3 Steps to professionally paint a ceiling Streetscape Painting

3 steps to professionally paint a ceiling

Apr. 22, 2013

Ceilings are often one of the most difficult elements of a room to paint. So, by applying the following steps you will find that you are immediately able to improve the finish of the next ceiling you need to paint.

Before you start there are a few things that you need to have available. I have included affiliate links with many of them to Amazon products where you can purchase what you dont already have.

Some of the obstacles and challenges that we will help you overcome include, painting around light fixtures and smoke detectors, how to deal with light sources, water/smoke/food stains, and working around furniture. Always our emphasis is on producing a high quality finish, and being safe, while keeping the work area clean. All of these elements to your project can be broken down into three steps 1) Arranging the room, 2) Preparing the surface, and 3) Applying the paint.

1) Arranging the room

Because your work is taking place overhead the first thing to consider is the horizontal surfaces which are exposed to splatters and drips. The easiest approach is to remove all furniture, wall hangings, curtains and any other loose items in the room. If this is not an option, you will need to make sure that these items are arranged to give you freedom of motion and are covered up. Furniture should go towards the middle of the room, giving you enough space to set your step ladder up between the items and the wall for the purpose of cutting in (edging) the ceiling where it meets the wall. If there are overhead lights you want to be able to reach these from the step ladder, so make sure that is possible and not blocked by the furniture. Sometimes light fixtures, usually if hanging down, also need to be covered. I find that a piece of plastic can be wrapped around these and taped to itself.

2) Preparing the surface

Sometimes a ceiling may need to be sanded to remove debris that was painted in during an earlier paint job. The easiest way to do this is with a pole that has a sanding pad attached. But if that is not available climbing your step ladder with a piece of sandpaper can work. Another common issue that can easily be overcome with the right products and know how is stains. These most commonly result from water leaking through from above, smoke rising from the room, or something spraying up and sticking. Either way the best treatment is to use a stain blocking primer before applying ceiling paint. The best for controlling the widest variety of stains that Im aware of is Zinssers B-I-N  they also manufacture an oil paint that can be used as a finish ceiling paint.

3 Steps to professionally paint a ceiling Streetscape Painting

3) Applying the paint

Although this final step is the part that everyone will see, if the first two steps are taken you are more than half way to producing a really high quality finish. So the application of your finish ceiling paint can be best described with the help of a diagram. We will consider it taking 2 sub-steps to produce the best looking job possible.

The first is called the cut in (edging with a brush) and is drawn on the sample room in blue. For this you need a brush and partially filled can and a step ladder. You will make your way around the edge of the room carefully brushing the paint out and feathering the inside edge. Also make a path around the items in the centre of the ceiling.

The second part is the roll. This should be done in a sequence that allows the painter to apply paint in small sections and move around the room while keeping a wet edge to the paint. I have provided a sample sequence in the diagram above each numbered red area represents a new spot to apply a roller sufficiently filled with paint to cover the given space. This has to be judged based on the nap of the roller and size of the ceiling to determine how large each of those sections would be. The goal is to use as much paint as can be smoothed out and avoiding leaving the edges dry. Typically when I roll a ceiling I aim to make each of those sections about two roller widths across by about 3-4 feet long. If the ceiling is smooth drywall or plaster I would normally use a 10-15mm nap roller sleeve.

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