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Painting tin ceilings

Post in 'DIY and General non-hearth advice' started by BrownianHeatingTech, Dec 11, 2007.

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  1. BrownianHeatingTech

    BrownianHeatingTech Minister of Fire

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    One of my tin ceilings is shedding paint like crazy. So, it definitely needs to be repainted.

    Step one: how to I remove the old paint without damaging the ceiling? Not exactly something I can take a sander to, like a flat ceiling...

    Step two: what do I paint it with, after I get it stripped? Preferably something without lots of volatiles, since it's winter and I can't leave the window open. I have a good air purification system, but it's not perfect...

    Thanks,
    Joe

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  2. pegdot

    pegdot New Member

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    Hey, Joe. Is this an old tin ceiling or a newer reproduction type? I'm asking because if it's old there's more than likely lead based paint on it. I'm not going to give you a lecture on the hazards involved with trying to remove that type of paint yourself other than to say that it's not the best idea especially if you have kids in the house. If you have any doubts get a test kit and check it before you dive in.

    If the paint is flaking off that badly removing it may not take much more than a wire brush and possibly some stripper in the grooves. Foam sanding blocks, steelwool, or scothbrite pads would likely do the job as well. Avoid anything with a harsh abrasive, like lower grit sandpapers, or you'll have visible scratches in your finish. Test it in an inconspicous spot but I think you could get away with 180 or 200 grit without maring it if you had to. A heat gun is certainly an option as well but the smell can be a bother inside. It might take a little experimenting to see what works best. It just all depends on the type of paint and the number of layers.

    Oil based enamel will give you the best finish but since it's winter the fumes might be more than you want to put up with. I'd probably avoid the oils unless it's in a kitchen or bath. A good coat of primer, like Kilz, and a quality latex interior paint will do the job. When painting a nonporous surface with latex I like to nearly double the drying times between coats just to be sure.

    Just my opinon, but a satin finish on those ceilings looks worlds better than a flat finish.

    Good luck!
  3. Eric Johnson

    Eric Johnson Mod Emeritus

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    You might try spraying denatured alcohol on there with a mister and see if it softens the old paint up, making it easier to scrape or brush off. It's less obnoxious than stripper and sometimes it works just as well. Sometimes not, but it doesn't cost much to try that first. Citrus-based stripper is another possibility, but you have to paint it on.

    I like Peggy's idea about the satin finish. It won't hide any remaining paint chips quite as well as flat, but with a ceiling it's far enough away to where it probably doesn't matter. And satin looks better and is easier to clean if you have a beer opening disaster or some such calamity (the loss of perfectly good beer being the calamity, of course).
  4. BrownianHeatingTech

    BrownianHeatingTech Minister of Fire

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    I'm going to test it for lead (just got a kit) and that will obviously have a significant effect on how it is treated.

    I don't think I can use sandpaper or anything similar, as the level of "texture" is just too great. Scotchbrite or steel wool were my thoughts, but I'm not sure about that.

    And yeah, they're original. So, about 150 years old. May have been stripped and repainted at some point, though, so who knows if it's lead or not. Guess I will soon...

    Joe
  5. velvetfoot

    velvetfoot Minister of Fire

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    It sounds like any way you do it will be tough and messy.
  6. BrownianHeatingTech

    BrownianHeatingTech Minister of Fire

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    Well, tested it out. The chips seem to only have lead at the edges, meaning that the first coat is no-lead, then lead paint was used, then non-lead again.

    Definitely complicates the removal. The only quote I've gotten on professional removal is $4k, which is just silly for a 12x14' room

    Joe
  7. Hogwildz

    Hogwildz Minister of Fire

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    There is a stripping system that invloves a paste that you put on then lay a pc of paper or fabric over it, iI forget. You then peel the paper off and it takes the paint with it. It ain't shep I don't think, but works well. I had an old boss who used it on his trim inside his 150+ year old home. Takes several layers of paint off in one shot.
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