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How to Paint a Ceiling

empty room with grey paint and paint tray, brushes, ladder and accessories.

Painting or refreshing your ceilings with a new coat of paint is a great way to breathe life into your home. We’ll give you some ceiling painting tips like how to pick the best ceiling paint, how to prep your ceiling and how to paint it properly, so you can revitalize your space in no time.

Skill Level: Beginner
  1. Step 1 Choose the Best Paint for Your Ceiling

    ceiling and corner walls of a room.

    The ceiling paint you choose should provide the most uniform surface possible while hiding any imperfections and stains that may be present. You'll also need to consider the adhesion of your paint if your ceiling is made of drywall, plaster or stucco. It should also be resistant to cracking and peeling. Traditionally, a flat latex paint is the best for ceilings, while glazes and eggshell or satin finishes can add a bit of sheen to the finished product.

  2. Step 2 Prepare Room for Painting

    man preparing room for painting.

    Once you've selected your paint, you'll need to ensure that your ceiling is ready for paint. Fill in any cracks or holes with drywall mud and sand everything smooth. Remove any dust or grime, as this can make it hard for paint to adhere. Make sure that you've turned off the power and removed or taped any fixtures that you don't want to get covered in paint. Use a drop cloth to protect your floors and overlap them by at least 12-inches to ensure that paint doesn't get in between them. Remove any furniture from the room or cover everything in a tarp to protect from dripping paint or splatter.

  3. Step 3 Tape the Walls

    man taping the wall with tape.

    If you are not painting your walls, you'll need to mask them off with a 2-inch painters’ tape. You want a wider tape because you don't want the roller to hit the wall and mark it while painting the ceiling. If you are painting your walls as well (with the same colour), start with the ceiling and then paint about 2-3 inches down the wall as well, blending it in when you paint the walls later.

  4. Step 4 Paint the Corners with a Paint Brush

    hand painting corner between wall and ceiling.

    Paint or "cut in" the edges and corners where the ceiling meets the wall. By edging the paint here, you'll be able to roll the ceiling without having to go right to the edge, giving you much cleaner lines and hiding any brush strokes that are left behind from the paint brush.

  5. Step 5 Paint Ceiling with Roller

    woman painting ceiling with roller.

    Once you've edged your ceiling, roll the paint on in straight but varied strokes. Try to roll in staggered lines, ad perfectly straight rolls will show overlap marks more easily. Blend the lines so you have a uniform surface colour. Working in grid-like sections can make the job easier. Continue to cut and blend across the entire ceiling until it is completely covered. When painting textured ceiling or painting popcorn ceiling, do a test roll to ensure that the texture doesn't come off. If it does, you may need to paint it with a sprayer instead. For vaulted ceilings start from the highest point and work your way down to make the job easier.

  6. Step 6 Paint Second Coat If Needed

    empty bright room with fresh paint.

    If you feel like your colour could pop a bit more or you don't see the coverage you'd like, apply a second coat the same way as the first. Edge, then roll in staggered lines. Once this coat is complete, let it dry and inspect it to make sure the colour and coverage is adequate. Then, with your ceilings looking great, simply wash your brushes and rollers and let them air dry.

What You Need for This Project

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