All You Need To Know On How To Paint A Ceiling

Because of leaky roofs, smoke and spills, there are many neglected ceilings, with ugly sight of stains, cracked surfaces and corners and fading paint. This affects the whole look of the room and is definitely something anyone would want to fix. Are you wondering what’s the solution to this problem? Painting your ceiling can make any room seem more beautiful, bigger, warmer and cosier!

living room with white walls, lights on the ceiling, big carpet with sofa and table on it

Once you get the room prepared, you will find that painting yours is a project that goes quickly and with only minimum effort. Do you want to give your tops a little spruce with a fresh paint job? Follow our step-by-step guide and get the fantastic finish you’re looking for!

What you need to know before you start painting your ceiling

It is essential to do some planning before you begin painting. Consider the primary factors of the right paint and equipment, suitable colour and space preparation. Keep on reading to find out all you need to know.

Pick The Right Paint

  • Minimise drippage by picking high-viscosity paint. This could be an interior latex paint with a higher than average thickness. Choosing a standard wall paint would not be a good idea.
  • Prefer paint with a matte sheen. It is considered the best paint for ceilings and easier to wipe compared to those with flat sheen. It will not call attention to ceiling bumps, cracks, or seams left by poorly finished drywall joints, too.
  • You can use paints with a hint of gloss in places where you want to accentuate the architecture. Some of them could be eggshell, satin, or semi-gloss paint.
  • Most ceiling paints have a flat finish since any kind of glossiness, even the slight eggshell or satin sheen shows up on them. You can also paint your ceiling in high-gloss sheens to let more ambient light reflect throughout the room.

Choose the right equipment for painting

  • Get a lambswool roller and extension pole. A thick-nap roller with a pole that can extend is the best tool to use when painting
  • You could also use a paintbrush, but it’d make for a messy job. Having a high-quality lambswool paint roller will ensure a smooth layer without bubbles or bumps.
  • To know the length of the roller pole, you’ll need, consider the height of your ceiling. If it is a standard 2.4m, you’ll only need a 0.61m pole. If it is higher, 4m, opt for a 2m pole.

closeup to paintbrush painting a ceiling

Pick Your Colour

  • White ceiling paint is the most popular. It creates the illusion of amplified dimensions and added light and can harmonise with any wall colour.
  • You may want to create a contrast and paint your ceiling in dark colours. Just make sure to keep the walls light; otherwise, it will act as a visual stop.
  • Other colour options could be red or navy blue. If you have a spacious, well-lit room, you can use these schemes to heighten drama, accentuate the same hue’s furnishings, and create contrast.

Prepare The Area

  • Remove any furniture you can lift from the room. If you leave them there, you risk splatters and dripping paint on them, and they will also make your job harder. It is better to remove your furniture to another room entirely.
  • Protect your floor by laying canvas drop cloths on it before you start working. You can also use an old set of dust sheets.
  • Wear old clothes to avoid ruining any new ones. You can also wear a hat to protect your head and hair. Disposable rubber gloves could also be helpful.

Prepare the ceiling surface before painting

Preparing the ceiling surface is as important as painting it. The prep will affect the results of your DIY project significantly and will offer a perfect finish. Follow our step-by-step instructions, and don’t worry about it!

What you’ll need

  • 180-grit sandpaper sponge
  • Rag 
  • Painter’s or masking tape
  • Stain-blocking primer
  • Paint tray
  • Thick-nap roller with an extension pole
  • Putty knife
  • Filler
  • Primer
  • Paintbrush
  • Paint roller

paint tray, paintroller and brush in white colour, on the floor

Step 1: Sand and wipe down your ceiling

  • Run a 180-grit sandpaper sponge lightly across your entire ceiling using a circular motion. That way, you will remove any grime and dust that has built up naturally over time. 
  • Dampen a rag and run it across the surface of the ceiling to clean up the dust from sanding. If you don’t wipe off the sanding dust before you begin to paint, you’ll apply paint to it instead of the ceiling itself.
  • You should not sand a textured ceiling.
  • If there are any imperfections, use a suitable filler to repair them.

Step 2: Mask the area around the trim

  • Use tape to mask the area around the trim.
  • Stick its adhesive side firmly against the edge of the trim where it meets the ceiling. You can use a putty knife over the tape to firmly press it down for a good seal.
  • If your wall has no trim, butt the tape’s edge directly up against the corner where the wall meets the ceiling. 
  • By doing so, you will prevent applying paint to the top of your wall accidentally.

Step 3: Wrap painter’s tape around light fixtures

  • To protect your lights, press the adhesive side of a strip of tape tightly against their metal sides. 
  • Make sure to press the upper edge of the tape against the ceiling, or paint could leak through and stick to the light fixture.
  • It is better to use an angled brush to paint the areas close to the fixture so that there won’t be any unpainted gaps beside this when you remove the tape.
  • Make sure to turn off the power at the breaker if you decide to remove the lights before you paint.

 The ceiling lamp is sealed with masking tape during the repair. Protection of the light bulb during repair from fine dust

Step 4: Apply a coat of stain-blocking primer to the ceiling

  • For the best results, use a primer with a stain blocker
  • Pour the primer into a tray. Glide the roller across the top until you cover it with primer
  • Apply one even coat to the ceiling by rolling the primer in straight lines
  • Let 30 minutes for the primer to dry before you proceed to paint the ceiling. 
  • You’ll only have to give one coat of paint if you use a primer first.

Step-by-step guide: How to paint your ceiling

After your primer has dried, it is now time to paint your ceiling. Follow our step-by-step guide to make the job easier and get the best results.

What you’ll need

  • Thick-nap roller with an extension pole
  • Angled brush
  • Roller tray
  • Ladder 
  • Paint colour

Step 1: Cut in along the corners

  • This is a step you need to take if you don’t cover the wall’s top edges with painter’s tape.
  • Cut in along the ceiling’s edge, where the trim meets the wall, using an angled brush. This type of brush will allow you to paint more precisely, and you won’t risk getting paint on the wall.

Step 2: Pour the paint into a tray and dip in your roller

  • In the beginning, pour about 2 cups (470 mL) of colour into a paint tray
  • For the roller to not become saturated with paint, it is better not to submerge the entire roller head
  • It is better to lightly graze the roller across the surface of the paint 3-4 times until the roller is coated.

close up to person painting, using a paint roller in the paint tray, wearing protective cover for clothes

Step 3: Set up a stepladder if you have a high ceiling

  • If your ceiling is higher than 2m, set up a stepladder to reach every part of it. 
  • Set it up under the first section you plan to paint. 
  • Once you’ve covered the roller in paint, stand on the third step of the ladder to reach the ceiling.

Step 4: Paint the ceiling in zigzag lines

  • Dip the roller into the paint tray and then coat evenly
  • Cover the ceiling with a layer of paint by creating “W” or “V” shapes without removing the roller from the ceiling’s surface. 
  • Maintain even pressure on the roller as you move it across the ceiling to create even textures.
  • Paint the ceiling before the cut-in line dries to prevent a clear line from forming between the edge and the ceiling’s centre. Wet edges improve the finish and help in blending sections.

Step 5: Paint in sections until you cover the entire ceiling with zig zags

  • When you’re done with painting zig zags across 1 section of the ceiling, move on and paint another area
  • Overlap with the previous section to blend the paint you’ve already applied with the new part.
  • Make sure that you’ve covered the entire surface with zig zags.

Young woman on a ladder,painting ceiling with white dye indoors

Step 6: Paint over the zig zags with straight lines of paint

  • Move the roller across the ceiling in lines
  • The lines should overlap by about 2.5cm, so there aren’t visible gaps between broad lines when the paint dries.
  • Once you’ve covered the ceiling, let the paint dry overnight.
  • If you’ve applied a primer, you don’t need to apply a second coat of paint.
  • If you need more coverage and more than just the first coat, let the paint dry completely between coats.

Step 7: Clean up your supplies

  • Once you’re done with the paint job, tear down the painter’s tape from the walls and lights
  • Throw away any drop cloths you had on the floor. 
  • Wash the paint roller in soapy, hot water.
  • Remove any drop cloths from your furniture or bring back the ones you had moved out of the room.

Extra painting tips

Here are some extra painting tips to help you with your painting project. Follow them for a more straightforward process and better-looking results.

  1. For smooth ceilings, use a low nap roller and for a textured ceiling, use one with 1cm or 2cm nap.
  2. To avoid pesky roller marks, use long brush strokes for ample coverage.
  3. Use the tray regularly to load the roller with ceiling paint.
  4. Don’t roll directly over your head. If you decide to do so, it will be easier to use the correct size nap roller cover and the pole’s right length.
  5. Wipe any spatters and drips immediately with a damp rag.
  6. Clean your rollers, brushes, trays and other supplies in a big sink or tub using warm soap and water. Then, set them out to air dry.
  7. If the texture of the ceiling seems loose, you may try to use a paint sprayer.
  8. When using the paintbrush, don’t push it too hard. Apply just enough pressure to put a slight bend in the bristles for better-looking results.
  9. If you want to paint an entire room, begin with the ceiling before moving on to the walls.

A man painting the ceiling

It is easy for ceilings to get overlooked when it comes to painting and decorating the house. Although many consider that painting your home’s top is hard to do, it can actually be an easy home improvement project that will take you no longer than a weekend. All you need to do is get the right equipment and follow our instructions. These will help you get the job done right and transform the ambience of any room! If you enjoyed this project, you may want to paint your bathroom, kitchen tiles or even kitchen cabinets next! We are sure nothing can stop you when you decide to upgrade your home’s interior!

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