The ceilings I need to paint are made of that old fibrous plaster often referred to as 'horse hair' plaster. The old paint is flakey and peeling off and when we repainted some 3 years ago it didn't hold for long and the peeling started again. As the ceilings are of great heritage value and beautifully decorated I was hoping to find a product that would cover the old paint and hold for many years to come. Perhaps a sealant and then a coat of paint. Can you help please?
Once the existing paint is removed and the ceiling washed (see our paint stripping project ) with a mild sugar soap solution to degrease, it may be best to look at painting with a limewash. This is available in different colours with the colouring being done with natural pigments. Limewash is also an alkaline and as such has anti bacterial properties and is a great defence against woodworm and other wood boring insects. Its also a great fire retarder. It also allows the structure to breathe, reducing condensation. These things explain why it has been so extensively used throughout history to protect historic buildings. Most decorators merchants will be able to get limewash for you.