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Local Painters who’ll paint Vermiculite ceilings?

By moody - 18 July 2010 18


I’m quite new in Canberra, and recently brought an old 70’s unit to live in.  I hardly noticed it, but others keep pointing the old slightly stained Vermiculite(popcorn) ceiling, mentioning having it a lighter colour will make the rooms look more ‘open’. 

Since the carpets need replacing, the kitchen is crud, and the furniture I have is rubbish chipboard from moving from rental to rental, it’ll be ideal to have it painted before I spend any more on this place. 

Placing a false ceiling is out of the question because it would make it lower then the 2.4m building standards required, removing it would be a nightmare mess, and there’s a chance it could contain asbestos. 

Could anyone recommend some professional painters for this type of work.  Thanks.

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18 Responses to
Local Painters who’ll paint Vermiculite ceilings?
nothingtoprove 9:54 pm 27 Jul 10

First Class Painting & Decorating.
0421 763 600

Talk to Karl.

We recently had Karl paint our home, very good price and beautiful work, also a kind man. Im sure he could help.

westyonline 9:44 pm 20 Jul 10

AA Man is spot new steel studs hard up to the ceiling,and screw some 10mm gyprock to it,this will also give you a cavity in which to run elec cables or copper pipes thrugh it without having to run surface mounted building inspector is going to pick you up on that,their flat out trying to read the tape measure anyway!

Affirmative Action M 9:06 am 19 Jul 10

Either put Gyprock straight onto it or fit a new 50mm false cieling – there are several types available some with good insulation qualities.

No one is going to notice or worry or check that the cileing is 2.35m instaed of 2.4m.

Thumper 8:51 am 19 Jul 10

Just paint it. Seriously, it’s no different than painting a rough rendered house, just upsaide down.

For bits that the roller doesn’t quite get just use a brush.

You’ll save yourself a fortune.

grumpyrhonda 8:43 am 19 Jul 10

It like an inch thick and looked like someone had skinned a feral sheep then glued a strip to a Gladwrap tube. And it worked an absolute treat.

That had me cracking up laughing.

outdoormagoo 8:39 am 19 Jul 10

We plastered the one in our apartment before we rented it out. Only added about 1-2mm to the height of the ceiling and it is now completely smooth and was a breeze to paint white.

We chose to do it because vermiculite can actually trap smells and we didn’t think that was the best thing in a rental property.

troll-sniffer 11:22 pm 18 Jul 10

I happen to think the vermiculite is actually a wonderful ceiling material especially when done right. It has fantastic acoustic properties so that the interiors of these old-fashioned units are invariably much more peaceful for the occupants than they otherwise would be. In addition the material is totally fireproof, so a fire in a unit that doesn’t spread to floorboards could conceivable go out without the need for outside intervention.

Some of the units around were given a dull grey coating, whereas others close by had a much whiter and brighter version, which is nearly as white as the painted one ended up.

As for the suggestion to scrape it off… what would you do with the rough bottom of the ceiling slab left behind? Render it? You’d be back where you started.

cleo 10:55 pm 18 Jul 10

Moody I know what you mean, maybe I should ask my brother, he is a painter!

sexynotsmart 6:22 pm 18 Jul 10

Last Christmas, we did this at LoveBump’s parents’ place in Adelaide. Vermiculite ceiling, rough stuccoed walls. I guess the 70s were good to them.

Painting the stuff isn’t as daunting as you may think.

We tried spraying, using one of those ‘Little Beaver’ things from my folks. The result was OK, but it took forever to cover even a small area properly.

troll-sniffer said :

I used a roller with long pile

Troll hit it in one. We tried a regular pile roller (from the Bunnings next to Parafield Airport) but it still needed 3-4 times over to cover everything. Then but sheer luck we found an absolute mother of a roller in a mum-and-dad hardware store.

It like an inch thick and looked like someone had skinned a feral sheep then glued a strip to a Gladwrap tube. And it worked an absolute treat.

georgesgenitals 4:55 pm 18 Jul 10

What would it cost to scrape the vermiculite away completely? It’s a bit porous, so paint may not work so well in the longer term.

moody 4:16 pm 18 Jul 10

Ok, thanks. I came across an estimation of one litre of paint total per metre square. That’s a lot of extra weight to hang off a sprayed rubbishy layer, but if it’s worth it, it’s worth it, and hopefully won’t need doing again for another 20/30years. I suppose with a professional painter it could be done within a week, doing it myself, especially in these dark months, probably would take a month or so.

troll-sniffer 1:24 pm 18 Jul 10

I did my own and it took a while and cost a lot but well worth it.

Most competent painters will be able to do a spray job, however I used a roller with long pile, and bought special paint from a mob in Sydney. I think they were called Durobond. I used 22 litres for the lounge/dining and kitchen.

Expect to fork out maybe $3000-$4000 for a painter to do the job, or spend $1000 on the paint to do it yourself.

I-filed 12:50 pm 18 Jul 10

Pork Hunt said :


Yeah – much better suggestion than mine!

Pork Hunt 11:01 am 18 Jul 10


I-filed 10:03 am 18 Jul 10

If cost is a problem, because the surface is so rough, you probably don’t need a professional painter for the job. Get lots of good acrylic paint – usually in ceiling flat white is the go for any ceiling, but those lumpy ceilings can actually take a semi-semigloss – experiment until you have the consistency right (not too thick!),and use a stubbly round large paintbrush that will fill between the lumps. The paint shop in Mitchell is incredibly helpful with advice for amateur painters about which paintbrush to use(forget their name, but they’re behind one of the museum storage buildings). Those ceilings are horrible, and drop concrete dust that smells. They should definitely be thoroughly painted. Good luck!

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