How to Paint a Ceiling

Your guide to refreshing this oft-overlooked surface.

Everything you need to know about painting a ceiling including how to paint a ceiling, what type of paint to use, and what tools make the job easy.

Ceilings are known as the fifth wall for a reason. A fresh coat of ceiling paint can quickly transform the ambience of an entire room.

But painting a ceiling can be tricky.

Fear not—we’re here to help. From picking the right tools to avoiding spills, we broke down everything you need to know to paint your ceiling like a pro. What’s more, our ceiling paint has high hiding power to get the job done in fewer coats, and it comes in a flat white finish that reflects light, brightening up any room and downplaying imperfections.

Read on for our foolproof tips on how to paint a ceiling to perfection.

1. Gather your paint supplies

2. Prep your ceiling properly

If you aren’t planning on painting your walls, apply Painter’s Washi Tape around the edges to protect your trim or walls. Apply your tape starting from the corner of a room, pressing down on the edges firmly to seal so paint doesn’t bleed through.

Take care to cover up your ceiling fans and light fixtures. Put down plenty of Drop Cloths to keep your furniture and floors safe from spills and splatters. Also make sure to dust your ceiling to clear away any dirt or debris.

When painting an entire room, always paint the ceiling first, and allow it to dry for 24 hours before painting your walls.

3. Work around the edges

Starting from a corner of the room, use your 2” Angled Brush to cut in a 3- to 4-inch wide section around the perimeter of the ceiling where it meets the wall. For this, you’ll want to use our Mini Tray, which is smaller than a paint gallon and easier to carry up and down the ladder.

4. Roll out

Next, start rolling onto the ceiling while your cut-in section is still wet. Work quickly in small sections, rolling forward, then backward so the paint doesn’t splatter. Skip the ladder for this step and use an extension pole instead, which makes it easier to reach the ceiling and move around the room faster.

Once you've finished a couple of sections, lightly go back over the paint with an unloaded roller to smooth it out. When it's dry, check to see if you missed any spots or if a second coat is necessary. (We highly recommend a second coat for the most professional look.)

When rolling a ceiling, make sure to roll across the room in one consistent direction. For the second coat, work in the opposite direction.

Let dry for at least 24 hours, and voila: you’ve got a beautifully painted ceiling.

Tricky Ceilings? Not a Problem

1. Popcorn finishes (and other textures): Believe it or not, popcorn ceilings can be painted; you’ll just need to use a roller with a longer (¾”) nap, which picks up more paint to fill in those grooves. You’ll also need more paint to get into the grooves of a textured ceiling, so be sure to factor than in when calculating how much paint to buy.

2. Vaulted ceilings: Forget that it’s awkward; you can still paint your vaulted ceilings with a little extra effort. Paint from the ground instead of a ladder (though you’ll still want to cut into the corners with a ladder and brush) using a 9” roller and extension pole. Start at the highest point of the ceiling and simply work your way down in small straight lines.


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