Do you have a problem with flaky or cracked ceilings? Read on..... - Paintway

cracked ceilings

Problem Ceilings? (Peeling and Flaking Paint)

The most common problem area when it comes to painting is the ceiling. Especially in Bathrooms because of Moisture! Or where we are based here in Toowoomba in the Mountains there can be months of high moisture from being in the Clouds.


There are several problems that can occur on a ceiling to categorise it as a problem area:

Calcimine Paint

Fibros plaster ceilings were originally being painted with calcimine paint.  Calcimine paint came in powdered form.  It was mixed with water then applied to the ceiling.  Once it dried by the water evaporating it left a coat of pigment powder on the surface of the ceiling.  Years later the ceiling would have been recoated using a flat plastic paint which resulted in the calcimine pigments and powders sucking all the binders out of the new plastic paint making them unstable.  Over the years with extra coats being applied to the surface creating extra pressure as well as gravity doing its job causes the paint to flake.

Incorrect application

In the early 80s where gyprock homes were being built to price and with little knowledge of paints the incorrect application was being used.  Painters were applying flat paints straight onto bare gyprock and therefore, the paint was not soaking in like a primer would usually do.  This application process becomes unstable over the years as well as more coats being applied over time creating more pressure on the surface and gravity doing its job the result is a problem ceiling which peels and flakes.


One of the more common issues with problem ceilings is moisture.  There are several reasons why moisture occurs.  Moisture from storm damage can release the coating from any ceiling surface causing peeling or blistering paint.  Also wet areas in the house such as the kitchen, laundry and bathroom can create moisture. For example in a bathroom with lack of ventilation, steam damage can occur to the coating causing it to flake and peel.  Using paint with a higher sheen level may help reduce water absorption which accelerates peeling ceilings.

Style of home

Queensland style homes most commonly have VJ timber ceilings.  When flaking occurs on these types of ceilings it is usually due to new acrylic paint being applied over old enamel paint.  This occurs because acrylic paint is flexible by nature and the enamel coating is rigid.  Therefore over time due to changes in temperature  the different paint properties work against each other resulting in the top layer delaminating. To solve this issue the acrylic coating needs to be completely removed followed by using a general purpose undercoat to stabilise the surface before recoating.

The common theme in the above reasons for problem ceilings is PREPARATION, wrong application and the ceilings history.  Due to these reasons it is hard for the painting of a ceiling to be done at time.  However, no matter how much preparation occurs if the history of the ceiling is problematic it is difficult to treat with a simple paint application.

Movement happens with all homes every 10 years or so…causing joins and cracks to also appear.


Call us today for a free ceiling assessment here:



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