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Painting a Ceiling

Skill Level: Intermediate


Painting a ceiling isn’t a great deal different from painting a wall really, except that ceilings are in an awkward position.  Apart from this, they’re just the same. They don’t suffer the same wear as walls, which are brushed against, rubbed against, are more susceptible to the bumps and knocks of every day life.  But when they are recoated, the difference is immediately noticeable.  The fact is, ceilings are not something we look at that often.  There’s a bit more to consider when tackling a ceiling; they are generally just that bit too high and cannot be reached without either some form of aid, such as steps, or we need to use an extendable roller.  Fortunately, in today’s age there is a tool available for every job and occasion.



Preparation; The basis for any job if it is to succeed

It isn’t always possible to clear a room to be painted of everything in it, but move out of harms way anything you can. The more space you have, the less chance there is of bumping into something when you’re eyes are focussed above you.  Make sure you’ve got enough dust sheets; cover everything that is exposed and at risk from spillage.  Using a long handled broom, brush off the ceiling of any adhering dust or cobwebs.  Where required, it may be necessary to wash the ceiling with a dilution of sugar soap or mild detergent.  If so, then allow to dry thoroughly before commencing painting.



Applying the first coat

The better and more even the first coat, the easier the second, the better the finished job.  The first thing to do is”cut in” the wall to ceiling corner which runs around the whole room. 

Using a small brush, say 50mm, dip lightly into the paint and paint a band around the edge of the ceiling, angling the brush to achieve a neat finish into the corner.  If you are planning to paint the walls afterwards then this operation is not so critical.  But try and keep it neat.  Do the same around light fittings and ceiling roses and do make sure carpets are kept well covered to catch any drips. 

Use a cloth and dab up any drips on dust covers to avoid standing in them and taking paint into other rooms that are not protected.  When all “cutting in” is complete, roll in between the hand painted bands using an even and smooth rolling motion.  In most cases, a simple roller incorporating an extendable handle will suffice.  Use a systematic system of applying the paint.  Keep it in blocks of say a meter, this way the edges will

Remain wet as you progress along, and it’ll help you keep track of where you’ve been. 


A second Coat? A new Ceiling or Recoat?

If you are painting a new ceiling then it will need to be sealed using an appropriate PVA solution prior to painting.  In some cases it may take two or three coats of emulsion to achieve the desired effect and coverage due to the density of the new plaster.  In the case of repainting, it is very often worth applying a second coat even if you think that perhaps it doesn’t “really” need it!  You’ve got everything out; it’s only a few hours between coats and therefore waiting time.  And very often, if it looks good after one coat, it looks even better after two


When you feel you've got 100% coverage

When you feel you’ve got 100% coverage wait and check when fully dry, usually about four hours, but check the recommendations on the container.  If you’re satisfied, then it’s just a question of clearing up.  It’s worth cleaning your brushes, rollers and trays correctly ready for the next job.


Tools you will need:
Stanley 1-26-119 Max Finish Large Paint Pad
Stanley 1-26-119 Max Finish Large Paint Pad
- Stanley Dynagrip 50mm Synthetic Paint Brush
Stanley Dynagrip 50mm Synthetic Paint Brush
- Polycell Multi Purpose Polyfilla Powder - 1.8Kg
Polycell Multi Purpose Polyfilla Powder - 1.8Kg

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