How to Fix Peeling Paint on the Ceiling

Humidity really is a homeowner’s biggest enemy. It creates mold, makes your hair frizzy, and can cause your ceiling paint to peel and flake. 

Humidity isn’t the only cause for peeling ceiling paint, but it is one of the biggest contributors with bathrooms being the main spot with peeling paint.

The moisture from showers and baths rises into the ceiling and builds up behind the paint. Over time, the paint begins to peel, leaving you with an unappealing room in your house. 

In this post, we will go over how you can fix the peeling paint on your ceiling along with some ways to prevent the paint from peeling again. 

Why is it Important to Fix Peeling Ceiling Paint?

Peeling paint is important to fix no matter where it is located. In some cases, peeling paint can be dangerous.

First, peeling ceiling paint is important to fix in your bathroom to prevent further humidity damage.

Oftentimes, the peeling paint in your bathroom is caused by humidity build-up in your walls or ceiling that pushes the paint from the wall.

However, if you don’t repair this part of your ceiling, that humidity will soak into the ceiling and can cause it to being to rot. 

A rotting ceiling is much more expensive and difficult to repair than some peeling paint. 

In older houses, the paint on the walls and ceilings contains lead, which is highly toxic to ingest. However, kids don’t understand this yet.

When your ceiling paint begins to peel, pieces of that paint can break away from the wall and fall to the ground. A curious child or pet may then eat that paint piece, ingesting the toxic materials in it. 

Finally, peeling paint simply doesn’t look good. It makes even the nicest of rooms look run down and neglected. To keep your house looking nice, you will want to fix the peeling paint. 

How to Fix Peeling Paint on the Ceiling – A Step-By-Step Guide

Luckily, fixing peeling paint on the ceiling isn’t a challenging task!

With the right materials and by following the method below, your ceiling will be fixed up in no time. 

Gather Materials

Before you start, there are a few materials that you will need. Here is everything necessary for fixing the peeling paint on your ceiling:

  • Putty knife (or any flat scrapping tool)
  • Sandpaper
  • Flat finish acrylic paint
  • Patching compound
  • Primer
  • Waterproof paint sealant
  • Safety tools
  • Paintbrush/paint roller

Safety First

safety first

When you are sanding anything and using harsher chemicals, you need to practice proper safety precautions.

During this home project, wear safety goggles and a dust mask. This will protect your eyes and respiratory system from the dust when you sand down the ceiling.

Wear gloves and cover yourself with an apron or other covering to protect yourself against compound and paint. 

You will also need to make sure you are in a well-ventilated area. Open all windows and keep doors open. If you need more ventilation, turn on a fan to push the fumes out of the room. 

If you are concerned about getting paint on any furniture, make sure to place a tarp down first so the paint will drip on that and not your furniture.

Scrape and Sand

Now that you are ready and have implemented all safety procedures, you will want to start by removing the peeling paint from the ceiling. Use your putty knife or scraping tool to remove the excess paint. 

Prevent yourself from removing more paint than necessary by using a sharp corner of the knife and cutting the paint off from where the peeled spot ends. 

Once you have removed all of the already peeled paint, you will want to start sanding down the edges.

Using your sandpaper remove the bumps from the ceiling left over from the peeling paint. This will give you an even surface that will not show any lines in the ceiling once you put new paint on it. 

scrape and sand

Make sure to remove the dust left over on the ceiling. This can be done with a paintbrush or another kind of soft brush.

Patch the Ceiling

If you have any holes in your ceiling from paint ripping off some of the ceiling, now is the time to patch them up using your patching compound. 

Apply an even layer of compound to all the necessary spots and allow it to completely dry. Sand down your ceiling again to make sure everything is completely even. 

Prime Your Ceiling

With a flat and even ceiling, you can finally start to process of getting your ceiling ready for new paint. An oil-based primer is best for the ceilings in your house. 

Apply an even coating of paint primer with your paintbrush or roller and allow the ceiling to completely dry. Clean up your brush or roller in the meantime.

You should only need one coat of primer, however, follow the instructions of your specific primer for the best results. 

Get to Painting

Finally, it is time to add a new layer of paint to replace what had peeled away.

Get to painting

Hopefully, you chose a paint that matched the color that was already on your ceiling, so you only need to focus on that spot. Most ceilings in houses are white, so getting a close or exact match shouldn’t be difficult. 

Apply an even coat of your flat finish acrylic paint to your ceiling. Start in the middle of the missing patches and feather the brush outward to allow the new paint to blend with the old paint.

If you are using a paint roller, simply cover the entire area with new paint. Use a paintbrush to blend the edges if necessary. 

Ceilings are the one area in your house where you will want to err on the side of caution of adding too much paint.

Keep your paint layer thin, just enough to cover the patches, and make the area look clean.

If another layer is completely necessary, go ahead. However, too much paint can increase the chances of peeling again, especially in bathrooms. 

Allow the Paint to Completely Dry

You should allow the paint on your ceiling to completely dry. Don’t use the bathroom for any reason that would cause steam to build up for 24 hours. Adding any kind of humidity too early will prevent the paint from setting right. 

For 24 hours, don’t shower or take a bath using that bathroom. This only applies to fixing peeling paint in bathroom ceilings.

For other rooms, avoid producing smoke or anything that can float through the air and get in between the paint and ceiling. 

Add a Waterproof Sealant (for Bathrooms)

You can buy a waterproof sealant that will keep water from getting underneath the paint.

For bathroom ceilings that have peeling paint, this is a great way to prevent the paint from peeling again. These ceilings will come in either liquid form that you will paint on like another layer of paint or as a spray. Both of these options will work great for protecting your bathroom ceiling. 

Again, allow the sealant to completely dry before producing steam in the bathroom. 

Clean Up

Don’t forget to clean up your space!

Remove any tarps that you have placed down and clean your painting tools. Sweep or vacuum up the dust created by sanding the ceiling and toss out the paint chips from the ceiling. 

Prevent Humidity from Building Up

With humidity being the biggest contributor to paint peeling in bathrooms, kitchens, and some other rooms in your house, keeping your house dryer is how you prevent peeling paint. 

If you live in an area that gets very humid, we recommend getting a dehumidifier for your house to remove the extra humidity from the air.

You can also air out your house by opening up all the windows to allow the humidity to float out. 

We aren’t going to tell you to give up your hot showers, but we do recommend keeping your bathroom fan on while you shower and then until all the steam is gone from the bathroom. This will remove humidity quicker so less gets trapped in the ceiling behind the paint. 

For your kitchen, keep your fan on while boiling water or cooking anything that creates steam.

All of these tricks will keep the paint on your ceiling from peeling quickly. That way, you won’t have to go through this whole process again. 

Courtesy of Billshowto

Editor’s Note: Remember, these are general guidelines, and it’s always advisable to consult with a professional if you have specific concerns or unique circumstances related to your ceiling paint issues.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why is the paint on my ceiling peeling?

Peeling paint on the ceiling can be caused by factors such as moisture damage, poor surface preparation, low-quality paint, or excessive heat.

Should I remove all the old paint before applying a new coat?

It’s best to remove as much of the old, peeling paint as possible to create a solid foundation.

However, if the remaining paint is well-adhered and in good condition, you can consider feathering the edges and applying an appropriate primer before repainting.

Can I simply paint over the peeling paint on the ceiling?

It’s generally not recommended to paint over peeling paint. It’s crucial to address the underlying issue causing the peeling and properly prepare the surface before repainting.

What techniques can I use to repair larger sections of peeling paint?

For larger sections, remove the peeling paint, sand the edges, apply a primer, and repaint the entire affected area. Feather the edges of the new paint to blend it with the rest of the ceiling.

Can I use the same paint for touch-ups or do I need a different type?

It’s best to use the same type and color of paint for touch-ups to maintain consistency. However, if the original paint is not available, take a sample to a paint store for color matching.

Final Thoughts 

A peeling ceiling is not a pretty sight to have no matter what room it is happening in.

When your paint starts to peel, we recommend fixing it using the above method as soon as possible. The sooner you fix the ceiling, the less damage you will have overall. 

Fixing your peeling ceiling is an easy process, it just takes time to allow everything to completely dry. 

If you enjoyed reading this post and feel confident that you can make your ceiling look great again, let us know in the comments and tell us which room you are fixing.

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