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The Home Depot

How to Paint Ceilings Like a Pro

Pro Referral > Home Guides > Painting > How to Paint Ceilings Like a Pro
How to Paint Ceilings Like a Pro

Every job is not all-about doing the work. It’s making sure that before you begin you have everything together that you need to handle the task. Same concept when you’re about to paint a ceiling. In this case, the materials you’ll need are based on a couple of factors: The ceiling’s texture, the measurements of the area and the right ladder.

  1. 1.Tools And Materials

    For textured ceilings, the roller itself should be a thick-napped one. A smooth napping will do the trick on a non-textured ceiling.”

    You’re going to need a paint roller, but you should buy one that has a handle which can extend a few feet. You won’t need one if you’re using a ladder or scaffolding. Experts prefer to stand on the floor, though; simply because it’s less of a hassle. You don’t have to move your scaffolding or ladder around.


    For textured ceilings, the roller itself should be a thick-napped one. That way you’ll be able to glide-over all of the irregularities. A smooth napping will do the trick on a non-textured ceiling.


    Probably the biggest issue you’ll encounter is that, in most cases, you’re covering a white surface with white paint.

  2. 2.Prepping And Priming

    Things will run much more smoothly if you get all of the furniture out of the room before you start this project. Can’t store everything somewhere else? Lay down part of your drop cloth in an out-of-the-way corner, then move and safely stack the stuff in that area. Once that’s done, continue to protect the entire room with the drop cloth.


    Time to whip-out the blue painter’s tape; spread it around the area of the wall where it touches the ceiling and around the trim below.


    You want to prime the surface before laying down the first coat. Make sure that the primer has a stain-blocker in it. By doing this, you’ll only have to give the ceiling a single coat of the less-expensive primer.

  3. 3.Cut-in Line

    A cut-in line is how you want to kick-off the actual painting. What we mean is where the wall meets the ceiling, start slapping a 3-inch strip of paint – with a paintbrush, not a roller – around the room. This is where you will need a ladder.


    Begin in the corner of the ceiling. You’ll want to move quickly because while the cut-in line is wet, you’ll start coating the ceiling with the appropriate roller. The goal here is to get the paint on so you merge the cut-in line with the majority of the ceiling’s surface.

  5. 4.Technique

    Here’s where the rubber meets the road. The pros use this technique for painting with a roller. You can apply this method to not only your ceiling, but any wall work which you may have in the future:


    • Slowly plunge the roller into the well of the paint tray

    • Use the shallow-end of the tray to even-out the paint by lightly pressing down on the roller and rolling it back-and-forth

    • When you feel like the roller won’t drip from any excess, create a zigzagging pattern on the ceiling

    • Roll over that zigzagging pattern using straight strokes. This will better disperse the paint

    • Let that coat dry, and then analyze the ceiling. Does it need another coat? If so, simply repeat the process


    Don’t save this project for a rainy day. When the air is full of moisture a water-based paint won’t dry correctly. By veering clear of damp days you’ll ensure that you don’t mess up your entire weekend.

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