Here’s a good article on tips to paint ceilings by Katie Holdefehr for Real Simple.
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If the mere thought of painting the ceiling makes your neck hurt, we hear you. But it’s a necessary step to make a freshly painted room look complete. To ensure the process is as easy and pain-free as possible, follow these tips to get the job done fast and efficiently. From starting with the correct supplies to following the best technique, how’s how to paint a ceiling the right way.
Paint The Ceiling Before The Walls
One question everyone asks: should you paint the walls or ceiling first? If you’re planning to paint the entire room, start with the ceiling. That way, you won’t have to worry about splatters from the roller getting onto the walls—it will all get touched up once the walls are painted. The one caveat: If you’re painting the ceiling a dramatic contrasting color to the walls, you’ll want to tape off the molding and be careful not to get paint on the walls.
If you’re only painting the ceiling, start by taping off the edge of the wall or crown molding. Consider using a wider painter’s tape, which will let you to get the roller close to the corner without getting paint on the wall. This will allow you to be less precise, so you can work more quickly.
Also remember to tape around any light fixtures or vents and cover ceiling fans.
Sometimes, what slows down a paint project isn’t the painting itself, but the clean-up afterwards. Save yourself the headache by removing as much furniture as possible from the room and covering anything that remains with plastic tarps.
Similar to painting a wall, you’ll want to start by “cutting in,” or using a paintbrush to paint around the perimeter of the ceiling. Using a 2- to 3-inch brush, start at the edge of the ceiling and paint into the ceiling a few inches. You want to feather the strokes so that the edge will blend in seamlessly once you use a roller to paint the rest of the ceiling. If you’re planning to paint both the ceiling and the walls, skip the painter’s tape, and cut in on both the ceiling and the wall as you work your way around the perimeter of the room.
To make cutting in easier, make sure you’re using the appropriate ladder for the height of the ceiling. Straining to reach is not only dangerous, but it will likely result in sore muscles the next day. Decant some paint into a small bucket to keep at the top of the ladder rather than attempting to bring the entire can, which is not only heavy, but could end in disaster if it spills.
If you have particularly high ceilings that you can’t comfortably reach with a ladder, it may be time to call in a professional painter.
Grab A Roller
For smooth ceilings, a low-nap roller works well, but for textured ceilings, try a 3/4-inch nap roller. When you’re shopping for supplies, keep the height of the ceiling in mind and get the shortest roller extension pole that allows you to reach comfortably. Getting too long of an extension pole means you’ll be carrying more weight than is really necessary.
Roll into the paint, and then use the textured side of the paint tray to roll off any excess. It may seem that more paint would help get the job done faster, but it will actually cause more drips and splatters.
Starting in one corner of the ceiling, roll on the paint with overlapping strokes to create a smooth, uniform surface. Once the entire ceiling is done, allow the paint to dry for 30 minutes then check if the surface needs any touchups or a second coat.