How to paint a ceiling like a pro

Painting a room is perhaps the easiest and least expensive do-it-yourself project that can have a BIG impact on your home. However, many homeowners find painting the ceiling somewhat intimidating. In order to complete a room, painting the ceiling is part of the project.

Yes, compared to the walls, painting a ceiling does require some special equipment – a stepladder and an extension pole. It is somewhat more physically demanding than painting the wall. However, just like painting the walls, putting a little extra time and effort into prep time pays big dividends in overall time, effort, cleanup and the end result. Here are some tips to help you finish the job just like the pros.

Remove as much of the furniture as you can.

Not only does it make moving in the space easier, it limits damage that can be caused to furniture. Make sure to cover the furniture you don’t remove with drop cloths.

Tape up

If you are painting the entire room, the ceiling is where you should start. And you may avoid taping. If you are painting the ceiling only, use painter’s tape where the walls meet the ceiling and around any molding on the ceiling’s edges.

Prime time

It may seem like an added step, but adding a coat of primer provides a stain barrier and can make it possible to finish the ceiling with only one coat of paint.

Cutting corners

Starting in one corner, with a 2″ trim brush, paint a three foot cut-line along one wall, then the adjoining wall. While the cut-line is still wet, start painting the ceiling with the roller. Just like painting a wall, painting while the cut-line is still wet will help reduce visible lines.

Fill up

Fill the well of the roller tray with paint and move the roller over the paint until the nap is covered. Don’t submerge the roller; just glide it over the paint in the shallow part of the tray until the nap is completely covered and paint drips are minimal.

Roll on

Unless you’re 6’6” and working on 8’ ceilings, you’ll need to attach the extension pole to the roller. Use the paint-filled roller to create a zigzag pattern measuring 3-4 feet square. Then go over the same area using straight strokes to even out the paint. Remember to work while the paint is still wet to avoid leaving paint lines. Paint smaller sections and be sure to feather the edges to reduce visible lines between sections.

The secret is to work quickly and efficiently. Prep work cuts painting time, which means you’ll be working with wet paint and less likely to leave visible lines. Like any painting project, you may need to repeat the process. Be sure to clean any splatters and drips immediately, and to clean paintbrushes, roller and tray with warm soap and water when you’re finished.

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