I wish to emulsion my ceilings but it appears that they have
previously been painted with gloss paint. I am worried if I emulsion
directly on them that it will flake off, does anyone have any
suggestions or am I worrying unnecessarily?
In all my years of decorating I never came across a glossed ceiling.
You might be looking at Vinyl Silk, or other semi-gloss emulsion, or
possibly eggshell. There's no easy way to tell which it is, but you
could try a blowtorch or hot air gun. If the paint "melts" it's
likely an oil-based paint. If not, it's probably an emulsion.
If it's an emulsion, then just rub it down lightly with some well-worn
scratch, and paint over. You could, if you're feeling short of things
to do, wash it with sugar soap, but I gave that up after the first
time - unless the paint is severely discoloured or filthy, it's not
If it's a gloss paint, then you have different options. You could do
it the hard way - rub down properly to create a good "key", then a
coat of oil-based undercoat. This will take an emulsion finish
without cissing. The easy way would be to use a preparation called
ESP (Easy Surface Preparation)
I've found works very well - I've recently used it on varnish
without all that palaver about stripping all the varnish off. It's
quite pricey, but worth it. From memory, you apply with a rag or
brush, wait a certain amount of time, and then wipe off the excess
with a dry rag. Wait a while and then paint. The tin will have other
instructions that you might wish to heed.
I accidentally painted a bit of wall with oil eggsell, and then painted
it over with the correct emulsion. Seems OK.
Maybe worth a sand to scuff the surface up, but its not exactly taking a
lot of stress on a ceiling is it.
Hang head in shame time.
Once (when I was young and daft) thought a gloss ceiling was a good
idea so painted it with gloss. This lasted all of a month before I
painted it over with emulsion. Did no prep work on the gloss and had
no problems with the paint flaking off. Maybe this was due to the
shortage of time between coats and if a greater time between coats a
light "scuffing" or even a proper rub down *may* be required.