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How to Fix Peeling Plaster Ceiling

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Way to Fix Peeling Plaster Ceiling


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A peeling plaster ceiling is anything but appealing, so here’s how to restore it to perfection.

There can be several reasons why your plaster ceiling is peeling, so it’s best to get to the root of the problem so it doesn’t reoccur.

Reason For Peeling Plaster Ceiling

My ceiling is peeling! My ceiling is peeling!” It’s a common call we get from clients. It might feel like the sky is falling in your home but fear not. We know how to fix a peeling plaster ceiling. Before we talk about how to fix it, let’s talk about why it happens.

The peel could happen due to a leak, high humidity, or the age of the house. It doesn’t matter the cause, the steps you take in repairing are the same.

The problem could be from a water leak, high humidity in the room if it’s in a bathroom, heat from cooking if it’s in a kitchen, a poor quality product used years ago, or just plain old age. To investigate the problem and have it repaired first whether it’s fixing your roof or installing a better exhaust fan. Then you can get to work on fixing the ceiling’s peeling plaster.

The Problem You’ll Face

The peeling and flaking need to be removed so prepare yourself for an intense upper body and arm workout. That is scraping, re-plastering, sanding, priming, and painting — as well as hands that start to go numb from raising them over your head so much. Take frequent breaks as this repair job is going to involve an awkward uncomfortable stance to endure.

Tools you’ll need:

  1. steady step ladder

  2. wide putty scraper

  3. Trowel

  4. Goggles

  5. Mask

  6. Drop Cloths

#1 Step: Cover the floor and any fixtures or furnishings with the drop cloth because flakes are going to be flying.

#2 Step: Wear goggles and a mask for protection and start scraping the flakes and bubbles.

#3 Step: If you have excellent balance, consider using your other hand to hold a tray for the falling flakes to minimize clean-up if you like.

Work on one part of the house at a time. Seal the work area from the rest of the house. This includes any heating or ventilation ducts. Everything in the room must be removed, or covered. Use two sheets of plastic and all taped. Use duct tape.

Gear is important. Wear disposable coveralls, shoes, hair coverings, goggles, and a good fitting respirator. Only High-Efficiency Particulate Air (HEPA) respirators can filter lead dust and fumes. Paper or fabric dust masks will not do the trick.

So you don’t ingest lead, do not eat, drink or smoke while working.

Make sure you clean up properly. Before leaving the work area, get rid of coveralls, and remove dust from your clothes with a HEPA fitted vacuum cleaner. Shower as soon as possible, as you don’t need to spread lead dust around your home.

Scraping and Cleaning


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  • Plaster ceilings are more commonly used in older homes, rather than drywall, so it’s important to rid the plaster of any mildew so it doesn’t grow mold.
  • Scrape the entire peeling plaster ceiling area, and the surrounding area, since the peeling may occur nearby later. Now is the time to be proactive about potential peeling.

Patch the Repair

  • After you’ve scraped all the flakes off, clean the area with a mold cleaner and wait until it fully dries so that you know it has seeped into the area.
  • Then wipe the area with water and let it dry fully to ensure that your mold cleaner doesn’t interfere with the ability for fresh plaster, primer, and paint to adhere.
  • Patch the scrapes, dents, and hollows caused by scraping with new plaster. Most plaster products are bought dry and need to be mixed with water, so follow the instructions on the label.
  • Use a putty knife or trowel depending on the size of the repair to apply it to the ceiling. It will likely take several hours to dry and cure depending on how many layers you needed to use.
  • When it’s dry, sand the area so that it’s perfectly smooth. The slightest imperfections can show when dry and painted, so use a good work light to check the surface.

Prime and paint

  • When the compound is hard and dry, use a latex-based primer to preserve your repair.
  • After it has dried, use latex paint to paint the whole ceiling.
  • If you only paint the repaired area, it will likely not match the old paint and be unattractive. Even if you knew the exact paint color, the paint on the ceiling will have changed in color with age.


Your safety is important. We need to take all precautions before getting started.

#1 Step: Make sure the work area is ventilated. Use a stepladder and if possible, have somebody hold the ladder for you when you are working.

#2 Step: Wear a dust mask when you are sanding. This will prevent you from inhaling the fine pieces of paint or old plaster.

#3 Step: When applying paint, wear safety goggles. The paint may drip, especially the undercoat, and may get into your eyes. It could cause serious long-term damage and you don’t want that.

#4 Step: If you have an older home, keep in mind that old paint may contain lead. It can be dangerous.

Important Tips: If you do know that the paint keeps these reminders in mind: Children and pregnant women must not work with any lead paint. They should stay away until everything is done.
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Keep in Mind

Be sure your first coat of paint is dry before applying the second coat to ensure a permanent finish. Plaster ceilings are appreciated for the character that adds to a home — especially if there are textures or patterns.

More interesting blogs related to ” How to Fix Peeling Plaster Ceiling “

Fix your peeling plaster ceiling and you’ll likely be preserving a bit of history too. If the work involved in repairing a peeling plaster ceiling sounds like it involves too much time and energy to do yourself, call 416.494.9095 or email brian@HomePaintersToronto.com for a FREE quote or visit our website Home Painters Toronto.

Brian Young - Home Painters Toronto

From The Owner & Founder


Hello and welcome!

I’m both deeply honoured and flattered you are considering using our services.

Since 1987 when I was at York University simply earning my way through school, I’ve had the privilege to meet and work with thousands of amazing homeowners like yourself.

Besides the birth of my daughter, there is nothing more satisfying than seeing a homeowner’s life change when we have transformed their dream home into a masterpiece. For that reason, we take our jobs very seriously and are committed to our cause.

At Home Painters our mission is to paint homeowners’ dreams, and make your painting experience last a lifetime!
I look forward to hopefully meeting you one day, as it brings me tremendous joy to make homeowner’s dreams come true.