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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have been working on removing popcorn ceiling from my house and repainting the ceilings. I started in my main upstairs hallway and I have completely removed the popcorn texture. Once that was removed, all that was left was the drywall and joint (basically looked like I had just drywalled and taped the joints). I sanded the surface to make sure it was smooth and even, and filled any gouges and scrape marks with joint compound and then sanded again.

At that point, I was thinking it was time for primer and topcoat. I applied the primer, but after drying, it looked like the paint was cracking and peeling. The cracking and peeling happened in patches all over the ceiling, but primarily (>90%) happened at the edges of the ceiling. I did a bit of research online, and read that the best way to take care of it was to scrape and sand the cracked areas and fill them with joint compound, then sand again. And that's where I am starting to have serious problems. I started scraping and the paint is coming off in HUGE strips (some are as big as 2 sq ft) in some areas and in others the paper on the drywall is tearing.

So I am in need of lots of help. First, if my wife doesn't kill me, how can I fix this? Where did I go wrong? Did I miss a step somewhere? If there is any info I can give to help figure this out, let me know.

tl, dr: I REALLY SCREWED UP MY CEILING PAINT JOB (read above for specifics)! HELP!!!
 

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Rubbin walls since'79
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My best guess is that there was still the powdery mud that the ceiling texture uses left on the ceiling, and your primer didn't penetrate it to grab on to the actual sheetrock. Its actually a common problem with doing this.
Its a hassle- but brooming off or better vacuuming off the dust helps, and often i will either thin ( a bit) a pigmented primer, or better yet prime with Gardz which is meant to penetrate chalky surfaces.

But now what do you do..
Take a flex scraper and test an area that is cracking to see if it easily falls off, or if it is reasonably adhered.
If it falls, bummer- continue until you get to secure paint,reprime with Gardz, remud, sand , reprime area, repaint.
If secure, I would prime the affected areas with Gardz ( insurance) , lightly skim if needed, sand and prime the area.


Just re-read your post- and it is tearing the rock paper off- that would mean it is stuck to it- dont rip it that way. Stop when that starts.
If it comes off by itself ( not rock paper) easily- get that. When you think you have most the un adhered prime off- reprime the whole thing with Gardz. Gardz is a great problem solver- it will form a vapor barrier so anything you do after - the moisture will not reactivate the problem. Then follow above procedure.




Good luck and let us know what you find out-
 

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It could be lots of things. Who knows what kind of prep was done to that drywall before they popcorned it. For all we know they could have smeared silicone on it!!!

In removing the popcorn did you use alot of water to get it to come off? If so, did you allow the ceiling to thoroughly dry before priming? Using lots of water will cause the paper surface of the drywall to swell and in some cases come off as the popcorn is scraped off. I think your choice of primer was ok although I prefer a true drywall primer in your case.

When you repaired those problem areas after your first application of primer, did you re-primer those areas before mudding? Re-priming seals the damaged area and gives your joint compound something to really stick to.

For whatever reason you are having an adhesion problem and from our vantage point, there's no way to tell what's causing that without some pics.
 

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Ainsley, let's take this in stages, from the beginning. You have a surface contaminant issue.
Do you have any history of the ceiling? Was it popcorn since you owned it? It's possible if you have an old house that the ceiling was papered at one point.
What about the walls, have they ever been papered? Some paper installers can't seem to paper without slopping paste all over the ceiling. It's possible that the popcorn was put on such a ceiling at one point and the paste residue, if you didn't wash it off, is causing the paint crackle and peel on the edges.
Sometimes failures occur because of what someone did or didn't do years ago.
If I was faced with this situation on a job I would remove the loosened paint, wipe the surface with a wet rag, let it dry, do your patching, then apply an oil primer or Gardz to the whole ceiling. In this situation you have to treat the whole ceiling as problematic, not just the spots, therefore the full coat of sealer. Trust me, if you treat only the failed spots, you may find after applying a finish coat that new previously non-problematic areas may appear.

You might try doing one or two test areas to see how it works. I think it will, but if it doesn't we'll go from there.
 

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BJ, I thought about your thoughts. The few popcorn ceilings I removed I treated them like paper removal, wash then sand when dry. While I agree it could cause adhesion problems, do you think it would cause cracking and peeling? I thought that would only cause problems if it was messed with or had tape applied to it, otherwise it would just lay there.
 

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Rubbin walls since'79
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The texture mud is much more "powdery" than even taping mud sanding dust.
But even if it is looking like its semi solid, if you run your hand over it it will just powder up. Paint will sit on that and just pull in ( causing cracks) or not adhere.
Seeing it is mainly around the outside, that is often an area it is easy to under do sanding for a DIY.
I don't know for sure- but the procedure should take care of most problems anyway.
I usually dry scrape ceilings ( most the ones I do have been painted) so I haven't wetted them. And I sand it with a vac attached sander so I am pulling dust off that way. And now a coat of Gardz is automatic.
Seldom have I had a problem with that method.
I also almost always need to skim.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
The texture mud is much more "powdery" than even taping mud sanding dust.
But even if it is looking like its semi solid, if you run your hand over it it will just powder up. Paint will sit on that and just pull in ( causing cracks) or not adhere.
Seeing it is mainly around the outside, that is often an area it is easy to under do sanding for a DIY.
I don't know for sure- but the procedure should take care of most problems anyway.
I usually dry scrape ceilings ( most the ones I do have been painted) so I haven't wetted them. And I sand it with a vac attached sander so I am pulling dust off that way. And now a coat of Gardz is automatic.
Seldom have I had a problem with that method.
I also almost always need to skim.
After rethinking what steps I went through, I think you hit on the problem. I did sand the ceiling, but the places where I am having issues were places where I had trouble getting all of the popcorn texture off. I definitely did not vacuum or broom the ceiling or wipe it down after sanding. Thanks to you and jsheridan, I now know to add that step in for the rest of the ceilings in my house. I am still not done scraping, but after the initial results of this debacle as you can see above, I just stopped before I threw something. Looks like I have a long weekend ahead of me.

Thanks to all for your help. (I may be back, depending on how things go.)
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Quick update

So after a few days to reevaluate and consider my options, I decided to continue tackling this myself. The good news is that the pictures above show about 90-95% of the damage. I resumed scraping and the amount of additional primer removed was minimal. :thumbup:

That said, before I REALLY go and screw things up, can anyone tell me or know of a good tutorial for prepping (and repairing) torn drywall paper? It hasn't been completely removed, but the top layer of the paper on parts of the ceiling has been removed, and some of the edges on the top layer are curling/peeling away from the paper (like it was partially torn away). I am guessing the repair is going to be involved in applying Gardz and skim coating, but what other additional steps do I need to take to hide this?

brushjockey or jsheridan, can you confirm that this is the process I should/could follow (even if it might be overkill):

Sand areas where paint was removed, including edge of paint
Wipe down ceiling to remove dust with damp rag and allow to dry
Apply coat of Gardz to entire ceiling and allow to dry
Skim coat bare, damaged, or uneven areas and allow to dry
Sand skim-coated areas
Wipe down ceiling to remove dust with damp rag and allow to dry
(Last three steps get repeated until surface is smooth and even)
Apply coat of Gardz and allow to dry
Apply coat of primer
Apply coat of ceiling paint

If there is anything I left out, or something is completely unnecessary, please let me know.
 

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Rubbin walls since'79
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Sand areas where paint was removed, including edge of paint
Here's where the how to treat torn sheet rock paper comes in..
With a utility knife cut a loop around the torn area ( not deep- just through the paper. This will give a place for the ripping to stop.
Then with a fairly rough piece of sandpaper, sand the torn area until it stops flaking off in layers. Then it is ready to seal with the gardz. Make sure that when you do prime it, that the gardz really saturates the torn area, and give it some time to dry. ( a couple hours, particulary with a fan on it is good, gardz dries very fast)

Wipe down ceiling to remove dust with damp rag and allow to dry
Apply coat of Gardz to entire ceiling and allow to dry
Skim coat bare, damaged, or uneven areas and allow to dry
Sand skim-coated areas
Wipe down ceiling to remove dust with damp rag and allow to dry
I worry a bit on using a damp rag. Sometime the moisture will soften and make marks in the mud. I personally whisk it down or better yet vacuum it.- personal preference..
(Last three steps get repeated until surface is smooth and even)
Apply coat of Gardz and allow to dry
Apply coat of primer
Gardz is actually a great primer- but it is clear so hard to see imperfections. After the initial coat of Gardz to seal the torn paper, you could use a pigmented primer for all the rest.
Apply coat of ceiling paint

If there is anything I left out, or something is completely unnecessary, please let me know.[/QUOTE]
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Quick update

Just wanted to say thanks to everyone here for all of the advice. Without the help, I would have never been able to finish this job. I have since finished that ceiling, and with the new info, have finished four other areas in the house with no issues. I can't say thank you enough - you saved me a ton of headaches and, more importantly, the money I would have had to shell out to have someone else fix my mistake.
 
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