Monday, December 1, 2008

Question About Ceiling Painting

Q: I have drywalled ceilings that are panted white. There are two small areas where the tape has separated at the joints due to leaks. Is there any way to repair the ceiling without re-taping, mudding and painting the entire ceiling?

A: I hate to disappoint you, but to fix it right, you may have to do just that. It really depends on how bad the areas look now.

The first order of business is to make sure the leak had been repaired. If it isn't, the damage will likely recur. Some ceilings are harder than others to touch up. On well-lighted ceilings, touch ups will show up more readily than those with less light.

If you have water stains on the ceiling, you may be able to eliminate them with a bleach water solution. In a hand sprayer, mix 4 parts water and 1 part bleach. Spray it on the area and let it dry. It may take a few applications, but the color of the stain will either be reduced or eliminated. Just be sure to cover any carpet or furniture below the area you're spraying!

You don't mention if your ceiling is textured, this will affect your course of action. Call someone who specializes in drywall and texture repair, they will be your best resource. Texture can be very difficult to match, both in color and texture.

When you are ready to paint, make sure to prime any remaining water stains with Kilz Primer. Be sure to use the oil-base version, it just seems to work better. I use a good quality flat white latex paint on ceilings. Most ceiling paints are a "dry-hide" where the ceiling looks pretty bad while you are painting, but dries out nice and even.

Sometimes the best way to paint a ceiling is to use a paint sprayer. If you have acoustic (or popcorn) texture, this is pretty much the only way to do it. This should be left to the professional as there is a LOT of masking and covering involved.

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