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Steps to paint your ceilings | The Paint People

6 Steps to Paint Your Ceiling Like a Pro


Even if you like painting your home, you probably don’t like to paint the ceiling. It can make your back hurt, tire out your arms and literally be a pain in the neck.

But, especially in the bathroom and kitchen, where moisture can have an effect, painting the ceiling is an important part of redecorating any room.

Here are just a tips to make sure you know what to do when it’s time to paint the ceiling.

1. Pick Your Colour

Most people opt for white ceilings. But the characteristics of your room might make other colours a better choice. If you want to make a room with high ceilings feel a little more intimate, think about painting the ceiling in a darker colour.

Large rooms can give you the opportunity to get creative with a different shade of your wall colour.

2. Get a Work Platform

To help reduce the strain on your arms, neck and back, try using a work platform. It will help you get closer to the ceiling and make painting it that much easier. Ladders can work, but you’ll be constantly climbing up and down them. Extension poles help, but they put you far away from the surface you’re painting and they take a little extra muscle. You may still need some extension even on a work platform.

3. Prepare the Room & Ceiling

You should always paint your ceiling before your walls. Ceiling paint can drip on walls and you don’t want that to happen after you’ve painted the walls. But there are other advantages too. Unlike when you paint your walls, preparing to paint the ceiling means everything in the room must be covered to protect against paint drips and splatter. So if you start with your ceiling, your room will be fully protected for the entire paint project.

If you’re only painting the ceiling, tape off the tops of the walls to protect them against the ceiling paint. Apply a coat of primer. This is especially important on the ceiling because it’s more susceptible to moisture seeping down from the floors or attic above.

4. Paint a Cut-Line

Paint rollers are not able to reach into the corners between the ceiling and walls and you’ll need to ‘cut in’ the edges of the ceiling with paint using a brush. But not any brush will do. Use a trim brush, with paint bristles tapered to one end, of 2 or 2.5 inches in width. Even if you have taped the walls, a clean cut line takes some care.

5. Roll On Your Paint

You can use a low-nap roller if your ceiling has no texture. If the ceiling was finished with stucco, use a ½” to ¾” nap roller depending on the depth of the stucco.

Pour paint into the roller tray no higher than where the ‘washboard’ part of the tray starts to slope away from the paint pool. This is to help avoid submerging the roller into the paint. Not only does that put too much paint on the roller, but it also puts paint on the ends of the roller, where it can drip and or get onto your walls.

Use the washboard section of the tray to get a consistent amount of paint around the entire roller. Paint in small sections of about three to four feet square, depending on your reach and how close you are to the ceiling. Roll back and forth in straight lines, overlapping each line, and try to distribute the paint evenly in the section you’re painting.

It’s important to roll the paint slowly. The faster you roll, the more splatter you’ll create. When you’re finished a section, move on to a section beside it and overlap the previous section.

6. Do You Need a second Coat?

After the first coat dries, check it closely for any issues, like a drop of paint that’s dried, or areas that you missed. If not, you’re done, nice job! Repeat step 5 if you need a second coat.

For more advice on painting your ceiling, or any other part of your home, call or visit your nearest The Paint People location.

Steps to paint your ceilings | The Paint People

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