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How to Cover Calcimine-Treated Ceilings

Calcimine paint is a type of ceiling coating found in older homes. It has a chaulky consistency and is weak. This makes it impossible to cover the ceiling with anything else until the calcimine is removed. If you paint over the calcimine without removing it, the surface will break away and your paint will come off. Removing calcimine is labor intensive but the end result gives you a ceiling that looks like new.

Things You'll Need

  • Drop cloths
  • Plastic sheets
  • Painter's tape
  • Putty knife
  • Ladder
  • Scrub brush
  • Dish soap
  • Bucket
  • Squeegee
  • Towels (optional)
  • Primer
  • Roller brush
  • Bristle paintbrush
  • Paint
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    • 1

      Cover all the surfaces in the room with drop cloths and plastic sheeting. Tape the plastic in place using painter's tape.

    • 2

      Scrape off as much of the peeling calcimine as possible. Use a sharp-edged putty knife. Stand on a ladder and scrape carefully. Continue scraping until you can't remove any more calcimine.

    • 3

      Scrub the walls with dish soap and warm water. Use a nylon scrub brush or scrub pad. Work the sudsy water into the ceiling because the bubbles help hold the moisture to the ceiling and loosen the glue.

    • 4

      Wipe the ceiling with a squeegee to remove the sudsy water, softened glue and calcimine. Continue scrubbing and wiping the ceiling until the calcimine is removed -- usually up to four treatments.

    • 5

      Rinse the ceiling with plain water. Dry the surface with towels or allow it to air dry.

    • 6

      Apply a coat of primer to the ceiling using a roller brush on an extendable pole. Cut in the edges with an angled bristle paintbrush. Use a primer designed for adhering to chaulky surfaces. Allow the primer to dry according to package instructions -- at least four hours.

    • 7

      Cover the ceiling with your desired paint. Apply in the same manner as the primer. Use a sponge roller for the main surface and a bristle paintbrush for the edges. Choose a paint designed for ceilings. Allow it to cure according to package instructions, which is usually at least eight hours. Apply a second coat.