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How to remove peeling paint from a bathroom ceiling

Updated February 21, 2017

The changing atmosphere in a bathroom may lead to peeling paint from the ceiling. Rising steam from showers and baths cover a ceiling and smother the paint, allowing it to peel from the surface. Water leaks from pipes within the ceiling can also contribute to peeling paint. Whatever the reason, before applying a new coat of paint, you must remove the old paint. Trying to paint over peeling paint not only looks tacky, the new paint cannot adhere to the ceiling surface.

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  1. Place a sturdy step stool under the peeling area of paint on the ceiling. Position old towels or sheets around the floor and on top of the bathroom sink to catch any chips of paint. Do not place the sheets or towels under the step stool as it could cause it to slide.

  2. Position a putty knife at the edge of the peeling paint. Scrape the knife under the paint. Bring the putty knife back to the edge of the peeling paint and scrape again. Scrape the paint in one direction, not back and forth.

  3. Scrape the putty knife over the paint until it stops chipping from the ceiling. In cases of many layers of paint, the layer under the peeling paint may not need removal if it shows no signs of peeling.

  4. Wipe the ceiling with a clean rag to remove all paint chip residue from the surface.

  5. Tip

    If possible, have a second person steady the step stool and hold a paint roller pan under the falling paint chips. Wear a painter's mask to protect your lungs from small particles from the peeling paint.

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Things You'll Need

  • Step stool
  • Old towels or sheets
  • Putty knife
  • Clean rags

About the Author

Constance Barker, located in the hills of southern Ohio, is the owner and writer of several financial, credit report and travel websites. She started writing in 1999 for private clients and began creating website content in 2004. She gained expertise in home improvement after she and her husband built their home themselves.

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