How To Paint a Ceiling



Painting ceilings requires a little more technique than painting a wall.  You need to make sure you have the correct tools, the right kind of paint and patience.


What type of Ceiling Paint to Use 


A typical ceiling paint can be used in most rooms.  Flat paint masks imperfections and is the standard sheen level for ceiling paint.  However, you can use eggshell or satin finish paint for ceilings if you require them to be washable, like in a bathroom or utility room.


Materials Needed 

Paint roller, Paint brush, roller tray, drop cloth, extension pole, painter's tape, wet washcloth, Floetrol


Instructions For Painting a Ceiling



  1. Add Floetrol to your ceiling paint.  Floetrol is a latex paint additive that delays the drying time of the paint.  This reduces roller and brush marks.
  2. Always paint a ceiling from a corner then proceeding across the ceiling following the shortest wall.  For instance, if you are painting a 10' x 20' room start in a corner and paint across the room near the 10 foot wall.  If you try to paint down the 20 foot wall, your paint will dry to fast and leave lap marks.
  3. Have someone cut in the ceiling with a brush and the other person roll.
  4. Work your way completely across the shortest wall, making sure to keep a wet edge of paint (you should leave a bead of paint near the edge of where your roller is rolling onto unpainted wall, this will prevent seeing lap marks.)
  5. Continue working at a quick pace to complete the ceiling.  NEVER stop in the middle of a ceiling, you will have to repaint it to hide the lap mark this will cause.
Tips For Painting a Ceiling 
Always use an extension pole.  Using a ladder has several disadvantages compared to rolling the paint from the floor.  If you use a ladder you will be continually going up and down the ladder and moving it all over the room.  Not only will your legs be sore, but you will be wasting time adjusting the ladder while your paint is drying on the ceiling.  Also, you can see the ceiling better from the floor compared to being right up next to it.  You will be able to see skips and misses from the floor and correct them.
It is typical to paint crown molding the same color as your ceiling.  This gives the room a rich and open look.
Always keep a wet washcloth with you while painting a ceiling.  If your roller or brush drips and hits a painted wall you can wipe the paint off before it dries.
Lap marks are your enemy.  They are caused when the paint dries too quickly or if you try to stretch the paint too far. Always maintain a bead of paint near the unpainted section of ceiling while you are rolling so you can roll into the wet edge.  This will eliminate roller marks.
Using Floetrol is also a helpful hint.  Ceilings are the warmest area in your room even if you turn the heat down or off.  Heat rises and causes paint to dry very quickly.  Floetrol is the additive to use if you are using latex paint.  If you prefer to paint with oil based paints you can use a retarder called Penetrol
If you are painting a textured ceiling, see the related item below labeled "How To Paint a Textured Ceiling".

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