Saturday, December 7, 2013

Sodablasting Pressed Metal Ceilings

I recently had an email from a reader, Bridget, sharing some photos of the restoration of the pressed metal ceilings in her Queenslander and I've just fallen in love with them.

The ceilings come complete with a cornice and are in fantastic condition (they possibly didn't sit under a leaky roof for years). They're also done in the most beautiful patterns.

Bridget introduced me to the idea of sodablasting, which is how they had their ceilings stripped ready for painting. It's similar to sandblasting but uses bicarb of soda. Neither Dan or I had ever heard of it before. 

We'd love to try the soda blasting on our ceilings and I rang a few providers to get some insights. Unfortunately, because ours are painted in lead paint, I was advised it wasn't an ideal approach as it would spread the lead dust everywhere. The costs were also high and I couldn't find anyone willing to take the job on over Christmas, which is when we need it done.  

So, we're back to Plan A for now.

You may remember we initially did the Kitchen Ceiling with Peel Away and, while it was time consuming, we think that's the way we'll go again in the rest of the ceilings.

It does involve bringing water inside - Dan had to use a high pressure hose last time to get it all off. That wasn't ideal then and it's even less so now that the floors are polished.

So, Dan's planning to build a bund wall out of framing and a large membrane to contain the mess as best as possible. I'll be standing by with the wet dry vac to try and keep on top of it too. Luckily, none of the area is wired yet making this approach possible (although not ideal).

For the lack of a better option though, we'll have to make it work!


  1. Wow those ceilings are incredible. I so have a soft spot for pressed metal ceilings (don't tell Betsy though as she has horsehair plaster and may get tetchy!). Yours are going to be so, so worth all the hard work and mess. mel x

  2. It's good that you considered the health and safety aspect over convenience. One day you will look back at your new ceilings and all those decisions it took to make it so nice, and it will feel like a lifetime ago. We forget all our hard work, when the final product is gleaming. Quite a bit of work to be completed before then.

  3. Don't you just love the "Institution Green" on the walls. That's the same colour as the kitchen was/is painted in our Qld'er in Howard. Must've been all the rage once. I look forward to seeing you progress and you have inspired me to take some pics of our marathon reno too.