So after successfully painting bedroom number 2 (known as the Yeti Room - it's all white...like a Yeti?!) from top to bottom, I wasted no time in moving over to bedroom number 1, the smallest of the three bedrooms. Bedroom number 1 is the Blue Room, or as I have now declared it the Blue Room from HELL. The HELL room, although the smallest, has been the most work so far. The room just seemed to emit dirt, and there was no shortage of black dog hairs painted into the trim. The walls were a very heavy and semi-glossy blue with lots of lumps and bumps which required sanding, 3 coats of primer and 3 coats of paint-primer in one. The ceiling also needed a refresher, as there were dirty patches, scuff marks and other little spots that I couldn't live with. Painting the ceiling in the Yeti room was my first ceiling painting experience and it went incredibly well, it was completely done in two days (one coat per day). I never imagined the Blue Room from HELL would be any different...I was so wrong!
This is the Blue Room from HELL on home inspection day - not our baby furniture/decor. The blue is darker than it looks in this photo. (Side note: one of the red rugs was strategically placed to cover a missing chunk of hardwood floor).
I was only half way into painting the first coat on the ceiling in HELL room when I noticed a strip of paint literally peeled off the ceiling and stuck to the roller. Initially I thought I perhaps hit one of the hairline cracks in the ceiling with too much paint on the roller. I moved away from that patchy spot and kept going on the rest of the ceiling. Shortly after, the edges of the wonky patch started to curl and droop and a few other patches around hairline cracks started to peel away. I stopped what I was doing, packed up for the day and let the paint dry out. I cut away at the pieces that were hanging down, sanded the edges smooth and figured all I needed was to plaster in the wonky bits, sand and paint over the smooth, clean surface.
The sanding/filling process took longer than expected because there was a full week of rain and the house was a bit too damp to mess with...I also had a sore back/neck/shoulder situation happening (which has not gone away), so I figured I would give the room a break - frustrating since I had expected to have the room complete long ago! Today I got back to it, the ceiling was sanded smooth and ready to go. I had painted nearly the entire ceiling when it happened....again! Only this time it seems to be worse, the peeling patch is far bigger.
This is a piece of paint that just peeled away from the plaster ceiling.
I have done some Googling to try and figure out what is up and I think I have found it...I don't want this to be true, because it will result in even more work to correct, and may be an issue in the other rooms of the house...but the culprit may be something called calcimine paint (say in scary voice). It seems calcimine paint was used frequently in older homes (we are talking early 1900's), it was a fast, cheap and easy way to give a fresh clean surface to plaster ceilings and walls. The calcimine paint did not have much in the way of binders, and over time the paint just fails, chipping and peeling away. Trying to paint over a surface that has a calcimine base with new latex paint just makes things worse, the weight and dampness of the new paint just pulls the base paint down. I still don't want this to be true, but I see no other reason for this issue or any evidence of something else like a leak in the roof. It seems the two options I have are to strip the entire ceiling or just do a patch treatment in the bad/peeling areas. Either way the process involves getting rid of the calcimine layer (scraping/sanding/using a special wash etc.), prepping the ceiling with a calcimine coater or oil based primer, and filling in any uneven areas with a non-water based filler, then painting. Since HELL room has already eaten up more time than I expected, I will just have to power through. Another trip to Home Depot to see if I can get what I need and away I go. Fingers crossed the issue can be resolved easily and soon! The dining room is next on the schedule, but since the ceiling in that room already looks questionable, I have a feeling I am in for even more calcimine ceiling paint nightmares. I knew there would be surprises with an old house, but this one came at me out of no where - painting should be the easy part, right?!