to wallpaper over the loosely bonded paint! The drying wallpaper paste would pull the poorly

  adhered paint right off the wall, where it could be seen firmly attached to the back of the wallpaper.


  Here too, you have to get down to what appears to be sound paint, drywall or plaster and get a good 100% acrylic

  primer on it before patching and painting.

Posted 2012-06-08T06:30:28+0000  by ordjen
Not what you were looking for ? Try posting a question