September 25

6 Tips for Painting Ceilings and High Walls

Painting your home is one of the most economical ways to update your home without going through a time-consuming remodel. Painting a ceiling can be a little awkward to do on your own, even in spaces with lower or regular height ceilings. If you happen to have extra tall ceilings, it’s even more difficult.

Ceilings are often called the fifth wall, a term that emphasizes the oft-forgotten design aspects of the ceiling. It also emphasizes that ceilings are big projects.

painting ceiling

How to Get a Good Finish

Ceilings and high walls are often forgotten but have tons of untapped potential to make your home stand out. A ceiling can tie together any room, whether it’s painted brilliant white or a bold color of your choosing. Once you’ve decided on exactly what you want your ceiling to look like, you need to take the first steps.

1. Prep the Room

Before any paint is applied to the walls or ceiling, you need to prep the room first. Cover any large pieces of furniture and all the floors with drop cloths. Smaller furniture should be taken out of the room. You want to make sure to take everything down off the walls and roll back any area rugs. This will help prevent any paint splatters ending up on your floors or furniture. 

2. Paint with the Right Equipment

The type of painting equipment will be determined by how big your space is and how tall your walls and ceilings are. For ceilings measuring 10 feet and under, a long-handled roller will work just fine, especially if it’s a smaller room.  Some spaces may require a ladder to reach the edges and ceilings for painting. Make sure the ladder is tall enough so that you do not need to go higher than two rungs from the top.

If your room is fairly large, it might require scaffolding, which can be challenging and time-consuming to set up. If you have a large space or exceptionally high ceilings, it’s a good idea to look into hiring professional painters.

For the walls and low ceilings, most of the painting will be done on the ground, with a paint roller and an extension pole. Paint rollers will give you good coverage with much less splatter than paint sprayers. However, a sprayer can speed up the application in larger rooms, but it takes expertise to handle them properly. They can also be expensive, so it might not be a wise investment for a DIY job.

  • Rollers
    • Best for small spaces
    • Gives a better first coat
    • Wastes less paint
    • Better stain coverage
    • Time-consuming application
  • Sprayers
    • Faster application of paint
    • Better for large spaces, new construction, basements, or detailed surfaces
    • Requires special equipment
    • More expensive
3. Use Painters Tape

If the walls are being painted a different color than the ceiling, you’ll need to paint them separately. For the ceiling painting, tape off all corners and edges of the wall that are adjacent to the ceiling as well as any light fixtures in the room. Press firmly to make sure a seal is created to prevent paint from bleeding through. Tape should also be applied around any moldings near the ceiling edges.

4. Use the Right Paint

Ceilings don’t get painted as often as walls, so it’s important to use the right ceiling paint for the job. Ceiling paint is specially formulated for ceilings and will make the job much easier. It's important to remember that the paint color on a ceiling can look slightly darker than it appears when painted on a wall.

Flat or matte ceiling paint is the most popular type of paint for ceilings. It offers many advantages such as:

  • More light is reflected into the room. White offers a high degree of light bounce, making your entire room brighter.
  • White, matte paint provides a limitless vista that your eyes have a hard time focusing on. When you look at a well-painted flat white surface, it appears to go on infinitely. This gives the room a feeling of more space.
  • A flat or matte sheen, as opposed to satin or glossy, further enhances the appearance of a limitless wall. Flat paint also hides imperfections much better than glossy paint.
5. Avoid Roller Marks

To make sure you don’t leave roller marks on your ceilings or walls, use a roller with a thicker nap.  Applying less paint when rolling also helps prevent paint from making roller tracks on the ceiling. Using a flat sheen when painting the ceiling also helps avoid roller marks. Paint one coat of paint on the ceiling in one direction and paint the other coat in a different direction.

6. Two Coats of Paint

Two coats of paint are highly recommended. If you are going from a darker color to a lighter color, it’s easy to miss patches on the ceiling. Painting two coats ensures a more even coverage and allows you to cover all the spots you might have missed on the first coat.

The Fastest and Best Way to Paint a Ceiling

Many people find the process of painting high ceilings on their own to be quite difficult. You may want to opt to hire a professional painter to take care of it for you. But before hiring a professional, you’ll need to do some research to get the best contractor for your paint project.

If you are considering having your home repainted by a professional, you want to hire the best. A painting contractor is an efficient and reliable way to get a high-quality finish. Finding the best painting contractor involves more than a Google search or making a few phone calls.

Taking the necessary steps and doing due diligence can prevent homeowners from making mistakes when hiring a painting contractor. Here are some of the most common mistakes made when choosing a painting contractor.

Not Insured 

If the painting contractor you hire does not have general business liability and workmen compensation policies, you are responsible if an accident happens.  Professional painters who have insurance can cover repairs, replacement, and compensation for any damages to your property during the project.


Don’t take any chances with your home by hiring a paint contractor whose business just opened a month ago.  A bad paint job can make your home unattractive and less appealing. You want to make sure the painter you hire has ample experience painting different types of buildings and surfaces.

Lowest Bid

We all like to save money, especially on home improvement projects. Contractors that tend to offer unrealistically low-priced estimates typically use inferior paint products and shortcuts.  Bargain deals do not mean good quality. You don’t have to hire the most expensive painting contractor; choose a contractor that offers the best value for your money..

Lack of Communication

Professional painters should communicate the process and steps that will be taken to paint your home or business.  A start date, estimated completion, and paint being used should not only be in the contract but should also be communicated to the client.

Good communication saves time and aggravation.

Better Business Bureau

Ensure that painting contractors are in good standing with the Better Business Bureau. It helps to have a third party check out a painting contractor to help with any disputes.

Not Checking References

Once you are given a list of references, follow up.  Take the time to ask about their work, professionalism. timeliness, and cleanliness. You may want to ask to speak with the contractor's last three clients. Also, ask for references from clients who have had the same type of work done. Questions to ask include:

  • Would you work with this contractor again?
  • Did you have any cost overruns? Why?
  • How long did the job take?
  • Are you happy with the results?
No Written Contracts

A painting contract provides an upfront list of expectations and specifics of a painting job. Don’t accept verbal promises; always get it in writing. Some of the most important things you should see in a written contract are:

  • The client and contractor's name and information
  • An area describing the scope of work, which will detail all of the services that will be provided
  • The cost of both the supplies as well as the labor to paint the house
  • The location of the project and the estimated work schedule, which should include a completion date for the project. This time frame will also help determine the overall labor cost on the estimate.
  • The types and brand of paint to be used. This will help ensure that the right quality of paints will be used to ensure that the paint job will last as long as it's supposed to. This section should include brand names and shades to make sure there is a clear plan and eliminate as many potential obstacles as possible.

Trust the Professionals

If you’re considering having your high walls or ceiling repainted, The Painting Pros can help. We have all the equipment needed to paint these hard-to-reach areas no matter the size of the space. Our expert painters will have your home updated in no time.

Schedule a service call with a professional painter today!

Expert services for interior and exterior painting.


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