How To Paint A Ceiling With A Roller

I think most people will agree painting ceilings is not a pleasant job, messy, awkward and hard work. There is of course an easier way, how to paint a ceiling with a roller, a step by step guide.

Preparing To Paint A Ceiling

As mentioned above painting a ceiling is messy due to paint spray that comes of the roller. There are roller sleeves that reduce the amount of paint spray which i’ll explain more on later.

Try to remove as much furniture from the room as possible and then cover the remaining items. If you can’t remove all of the furniture, then move what remains into the centre of the room.

I use Super Cling Dust Sheet to cover electrical items, kitchen worktops, glass units, cupboards and anything fragile. It’s lightweight, easy to use and doesn’t slip, move during the painting process. For the floor, any spare bedding sheets, tarps or Decorators Twill Dust Sheets will protect the flooring.

How To Paint A Ceiling With A Roller

If your ceiling has been previously painted with silk emulsion (shiny finish). Then I recommend reading an earlier article on painting matt over silk emulsion.

Once the room is cleared and any remaining furniture is protected, it’s time to repair any ceiling cracks, water stains or damage. To repair ceiling cracks, I recommend two products, Toupret Interior Filler and Toupret Fibacryl Flexible Filler. Both products when used in combination are excellent at repairing stubborn ceiling cracks.

Repair Ceiling Cracks Before Painting

Ceiling cracks are notorious for reappearing after they have been repaired. To permanently fix ceiling cracks, follow the method below or refer to a previous article, how to repair ceilings cracks where I go into even more detail.

1) With a stanley knife, cut a V shaped opening in the crack, wide on the surface and narrow at the base.

2) Using a Caulking Gun and a tube of Toupret Fibacryl Flexible Filler, squeeze a bead of the flexible filler into the crevice. Push the filler into the crack using your finger, ensuring to leave the filler shy of the surface.

3) Leave to dry and skim over using Toupret Interior Filler.

How To Paint A Ceiling With A Roller

Once all cracks, gouges and imperfections have been repaired and the filler has been left to dry. The next stage is to thoroughly sand the ceiling, I cannot stress the difference sanding will make to the final paint finish.

You will need a Pole Sander an Extension Pole and 120 Grade Sandpaper. Cut a length of sandpaper to suit the pole sander and attach to the extension pole.

Ensure you wear a Respirator Mask and Eye Protection before sanding. An extension pole gives the user access to the ceiling while standing on the floor which is safer than using step ladders.

It does take a little while to get used to sanding a ceiling using a pole sander, but it is still faster than sanding by hand on steps.

What Is The Best Roller For Painting Ceilings

Achieving an excellent paint finish using a roller depends largely on the type of roller sleeve used. You may not have heard the term,” nap” which relates to the thickness of pile on the roller. Short hair, smooth, 3/8 nap roller sleeves are best for a smooth paint finish.

Earlier I mentioned about paint spray while rollering a ceiling. There are rollers that are better than others at combating excessive paint spray.

Any of the above roller sleeves will leave a beautiful smooth paint finish with minimum paint spray.

I should mention that if your painting a ceiling with new plaster you will need to mist coat the plaster first. This process seals the new plaster before the top coats of paint. In an earlier article I explain in more detail how to paint new plaster.

How To Paint A Ceiling With A Roller

Once the preparation is completed, the actual task of how to paint a ceiling with a roller is fairly straightforward. Below I have included painting tips to ensure you achieve a professional finish.

1) Cut in your edges with an Angular Trim Paint Brush and then use a 4 Inch Mini Roller to backroll. This will remove any brush marks and keep an even texture across the ceiling,

2) Take your smooth nap roller sleeve and attach it to either an Adjustable Roller Frame 12 – 18 Inch or a Fixed Roller Frame 9 Inch. Then fix the end to your extension pole.

You can either work from a Paint Tray or Paint Scuttle, I personally use a paint scuttle as it holds more paint and is less likely to tip over.

How To Paint A Ceiling With A Roller

There is mixed information across with web in regards to what direction is best to roll a ceiling. Don’t get to hung up on this unless the ceiling your painting is in a room that gets a lot of natural light.

As a general rule of thumb, the direction you start to roller the ceiling is the direction you stick with. Paint the entire ceiling until it’s finished, don’t stop mid way for a tea break. Once your start you must finish, this allows the paint to dry uniformly.

How Do You Prevent Roller Marks When Painting A Ceiling

Painters use a term called “keeping a wet edge” what does this mean? When applying paint to any surface, you want to ensure that the paint does not start to dry before you have finished painting the area.

By keeping a wet edge you allow one section of paint to blend into the other.

If for example you started to paint a ceiling, stopped half way through for a break and then continued. This could result in overlap lines, also referred to as streaks. To avoid this, ensure that the entire area is painted in one go.

Painters TipKeeping the room cooler will slow the drying process, giving you additional time to paint your ceiling.

You may notice that the edge of your roller leaves a line in the paint. This can be problematic especially if the line is left to dry. To remove any roller marks in paint, reduce the pressure placed on the roller and lightly roll directly over the top of the line.

Farrow and Ball Dimpse

Perfect paint finish, F & B, dimpse

Final tip on how to prevent roller marks when painting a ceiling is to ensure that the previous coat of paint is fully dry, before applying the second coat of paint.

How Many Coats Of Paint Does A Ceiling Need

Fresh plaster that has never been painted will need a mist coat, contract emulsion diluted to a ratio of 60% paint to 40% water. This is used to seal the plaster before the final coats. Total number of coats your ceiling would required, 1 mist coat, 2 top coats of paint.

Related article: Painting New Plaster Walls

If your ceiling has been previously painted, then 2 coats of paint should be sufficient. Depending on the paint quality and color your painting, a 3rd of coat of paint may be necessary.

Paint A Ceiling Tips

1) Always mist coat fresh (new) plaster before final coats of paint.
2) Smooth, 3/8 nap roller sleeves are best for a fine finish
3) Roll your roller on the side of the paint scuttle to remove excess paint.
4) Use an angular paint brush for cutting in, then back roll using a 4 inch mini roller sleeve.
5) Roll your ceiling in the same direction until completion
6) Wait until the first coat of paint is fully dry before applying your second coat.

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Disclaimer

This blog is a personally written and edited by me (Andrew Firth). For questions about this blog, please contact andrew@clearcutpainting.co.uk

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