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How To Paint Your Ceiling Like a Pro (and Minimize Drips!)

If you’re an Atlanta-area do-it-yourselfer, you’ve probably tackled a variety of painting tasks in and around your home. You likely know how to paint walls like a pro. But how about the ceiling?

It can be intimidating to think about painting your ceiling, since it involves working against gravity and using that wonky paint roller extension pole that gets misplaced in the garage for years at a time.

However, painting your ceiling is a great way to make a room feel fresh and bright. The painting experts at Freeland Painting recently answered your top 7 questions about how to paint ceilings like a pro. It is a thorough list that gives you a great start on your overhead project. And yet, we thought we’d offer a few more tips on the strategy around painting a ceiling and how to minimize drips and mess when you do so.

Here are three more frequently asked questions about best practices for painting your ceiling:

Should I paint the ceiling first or last?

If you’ll be painting the entire room, go ahead and paint the ceiling first. There are two reasons for this:

  1. You won’t have to “tape off” the edges of the walls around the ceiling with painter’s tape (since you’ll be painting the walls after the ceiling).
  2. You won’t have to clean any splatters or paint drips off your walls when you’re done, since you’ll soon be painting over them anyway.

However, if you’re painting the ceiling only, we recommend that you tape it off and consider using plastic sheeting to protect your walls. Read Freeland Painting’s tips on how to tape like a pro as a refresher before you start.

How can I minimize drips when painting a ceiling?

Gravity is the law of the land, and there’s no getting around it. Our best advice is to prepare for the worst but hope for the best. Here’s how:

  • Cover your floor with drop cloths. Better safe than sorry, especially when it comes to carpet and hardwood floors which aren’t as easy to remove splatters from as tile or vinyl flooring.
  • Don’t overload your paint roller. Start small and use the least amount of paint that will give you the coverage you desire. Dipping your roller more often with less paint will minimize splatter.
  • Wear a hat and safety goggles. And old clothes! That way, you’ll be ready for drips and splatters in case they do happen despite your best efforts.
  • Choose the right roller nap. For a smooth, non-textured ceiling, a ½-inch nap roller is ideal for ceiling paint, since it is a thicker paint formulation than wall paint.
  • Easy does it. While you want the work to go quickly, always paint ceilings with care and make a conscious effort to slow down a bit. That will help to minimize drips and splatters.

What’s the best painting strategy for a ceiling?

After you’ve prepped like a pro and taped off your ceiling, first cut-in around the edges with a brush. That way, you can use the roller for the rest of the job and cover up most of the brush marks around the edges with rolled paint.

As you approach the ceiling, mentally divide it into sections about 2 x 3 feet in size. As you paint each 6 sq-ft. section, aim to keep a “wet edge” as you roll the paint onto the next section of ceiling surface. A wet edge will help ensure that you don’t have visible roller marks when the paint dries. If you need to take a break mid-ceiling, feather the paint out into the upcoming section, so it’s easier to cover with a coat of wet paint when you get back to work.

If you want a fresh, bright new ceiling paint job but think you’re in over your head (see what we did there?), call Freeland Painting to schedule a free, in-person estimate for your ceiling painting service: 678.679.3126.

And remember, things are looking up!

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