How To: Paint A Ceiling

What you will need

  • Ceiling paint / Matt Emulsion
  • Dust sheets
  • Paint roller with extension handle
  • Paint tray
  • Paint brush
  • Step ladder
  • Paint kettle
  • Filler (if required)
  • Paint scraper (if required)
  • Masking tape (if required)



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  • 1 When painting a ceiling you can simply use a standard matt emulsion paint. Generally white is chosen, but you can choose any colour. For added convenience choose a specific ceiling paint. It has a high gel formulation which is easy to apply and provides less drip and splatter. Generally you will need two coats but read manufacturer’s instructions before starting. Additional Information: Painting the ceilings of your home is a job that needs planning before you start. The correct order for painting any room is to start with the ceiling prior to painting the walls and then finish off with timber architrave/skirting. Always plan your work and work systematically, so that you will not miss any bits, which will show up when the paint is dry. Matt is often the best choice as it helps to hide any surface imperfections.
  • 2 Before you start applying any paint you will need to have the room as clear as possible and any remaining furniture pushed to the centre of the room and protected by dustsheets. Flooring will also need to be protected with dustsheets. You will need to think about how you are going to reach the surface safely and comfortably, a suitable stepladder, or an extension handle is required.
  • 3 Apply masking tape to any skirting or architraves. Remove any light fittings if possible or alternatively cover with masking tape.
  • 4 Before you start painting, look at the ceiling. If there are any cracks in the ceiling, fill these with appropriate filler at this stage.
  • 5 When painting ceilings, start by painting around the edges, if you have coving, paint this also. Begin in one corner and work your way around the room. A paint kettle is great for bringing up a more manageable amount of paint for doing the brushwork. As you will be painting the walls next, apply the ceiling paint down about 2cm onto the wall with the first coat, that way when you apply the wall paint later you only have to "cut in" to the ceiling line with the wall colour. This makes it much easier to get a neat line. Top Tip: Dampen the roller with some water before starting. The roller will take the paint better when slightly damp.
  • 6 After cutting in, paint the rest of the ceiling using a roller. If it is stippled, you will need to use a long pile roller. If it is smooth plaster you can use a short pile roller. When rolling, make sure the roller is fully loaded with paint.
  • 7 Go on gently, use long even strokes and then go off gently.
  • 8 Leave to dry before applying a second coat (if required). Top Tip: If you have to leave to dry overnight, wrap brushes and rollers in plastic bags or tin foil so they can be used again without cleaning.