How to paint a ceiling

How to paint a ceiling

A fresh coat of paint on the walls can do wonders for a room and it’s worth knowing how to paint a ceiling, as that makes a difference too.  It will need a refresh every few years but it doesn’t have to be the worst job in the world if you know how to do it right.

Is it hard to paint a ceiling?

Make no mistake, it is a time consuming job but it doesn’t have to be difficult if you prepare properly.  Like every painting job, you will need time and the right tools.

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What kind of paint should I use?

It’s important to choose the right type of paint as different finishes suit different rooms (ie semi-gloss is good for bathrooms while satin and eggshell are better for dining rooms).  For the ceiling, flat paint or ceiling paint is usually best as any glossiness will really show up in the light.  Flat paint is the most popular because it does not show imperfections so much as it does not reflect light directly.  Ceiling paint is designed cover well, to hide imperfections and cover cracks, and is normally flat white.  You will only need one coat when using ceiling paint as it is more viscous, so drips less.  It differs from wall paint in that it is thicker and not as durable, because you won’t be scrubbing the ceiling to clean it, as you can with walls.

White is always a common choice for ceilings as it will fit with any colour scheme that you have.  It brightens up the room and can help give an illusion of more space.   Alternatively, you can make the ceiling a feature, much like an accent wall, by painting it a bold colour, or go for a soft sky blue to give the room a breezy feel.  This works best with flat ceilings that do not have much damage.

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Where do I start?

As with every painting job, you need to start by protecting the room; move the furniture to another space if you can to avoid any splatters, or to the center of the room and then cover it well with drop cloths.  You need to cover the floor in drop cloths too as there will be some spills no matter how careful you are.  If you are also painting the walls, it does not matter if you them before or after the ceiling.  If you are doing them after though, you will need to protect them with plastic sheeting or dust cloths.

Remove any fixtures that you can, such as lights, or cover then with a plastic bag so they won’t get any spills or splatter on them.  Then vacuum the ceiling to get rid of any dirt and dust, so the paint will stick better.  It’s a good idea to sand any rough parts too, then vacuum again.  Now use painter’s tape to protect any trim or molding that you have.

Can I paint the ceiling with a roller?

Yes, a paint roller is the easiest as a brush will be too time consuming and awkward for the entire ceiling, and a paint sprayer may cause more splatter.  Get an extendable handle for the roller so you don’t need to use a ladder.

Firstly, use an angled paint brush (see here for our guide to paint brushes) to cover the edges of the ceiling, around 2-3″ all round.  Then use the roller to cover the ceiling.  It’s a good idea to do this in sections, overlapping as you go onto the next section to get an even coating.

Once you have finished, allow the ceiling to dry thoroughly before removing the painter’s tape and putting fixtures and furniture back in the room.

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If you would like help from the experts, Herts Decorators provide high quality and professional decorating services to our clients across Hertfordshire, book a free estimate with our team today!

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George Ryland