Bathroom Ceiling Stains: How to Remove and Paint
LESLIE: In California you can find The Money Pit on KSRO like Tammy does. And what’s happening at your house?
TAMMY: Well, it’s a bathroom ceiling and it gets a lot of moisture. But the ceiling keeps discoloring and I’ve tried painting it and bleaching it and putting on the kind of paint that prohibits mold and whatever from coming through. And it just keeps coming through. And when moisture builds up on it, the drips that come down actually can be discolored.
TOM: Hmm. Tammy, is this bathroom on the second floor ceiling? Is there a roof above it?
TAMMY: No, it’s a one level house.
TOM: OK. Usually above a bathroom there is going to be a vent pipe that goes out through the roof. And the first thing I want to do is make sure you don’t have an active leak. So you need to check the flashing where the pipe – the vent pipe for the toilet goes through the roof; for the bathroom goes through the roof –
TOM: – and make sure it’s not active.
LESLIE: And do you have a vent fan for this bathroom?
TOM: Yeah, that’s part of the problem. And then the other thing, Leslie, is I think that she needs to prime this.
LESLIE: Yeah, it could just be a reaction from the stain with the paint that you’ve been using. And it might be as simple as applying a primer – generally, an oil based primer – just as a priming solution just to make sure it will really adhere to the stain. And then you can put your topcoat paint of a latex variety on there so you don’t have to worry about continually using the oil base. But that’s really going to stick well and cover that stain.
TAMMY: Unfortunately, I tried the primer and I’ve even gone to some of the big, you know, kind of home improvement places and asked them. Because I tried a primer and then I painted it and it didn’t help. So then (inaudible) …
TOM: It’s still …?
LESLIE: And you used an oil based primer?
TOM: Did you use an oil based primer or a water based primer?
TAMMY: That I don’t know. I told them it was for a bathroom so I don’t know what they gave me.
TOM: What I would recommend you do is go out and buy a gallon of KILZ; oil based KILZ. Not latex.
TAMMY: That’s what I used.
TOM: Not – but make sure it’s oil based.
LESLIE: Oil – I mean KILZ also does a latex, so it could have been either.
TAMMY: Oh, OK.
TOM: They do a latex and oil, OK? And then I want you to prime not only the stain, but the entire ceiling since it’s just the bathroom. And then repaint it. If you continue to get a stain after that, you’ve got an active leak for sure. And the best primer in the world is not going to cure that. You’ve got to fix the leak first. But check the vent pipe where it comes through the roof because they almost always develop leaks around them at one time or another and need to be sealed.
TAMMY: Great. Thank you so much.
TOM: You’re welcome. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.