I do regular property maintenance on an historic building in downtown Asheville. It's an interesting challenge, because like every historic building, it has "character." In other words, it's got lots of little quirks that need a special approach if I want to fix a problem and make it stay fixed.
Lately we've been plagued with peeling ceilings. This is an old industrial building where the ceilings are made of concrete, and there are a few problem spots where the paint just won't adhere. I have stripped them, primed and repainted only to have them peel again. The paint seems to be peeling due to recurring moisture in those areas. (Click pictures to enlarge.)
The property manager and I spent hours working on this mystery. First we checked with the company that maintains the roof. They came out twice and found no problem. We also combed the building looking for potential leaks. Eventually we determined that the roof is probably sound and the moisture is coming from another place. This makes sense since some of the peeling ceilings aren't on the top floor.
Where is the moisture coming from? We can't be sure. I could advance several theories, and it probably has more than one cause. Concrete can be tricky in this regard, because it can wick moisture from one place to another. Basically we couldn't stop the moisture. We needed to find another solution.
One thing I've learned as a handyman is that there is a pre-manufactured product to fix every conceivable problem known to handymankind. It's just a question of doing the research to find it. After internet research failed us, we took our problem to the Asheville branch of PPG Paints. The tagline on their website says "Every job matters," and they lived up to their motto. They actually sent a representative out to look at the problem and bring us a can of this stuff:
Say hello to XIM Peel Bond. According to Rustoleum's product page, it penetrates into the surface and creates a tough, flexible surface that helps prevent the paint from peeling.
So as not to waste any more effort, I decided to test how well this product works on a small area in a bathroom that was particularly problematic. The Peel Bond went on with a white hazy look and dried clear. It looked a lot like watered-down Elmer's Glue.
After waiting 3 weeks, I checked on it again and it has held up very well. The area that was not test coated had peeled even more. I tried to scrape the area where the "Peel Bond" was applied and I wasn't able to even scrape a small portion off. This stuff is tough!
Now that I have confirmation that the peeling won't continue, I painted the entire bathroom ceiling with Peel Bond, waited the required two hours while it dried, and then top coated it. I'll be sure to keep an eye on how it does over the next few months, but I'm cautiously optimistic that this product does the trick.
Need a handyman to help you fix your ceiling? Give me a call... I love a challenge.