There are a number of possible causes for Paint flaking from a ceiling, but by far the most common one encountered is that there are too many layers of paint on the ceiling.
As paint builds up with repeated applications of paint the coating mass becomes increasingly heavy and can end up falling off under its own weight. The paint failure occurs at the weakest bond in the multiple coats on the ceiling. The failure will often occur soon after a fresh coat of ceiling paint is applied due to the stress on the mass of paint caused by the tensions induced as the freshly applied paint dries.
The following photos illustrate the typical type of failure seen when the cause is excessive paint build-up.
The first step in repairing such a ceiling is to remove all loose and flaking paint. A putty knife or paint scraper should be used to remove the poorly adhered areas of paint. Make sure to remove all peeling or flaking areas until the ceiling only has firmly adhered paint remaining.
Keep a rubbish bin or empty pail on hand to catch the loose paint chips as they fall. Line the floor with a drop cloth in case you miss any flakes. Because small flakes of paint may fly through the air, wear protective eye wear and a dust mask as you work to avoid getting paint chips in your eyes or inhaling the particles of paint.
Sand the ceiling, feathering any edges, to ensure that there are no ridges or uneven edges. Remove the sanding dust by wiping with a damp cloth or tack rag.
If there are uneven sections on the ceiling due to the thickness of paint removed you may need to create a smooth surface for repainting. Use patching compound to even out the ceiling. Apply the patching compound in a thin, even layer with a putty or broad knife. When the first application of filler is dry you can apply a second layer if necessary. Finish with a layer of all-purpose drywall compound and allow it to dry overnight.
Seal the cleaned and patched ceiling with 8350-100 Duralon Alkyd Pigmented Sealer before painting. This sealer helps prevent water marks on the ceiling and mildew growth.
Once the coat of 8350-100 Duralon Alkyd Pigmented Sealer is dry repaint your ceiling with A258-01 Duralon Muresco Ceiling White for non-service areas such as lounges, bedrooms and family rooms or A306-02 Imperlon Satin Acrylic Enamel White for service areas such as kitchens, laundries and bathrooms.