What is a Calcimine Ceiling?


We often get calls from folks that are really confused about a particular ceiling issue that they seem to be experiencing.

It is centered around a peeling challenge that they keep having with a ceiling of theirs.

Although seemingly sometimes (though certainly not always!) originally triggered by some type of moisture, once all possible traditional potential causes of the peeling are neutralized, the bewilderment begins to set in as the person reaching out to us cannot nail down why their ceiling continues to peel, even after they have done everything that they can think of that “the book” says to do to fix it.


They clean, they scrape, they sand, they prime, they use great quality finishes, and yet, the ceiling still peels!!

After they work to correct it, the ceiling may remain intact for a week, a month, or a year, but eventually the same problem resurfaces and the ceiling peels again.

This obviously can be super annoying.

The fact of the matter is that the reason their ceiling continues to peel, actually stems back from many, many years ago.

“Back in the day” there was a product that a lot of people used to treat their ceilings with.


The product was called Calcimine.


Calcimine was basically a chalk-type finish that folks used as a cost efficient, fast method for finishing plaster, particularly on ceilings.

It was widely available and highly popular.

Calcimine ceilings lasted and lasted, even with the introduction of oil and latex based coatings, everything was hunky dory, until it wasn’t…


Problems with calcimine ceilings start to arise once the finish coat on top of them is compromised for one reason or another.

Many times this initial peeling issue is caused by a water leak or something along those lines and the ceiling starts to peel.

This is when things go down South.

Once a ceiling that has a more modern finish on top of the calcimine starts to peel, it is a wrap and the chase is on.

Once one part of the peeling ceiling is fixed, another part of it often starts to peel.


It soon becomes like that old Bugs Bunny cartoon where Bugs plugs a crack in a dam with his finger and then another crack forms and then another, and then another…with each crack that forms, Bugs uses another part of his body to stop the leaking.

Needless to say, soon Bugs runs out of body parts.

Though there are suggestions out there on how to correct this specific peeling issue (which may work to varying degrees but are typically far from permanent fixes), the only surefire ways to truly fix the issue for good are to either go over the existing ceiling with blueboard and finish it appropriately with plaster or to take down the ceiling entirely and hang a brand new one.

Literally, those are the options.

As drastic as they may be, either one of those two routes would be the only way that we could guarantee the ceiling fix.


Outside of that, anyone would DEFINITELY be fighting the tide (or like Bugs, the increasingly cracking dam…) attempting for a real deal, long-term fix to their difficulties with their peeling ceiling!





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