I have no idea what this stuff is but thankfully it was only used in one room - unfortunately that would be the largest room in the house, the great room which is roughly 30x15 and has a peaked ceiling.
The stuff is water soluble, which I discovered while trying to clean 10 years of tar and nicotine from 3 heavy smokers off all surfaces. Things were looking suspicious so I took a spray bottle and squirted one teensy squirt and sure enough, the stuff dissolved and dribbled down the ceiling (because its peaked so it ran from the high point where I squirted).
Not only is the whitish stuff on the ceiling not actual paint, they apparently ON PURPOSE put some gritty black stuff in it. There's a partial bucket of electrostatic powder in the garage that I bet is what they used.
So WHAT, WHY, and HOW are my questions.
WHAT could this stuff possibly be? I thought at first some kind of chalk based stuff, but it's got to be at least 100 years since that stuff was in common use and this ceiling was put up only 7 to 10 years ago.
WHY would anyone purposely put grit in ceiling - I don't know what to call it since its not paint - wash? Faux paint?
and HOW to paint over it now, with the grit and not being able to clean it that well because it dissolves and then you risk damaging the surface of the wallboard.
I've used TSP to clean all surfaces in the house (thankfully no carpeting) and I've been using KILZ Original as primer.
I've seen gritty paint once before. It was actually a lot worse than this - the grit in this stuff on the ceiling here is pretty widely distributed in comparison.
This was over 50 years ago in an at-the-time 150 year old farmhouse that had plaster lathe walls. They had been wallpapered over several times, and the last coat of paint that went up in the room assigned to me as my bedroom was just like sandpaper. I actually sc r a p e d skin off my arm brushing against it one day. My dad actually sc r a p e d everything down to the bare plaster to get rid of it because it was such a hazard. Ahead of schedule, I mean, even before he started replacing all the floor joists and rewired the entire house and pulled the old chimney down. Horrible stuff.
Seriously TOH? I had to space out SC R A P E D above because you edited out the R A P E in the middle of the word. Somebody needs to turn down the naughty language filters a notch or 10. That's ridiculous. R A P E is not a dirty word, its just a word for a horrible act. And when preceded by SC its not even that.
I have never been able to figure out why anyone would put any grit at all in paint.