Ballsed up my bathroom ceiling

13 Nov 2019
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United Kingdom
My house was built 2004. The bathroom ceiling had flaked, but the estate agent did a typical paint over to disguise it. It was ok for a couple years then started flaking again so I wanted to redo it, but have made a proper mess instead.

I scraped all the loose paint until no more was coming off, and dusted the entire ceiling with a clean dry cloth. When i started rolling Crown basic matt emulsion, more paint started lifting.

Do I need to scrape the entire ceiling? What have I done wrong?

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Is the ceiling completely dry when you've been painting it?

Others will be along hopefully to advise but I would remove all loose paint and prime with a good primer such as Zinsser Gardz or similar.
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If you wet your finger and touch part of the old paint, does it become dark (temporarily)?

If yes, someone originally painted the ceiling using a low latex paint. eg

As a decorator, I groan when I come across those types of paint.

They are designed to be painted over plaster that has not fully dried. Unfortunately, they are often used by builders as a base coat (they are cheap and pretty effective at obliterating the colour of the plaster).

Emulsion needs to be thinned as the first coat is applied. Plaster is very absorbent, if you use full fat regular emulsion over it, the water in the paint gets soaked in to the plaster before the paint cures. Apply another coat over it and, you often find that it will pull off the previous coat.

Low latex paints used as a base coat do little to deal with the suction levels (porosity of the plaster).

In your case, the quickest way to deal with the problem is to use a base coat such as the one recommended by @freddiemercurystwin .It will prevent the moisture in the emulsion penetrating through to the previous coats.

If you get quite a bit of condensation on the ceiling when the shower is used, I would recommend that you use waterbased eggshell. It is water resistant.

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