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How Do I Fix My Flaking Ceiling?

How Do I Fix My Flaking Ceiling?

What causes ceiling paint to flake and peel?

There are a number of factors that will cause paint to flake and peel over time some of them include;

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 ceiling paint 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, which is why at least some level of waterproofing is definitely not a bad idea. 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.

How to fix it?

Repairing peeling paint on your walls and ceiling can be a time-consuming process, but it isn't difficult. It's important to work carefully though if you don't want your paint to peel again.

Remove Chipped/Flaking Paint

The first step in repairing your bathroom walls and ceiling is removing the chipped spots. A putty knife or paint scraper works well at removing the paint if you carefully move it along the loose edges. Make sure to remove all peeling or flaking areas until the wall and ceiling only have firmly adhered paint on them.


Make sure you sand the area to ensure that there are no ridges or uneven edges. Remove dust particles by wiping with a damp cloth or with Selleys Sugar Soap wipes.


Your bathroom walls and ceiling probably started peeling in the first place because they weren't properly primed. To avoid the same problem in the future, use an oil-based primer with stain-blocking properties such as Zinsser Cover Stain before painting. The primer helps prevent water marks on the ceiling and helps to prevent mildew growth.


Once your primer is dry, you can repaint your ceiling in any colour you choose. But it's important to choose the right type of paint if you want to prevent peeling and flaking in the future. Look for a formula marked specifically for ceilings like Dulux NeverMiss One Coat Ceiling White. With Dulux Nevermiss the guess work is taken out of painting ceilings as it applies pink and dries to a beautiful flat white, so you can see where you've painted. It’s specially formulated for ceilings and provides high opacity coverage therefore often only requiring one coat over most surfaces.

When tackling any kind of big project make sure to seek advice from the experts at your nearest Inspirations Paint store.