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Help! I Need My Ceiling Painted

Updated: Nov 11, 2020

Did you know that not even Michaelangelo enjoyed painting a ceiling? It is true. He actually wrote a poem about it. Despite what many of us imagine when we think of his painting process, he did not lie on his back. He built a scaffold that he could stand on, but still,

as he states in his poem he had “grown a goiter from this torture, hunched up here like a cat in Lombardy.”

Michaelangelo was not shy about how he felt regarding this process stating again in his poem “Because I'm stuck like this, my thoughts are crazy, perfidious tripe: anyone shoots badly through a crooked blowpipe.”

So while the image we conjure about him on his back all day is wrong, the actual process was just as terrible.

Now sure, painting your own ceiling is much different, assuming you do not want a masterpiece, just a solid color. Purchasing extended rollers and ladders make scaffolding unnecessary but do not necessarily save your neck.

If you are going to paint your ceiling yourself, here are a few tips!

Sand it

If you are painting an untextured ceiling, there may be some build-up and bumps that have developed over the years. Use 100 grit sandpaper on an extension pole to smooth out the ceiling to ensure an even paint job.


If you have had a roof or second story bathroom leak, you will want to buy a stain-blocking primer. A white pigmented shellac is a great choice. It is sold in spray cans, but for the ceiling, painting it on with a brush is probably the best. This will also help if your ceiling has a yellow hint from tobacco smoke. In this case, you will want to roll the entire ceiling with the shellac. Regular paint will not hide these stains.


You will want to cut-in (paint the edges) first. We recommend that you do not cut-in the entire perimeter at once, but rather small sections first. Edging 10 linear feet then rolling that section allows for better blending of the paint because the cut-in section will still be wet.

Another thing you will want to do if you are painting the walls as well, is to extend your cut-in to the walls.


It is not just with the cut in that you will want to keep wet for good blending. You want to be able to do that for the whole ceiling, section by section. If you roll smaller sections of the ceiling, you can move to the next section while keeping the edges of the previous section wet. This will allow for a smooth well-blended look. If you cannot keep the edges wet, do what we call feather out the edges. This is just a partial thin cover of the section’s border/edge. This way when you go over it the next time there is a better chance of it blending seamlessly.

Make sure you buy ceiling paint! Ceiling paints are formulated to splash less and dry slower. Typically, they are matte and not glossy.

Do not buy an expensive pole. A plain old’ wooden one will do the job.

Wear a hat! Getting paint out of your hair is hard. Use a lotion on your skin before you start painting. Makes it easier to remove paint speckles you will most likely have on your arms and face and probably somehow, legs!. And definitely get some safety goggles.

Or you can hire a professional!

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