A water-base paint containing zinc oxide and glue and coloring; used as a wash for walls and ceilings.
However, if you happen to own an older home in San Francisco and have paint that peels on the ceilings, you might define it as:
An innocent looking but secretly evil wash that prevents paint from properly adhering, thus leaving you with ceilings or walls that peel.
Now that you know the unfortunate disease that preys on older homes across the country, what’s the cure? Well, that depends. You can completely remove the calcimine, or you can attempt to seal it in so that it won’t be such a downer. The folks at plasterlord (no seriously, that’s the name of their website) have a great page dedicated to understanding if you have calcimine issues, and what your possible fixes entail.
While I’m not going to confess where I took the above picture of a peeling ceiling, I will confess that my house has not been immune from the scourge of this disease. I’ve got an Edwardian, built circa 1908, and they were still using the unfortunate combination of zinc-oxide, glue and evil back in those days, so I’ve had to deal with it. Although, to be honest, it was a relief to realize that the peeling paint wasn’t being caused by leaky pipes or other unfortunate conditions lurking behind the wall.
What about you dear readers? Have you ever had to deal with removing or coating over calcimine so you could get good paint adhesion? If so, what were your preferred methods? Any tips out there you want to share for people who are at the beginning of a painting project?