Painting over dirt?


We are cleaning my Mom's house for Christmas. The walls and ceiling in the livingroom have not been washed good in years. The walls are coming clean pretty ok, but the white ceiling is something else! I've done the best with Simple Green at full strenght, applied directly and scrubbed with a scotchbrite type pad. But it is very slow, and still not coming clean all the way. Best guess is it has been 30 years since it was painted, my Dad was a smoker who died over 10 years ago and it really needs fresh paint. Seems how there is no loose dirt or anything, what would happen if I just wiped it down a little and painted right over everything? It is a normal drywall ceiling, perfectly flat, meaning no textures or anyhing. Would that work ok, or is there any special paint I would have to use? Any thoughts are appreciated, as we are having family over next weekend, and it looks terrible with some semi clean spots and the rest dingy! Thanks, Earl
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Should be able to put down a fresh layer of primer then paint. I'm sure the paint is stained by now, not actually dirty per se.
I would give it one more wipe down with TSP, then call it good and put down the primer.
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On Sun, 17 Dec 2006 16:26:52 -0800, "Eigenvector"

But be SURE to rinse off the TSP very. very thoroughly, or it will interfere with paint adhesion.
At least this is what I was always taught. Any pro painters care to confirm or deny?
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aspasia spake thus:

Definite confirmation here.
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On Sun, 17 Dec 2006 19:09:13 -0500, snipped-for-privacy@webtv.net (big e lewis) wrote:

Generously prime it, allow to dry and then paint. This is a ceiling you want to clean/paint. Unless there is build up of cooking grease, etc. Prime and paint. Primers cover up (diminish) smells of pet urine, smoke, and sticks to dirt. The final piant will go on easier. Getting the fresh paint smell out by next week - the challenge.
-- Oren
"Well, it doesn't happen all the time, but when it happens, it happens constantly."
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big e lewis wrote:

Fantastic takes off any dirt I have encountered. Rinse well and dry. Boy, you are pushing it .. get a coat or two of primer on it, and paint after Christmas. Folks aren't going to sit and stare at the ceiling. Nice gift for your mom :o)
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I had much rather paint than clean. It is faster and much much easier.
A coat of thin primer goes on quickly followed up a couple of days later with a quality latex.
Also, cleaning can damage most wall and ceiling surfaces.
On Sun, 17 Dec 2006 19:09:13 -0500, snipped-for-privacy@webtv.net (big e lewis) wrote:

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oil primer.
(big e lewis)

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