Painting Ceiling - Problem?!?


Hi,
I am a complete newbie to full on decorating. Previously I've been lucky that all I've needed to do is a bit of painting here and there.
I've recently moved into a new property that needs a LOT of work doing.
With the bedroom I'm working on at the moment, when we pulled the wallpaper from the walls (yes, it WAS that easy) it also caused the ceiling covering to come away at the edges. We wanted to re-do the ceiling anyway, so pulled all the ceiling covering off. That too came off real easy.
I then filled a couple of cracks, rubbed down any loose areas and cleaned the surface of loose dust.
When I then attempted to apply the new ceiling paint (a polycell product) with a foam roller, it appeared not to be sticking to the surface. It was being pulled off by the roller. I tried with a medium pile fibre roller and the same happened. Using a paint brush initially seemed OK. So I started to paint a larger area, with the intention of covering properly once dried. However, that too ended up causing the same problem.
Upon closer look, where the paint was coming off, it was not JUST the new paint coming off. There was a layer of something else (green - grey in colour) on the underside. So it would appear that whatever this layer is, the new paint is causing it to come away. This also leaves a yellow-ish surface underneath (which presumably WOULD keep the new paint).
Investigating further, scrubbing the surface "sort of" removed the offending surface covering. It comes of quite a nasty, sludgy, grey-green mess. Also, applying a brief spell of steam & then scraping seems to remove it, but not without making a huge dusty mess.
Could someone please tell me what this stuff might be & why the paint not only won't key to it, but infact pulls off the initial surface?
What would be the best way of dealing with this with minimum fuss (and prefereably mess)?
Sorry if this is complete basics, but I AM a complete novice. :/
Thanks, Simon
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wrote:

product used to seal walls for papering.
It is water soluble, but smelly and nasty to wash off.
Ahhhhh, the good old days!
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Sounds like the good old distemper. You have two choices. Either wash it all off which is really messy and time consuming or you seal it. Sealing is the easiest option but don't use PVA, that will just stay on the surface and come off when you emulsion over it. A good stabilising fluid is probably best but use two coats. It is horrible stuff to use and the smell!!!!
ken
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Someone else had suggested distemper. (I thought that was something animals got!)
You suggest sealing it with a "stabilising fluid". What would I look for in, say, B&Q that would do this job? I can't say that I remember seeing any kind of sealing agent in there.
I assume that it can't be "sealed" with watered down emulsion (as can walls)?
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"SilentBob" wrote:

Distemper was used years ago before emulsion paint was developed. It is still on lots of ceilings in old houses.

It will say stabilising solution on the label. The last one I bought was made by Cuprinol (Cuprotect) and came in a 2.5 litre plastic bottle. The surface cannot be sealed with watered-down emulsion.
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mixed with an emulsion?
Alternatively would Emulsa-Bond mixed with a normal emulsion make a suitable sealing base coat?
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"SilentBob" wrote:

Use it straight from the bottle. Next day apply the first coat of emulsion, no need to dilute the paint.

I have no idea. I only know that stabilising solution seals powdery ceilings and walls in preparation for emulsion paint.
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EricP wrote:

Sounds like the same stuff that was on the walls of my 30s semi. If you are going to paint you want the best possible surface. Any kind of stabilising fluid will leave the stuff on and you won't get as good a finish.
The only way to get it off is elbow grease, which is not available at B&Q or any other DIY store. I removed it by dampening it, using a wallpaper scraper to remove the worst of the sludge and then wiping down with sugar soap and rinse with clean water. You shoul;d then have a good surface on which to paint.
Mike
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That's fine on the walls Mike but a devils own job on the ceiling especially if it is thick. Really hard work. Even if you do manage to wash it off, it will leave residue and will still need sealing. We used to do loads of these in the old days, if the customer could afford it we would wash it off. But it is still easier to just give it 2 coats of stabiliser and then you can prepare it in the normal way.
ken
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Hi,
Thanks for the input. Other than the area that I tried painting, the surface is quite good. Hence, if I first smooth that area back down I may go for the sealing option.
A coat or two of stabilising fluid was suggested. The staff at B&Q juust gave me blank looks when I asked there. (even worse when I mentioned "distemper") However, I have found the following on Wickes website:
http://www.wickes.co.uk/invt/606005
It says it's for exterior use, but would this be suitable?
I would then be painting over it with the following:
http://www.focusdiy.co.uk/invt/715669
Does this sound like a reasonable course of action?
Thanks for your help.
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"SilentBob" wrote:

That link doesn't show a product, only says "This product is not available to view." Without being able to read what it says it is difficult to advise, it might say on the label that it is not to be used indoors. As it is for exterior use it may be meant for application prior to putting masonry paint on an outside wall, and may contain a lot of solvent. I don't understand why you couldn't see stabilising solution on the shelf at B & Q. Any DIY shed or builders merchant should stock stabilising solution for sealing interior walls and ceilings.

Once you have sealed the surface you should be able to put any type of paint on it.
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No! Nothing in B&Q at all. Maybe I would've had better luck in a B&Q Warehouse? Anyway, I'll go and ask in Wickes at lunchtime. I'm sure I should have better luck there.
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