DIY and Crafts

How to paint a ceiling

Article by Homes to Love

When painting a room, always start with the ceilings first. Paint and prep them just as you would the walls. Here’s how…

Dropping the living area down a few steps has increased its lofty proportions. On the wall next to John is his work ‘The Second Fall’ (2010).

You will need

  • Quick-release painter’s tape
  • Sealer/primer
  • Paint
  • Paint tray
  • Paint roller
  • Roller sleeve – choose one depending on the desired finish
  • Two-inch angled paintbrush
  • Ladder


Getting started

Step 1
Is your ceiling ready?
Use the light test to check for imperfections, dents and uneven plaster work.  The light test is easy, simply hold up a bright light against the ceiling, if you find dents fill these in, then lightly sand until smooth. The same goes with uneven plaster work – lightly sand, once again use the light test to make sure the ceiling is looking even and ready for the next step.

Step 2
Clean your ceiling

Whether you’re renovating, building new or redecorating, this process is important as it removes dust and dirt. Use water and a little mild dishwashing detergent, along with a soft cloth or sponge. After you’ve cleaned the walls wipe them down with clean water to remove the soap residue. Alternatively use a smooth non-scratch broom to lightly dust off any dirt and dust.

Step 3
Tape the trim or the line where the ceiling meets the wall 

Use a quick release tape for this job and remove the tape immediately after painting, and before the ceiling dries. This will ensure you don’t peel off any paint with the tape.

Step 4
Prime the ceiling

Even ceilings that have been painted many times need to be primed. In fact, primer helps maximise the coverage of paint and gives the finished coat a more uniform appearance.  On older surfaces a pigmented sealer might be required.

Step 5
Brush where you can’t roll

Brush on paint around the edges of the ceiling and in the corners, where your roller can’t reach, with a two-inch angled brush. Extend this painted area out by two to three inches from the corners.

Step 6
Technique – use your roller vertically from top to bottom

Try to paint using one consistent stroke overlapping the next line without lifting the roller, this will remove the visible run. Continue in sections until you’re finished. Paint one wall at a time.  Most experts recommend two coats, for darker shades three coats may be required.


Golden painter’s tips

Brush painting tips:

  • Hold the brush like a pencil
  • Don’t have too much or too little paint on your brush; coat the bristles only about a third of the way up the brush
  • Paint with the edge of your brush, which is the slimmest side

3 steps to rolling like a super star:

Dip your roller into the primer/paint, rolling it back and forth across the tray’s ridges a few times to remove any excess paint which will prevent drips. Make sure the roller gets evenly coated.

  • First roll – get the paint on the wall
  • Second roll – smooth out the paint
  • Final roll – lightly roll over the painted area

Cutting in:

  • Start away from the edge and slowly work your way in, this way you can see how much paint you have on the brush, and can eliminate paint drips and runs

Achieving the perfect finish:

  • Always sand in between coats. Yes, we know this is tedious but this is what the pros do.

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