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Fixing a peeling shower ceiling

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pmthac

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I've owned a 1br condo for about 2 years now, in a building built in the late 1940s.

A few weeks ago, I noticed some cracks formed in the ceiling and along the wall of my bathroom in some spots around the shower. It's now progressed to peeling significantly. I need to know 1)how to fix it; and 2) what could be causing this so I can deal with that. I have not done anything to the ceiling since I've moved in other than put a new coat of white paint on it one year ago. The paint can't be causing this because it's not happening in other parts of the bathroom, nor in other parts of the house.

Photos attached. Note the scoring on the wall of one of the pix where this problem is beginning to occur, as well.

Any guidance is appreciated.

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oldognewtrick

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Did you notice a blister or bubble before the peeling started? Is there a bathroom directly above?
 

pmthac

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Yes, there is another condo just like mine above me, so their shower and bath are in the same place.

Yes i believe there was a blister and the cracking/scoring before it opened up to the current state.
 

oldognewtrick

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You might try talking to the building manager or the occupant above to see if there is a leak or over flow problem.
 

pmthac

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No i dont run a humidity fan. I leave the bathroom door open when showering. And the vent that you see pictured doesnt have a fan, but instead uses temperature differences to create a constant flow of air out of the bathroom.

If there was moisture in the ceiling, wouldn't the place under the cracking feel wet or have water stains?

The building maintenance person was in my unit once recently. He said the issue was caused by oil based paint on latex or vice versa. I dont believe that for the above-mentioned reasons... i painted over a year ago, the whole ceiling ahould then be soing that, etc...
 

oldognewtrick

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If it was a compatibility issue you'd be seeing it in more than one spot. Scrape the loose and peeling paint and look for Brown water marks.
 

DFBonnett

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For whatever reason there is a lack of adhesion in one area at least. Likely not water or moisture related. That has a different look. Scrape and sand thoroughly, prime with an aggressive primer such as BIN or Cover Stain, spackle, sand out, prime again, top coat whole ceiling, then hope that's the only problem spot. BTDT more times than I care to remember.
 

pmthac

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Ive removed more paint from the area and havent found any dark or wet spots. The paint comes off in large chunks with no effort, sanding, or scraping required. Just pull it like dead skin off a sunburn.

The only thing ive found underneath is a very thin crack in the ceiling that was following some of the paint cracks.
 

CallMeVilla

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Been here, seen this more than once. Unless there is a leak from upstairs, you have a moisture buildup problem for lack of adequate air circulation.

As part of a total condo rehab, we had to fix the master bath where the ceiling and walls had many peeling spots. The exhaust fan had broken years ago and the renter just showered to his heart's content. Moisture built up, causing paint failure and the beginnings for mold.

The fix?

1. Fix the exhaust fan by removing and replacing the squirrel cage fan. $10 part ....
2. Aggressively scrape all peeling paint.
3. Skim coat all bad areas with new drywall compound, sand smooth.
4. Shoot new texture on all walls, prime and paint with semi-gloss interior.
 

nealtw

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All good suggestions here but a house built in the 40s will have oil base paint and may not have been prepared properly for a latex top coat.
Which is a whole other problem as there will be lead in that paint too.
 

KULTULZ

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All good suggestions here but a house built in the 40s will have oil base paint and may not have been prepared properly for a latex top coat.
:agree:

Which is a whole other problem as there will be lead in that paint too.
:agree:

The exhaust is not fan driven (and most likely not too effective). When was the last time the exhaust chutes were cleaned and tested for proper operation?Is there a window in the BR? Is it drywall or plaster?

Regardless, one must be careful with lead paint removal. Who knows how many coats (and types) there are?
 

pmthac

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Thanks for the feedback.

1) No, there is no window in the bathroom; it's internal to the building.
2) I don't know if/when the building management has cleaned the vents. I personally clean my own once per year. They generally test it by putting a piece of toilet paper against the vent-- if it is held on by suction, then they say it works properly.
3) I have no clue if anything is drywall or plaster. I assume plaster from the age of the building.
4) I don't think I can cover it with drywall. The bathroom ceiling is probably not even 7ft tall. I can't really afford to lose any height.
5) No clue on the type of paint or if there's lead in it. I live in DC, so the city basically tells everyone that there's bound to be lead paint in their house.
 

CallMeVilla

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Have never tried but you can get 1/4" drywall for the ceiling. Would require extra screws but you would minimize height loss. However, if lead is in the ceiling paint, it will be in the walls too. Big issue for older houses
 

nealtw

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Have never tried but you can get 1/4" drywall for the ceiling. Would require extra screws but you would minimize height loss. However, if lead is in the ceiling paint, it will be in the walls too. Big issue for older houses
3/8" is available, I think sealing lead behind good paint is OK so if there is no problem with the walls, they may be alright.
 

KULTULZ

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Just a thought...

You can have a home lead tested. It may not be a bad idea to have yourself and loved ones tested.

If the paint can be safely worked to get rid of flaking, I am sure most paint manufacturers will have a sealer/primer product that seals the old lead paint and allows you to paint over the area.

Lead abatement is a serious business.
 

nealtw

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Just a thought...

You can have a home lead tested. It may not be a bad idea to have yourself and loved ones tested.

If the paint can be safely worked to get rid of flaking, I am sure most paint manufacturers will have a sealer/primer product that seals the old lead paint and allows you to paint over the area.

Lead abatement is a serious business.
For testing people, it is a blood test and lead will clear out of the blood in a few days, so the test will show neg. but the damage is done.
 

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