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How To Paint a Ceiling

Painting a ceiling is fairly simple, if you have a head for heights! If you are prepared beforehand, you can paint an average-sized ceiling in just a couple of hours. It takes just three steps to paint a ceiling:

  1. Get your equipment together.
  2. Prepare your ceiling.
  3. Get painting!

How to paint a ceiling: what you need

If you are doing a simple ceiling painting job, you won’t need much equipment. If you are painting walls and ceiling, always start with the ceiling first (the general rule is to work from top to bottom). To paint your ceiling, you will need: roller and roller tray, paint, filler, filling knife, sandpaper, sash brush, step ladder or extension handle.

How to paint a ceiling: prepare the surfaces

Clean, smooth surfaces are crucial when it comes to painting a ceiling. Cover your floor and any large furniture with dust sheets to protect them from rogue paint splatters, dust and filler. Make sure your ladder is set up safely and securely. First, fill in any holes or cracks. Once the filler has dried, sand until the surface is completely smooth. Use the sandpaper to sand any cracked or flacking bits of paint, too. When the surface has been sanded and smoothed, give it a dust down and run over it with a soft cloth soaked in water or sugar soap. This will prevent dust, hair or cobwebs being permanently painted into your ceiling! There is no need to use masking tape if you are doing your ceiling before your walls, unless you are using a bold colour on your ceiling and a lighter colour on the walls.

How to paint a ceiling: get painting!

Like many jobs, painting a ceiling is easier if there are two of you. If there are two (or more) you will need one set of ladders and one paint pot each. One person can go around the outside of the room, cutting in, while the other person can attack the main ceiling area with a roller. Be careful not to overload your roller; far from saving time, it will give you an uneven finish and a speckled face!

While the cutting in is still wet, take the roller and roll a strip of paint around the edge of the ceiling. This will help you to reduce splatter the walls. Next, work in strips from the narrowest point of the ceiling. This will help you to overlap on still-wet paint, and help to avoid join marks where dry paint has been painted over. Regardless of whether or not you know how to paint a ceiling, by following these simple steps and remembering to avoid overlapping dry paint with wet, you will get a smooth, professional finish.

Don’t forget to clean your equipment thoroughly! However, if you don’t finish your painting in one day, you can wrap it tightly in cling film to prevent the paint from drying out.

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