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How to repair a peeling bathroom ceiling

Updated February 21, 2017

Bathroom ceilings endure more abuse than other areas of the home because of the high moisture levels they are exposed to on a daily basis. No matter what the ceiling is made of, the paint eventually will peel if it is not applied properly. Peeling problems increase with the number of paint layers on the ceiling. Repair a peeling bathroom ceiling by completely removing all existing paint and reapplying it properly.

Remove as many items from the bathroom as possible, such as dustbins, rugs and shower curtains. Spread dust sheets on the floor, inside the shower or bathtub and over the counters and sinks.

Climb up on a stepladder, or ladder so that you easily can access the ceiling.

Place the flat edge of a putty knife at a 30 to 45 degree angle on the ceiling. Move the putty knife in a forward and backward motion to scrape off the peeling paint.

Continue using the putty knife to remove paint until all of it is removed and the ceiling is completely smooth.

Run your hand over the ceiling to locate any dents and depressions. If depressions are located, apply 1 tbsp of joint compound to a putty knife and smooth it into the depression. Blend the compound into the surrounding areas as much as possible.

Allow the joint compound to dry for the amount of time specified on the package. Sand the surface with a medium-grit sandpaper until you can run your hand over it and not feel the edges of the compound.

Pour an oil-based, stain-killing primer into a paint tray and insert a long-handled paint roller into the tray. Place the roller onto the ceiling and apply a thin, even layer of primer. Allow the primer to dry for 24 hours.

Pour an oil-based paint into a fresh paint tray and use the long-handled roller, with a fresh roller, to paint the ceiling your desired colour. After applying the first coat, allow the paint to dry overnight and apply a second coat.

Roil up the dust sheets and discard them in the trash.

Things You'll Need

  • Dust sheet
  • Stepladder or ladder
  • Putty knife
  • Joint compound
  • Sandpaper
  • Paint trays
  • Oil-based, stain-killing primer
  • Long-handled paint roller
  • Paint
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About the Author

Kimberly Johnson is a freelance writer whose articles have appeared in various online publications including eHow, Suite101 and Examiner. She has a degree in journalism from the University of Georgia and began writing professionally in 2001.