Thursday, 10 September 2009

Tips for painting a ceiling

Daughter-who-takes-photos has asked for some tips on painting ceilings. I thought to myself that not only could I give her some byut I could take advantage of my readership and see if they could add any! So here are mine and comments would be most welcome.

1. If possible do the ceiling first. It is unlikely that you will get many drips (though you do need to cover things in case) but by doing it first you will find the edge of the coving / joint with the wall easier to do.

2. Use a good (sheepskin preferred in my case) roller. Washed out after the ceiling is done it will last you a few ceilings and more than pay for itself. If you are little use a ten inch roller. If you are big and muscular use a twelve inch one. Push the roller up and down the tray a few times after loading it. Too much paint on the roller will cause it to drip.

3. Use a two or three inch brush for the coving / edges and around the light fitting.

4. Use a good emulsion paint (like Dulux). Very cheap paints will only mean you end up using more paint and effort because it will take an extra coat.

5. If possible stand on a piece of furniture - like a desk or table. Cover it with a cloth and sellotape the cloth on so there's no movement. It's much easier than moving a ladder around. You can then use the ladder to hold the roller tray. Or put the roller tray on the same desk/table but try to remember not to tread in it!

6. Paint in straight lines away from the window or main light source.

7. Do a coat on the ceiling and then go around the edges. By the time the edges are done the ceiling will be almost dry.

8. Allow the amount of time dictated on the tin before applying the second coat. It may well look slightly streaky for hours after it has been painted so don't panic if it doesn't look brilliant straight away.

9. A room that has been smoked in will probably require three coats. A smoke-free environment should only require two.

10. If, after it is properly dry, you think there is a bit that looks 'missed' but the rest looks OK you can 'touch-up' that bit with an extra run of the roller. In most cases of decorating you can't do that without it being obvious but with emulsion on ceilings it works OK.

P.S. In case you thought the illustration was part of the advice - DO NOT stand on an open paint tin...



  1. I learned from a decorator some years ago that if a room is smoked in (we were talking at that time about the Pottery) the smoke on a painted surface would always come through ordinary paint in time and discolour it. Apparently it has to be washed off (presumably with sugar soap) or covered with a proprietary sealant first. Fortunately for Helen and Ian they don't smoke.

  2. Rather than stand on anything, it's better to get one of the extra long handled roller thingies that let you paint ceiling while standing safely on floor!

  3. Sounds like you have the T-shirt! LOL

    all good advice.

    Love Granny

  4. You left out the best bit: wear swim goggles to keep the paint from dripping in your eyes! :0)
    The Canadian Chickadee

  5. all great advice, can't think of adding anything. And...tell her good least it will be done and she won't have to worry about it for MANY MANY years to come. Oh I can feel the pain in the neck and shoulders already!....

  6. On number 3: get a brush that's cut on an angle. They cut a better line. You can use the same brush on windows and door frames, and you won't have to use tape. The angled brush allows you to paint a cleaner edge.

    (Liked the tip on painting away from the light source.)

  7. Thanks CJ! We'll have it done in no time!

    Have you ever tried the suggestion of the roller on a stick? Might have a look in B&Q for one as this won't be our only ceiling, and not sure about the standing on the desk idea for when we do the stairs!

  8. Thank you all for the wonderful advice. One coat done, one to go!


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