How often to paint your ceiling. Often times the trim and the wall paints get all the attention when it comes to painting. The poor old ceiling, for the most part, gets treated like an after thought. This is doing it wrong. In painting most people know to start from the top down. However the ceiling does not need painting quite as often as the walls do. We, here at the Painting School recommend that the ceilings, trim, and doors be painted every other time the walls are painted. This is dependent upon the condition of the individual job though. Is your ceiling textured or painted? In other words, whats on your ceiling? Paint, a Texture, or a Painted Texture. If it’s textured, it may be of a few different types.
1. Knock Down / Orange peel – used in apartments, hotels, & motels to cover imperfect walls, & ceilings. 2. Popcorn – Aka acoustic texture, it was used in homes from the 60’s to today. Ceilings only. 3. Swirls – mud texture applied by a true artisans, in the form of swirls. Found in many of the older, expensive homes, on ceilings & walls. 4. Stippling – Can be applied by roller, or by specially designed brush or a combination of both. On the ceiling only. Textured ceilings can be painted by Brush & Roller or by spraying. Brush & roller is the preferred method. As these ceilings age, the texture may become unstable and come off when pressure is applied to the roller. You should be aware that, if left unpainted, these textures can be removed fairly easy. Once they are coated, it is most likely they will have to be sanded and re-slicked, or re-dry walled over the top of. It may be best to call a Pro when painting Textured ceilings. And you will definitely have to call one to remove a painted textured ceiling. If it is unpainted you may be able to complete the job yourself. Here is a good article on: Removing a popcorn ceiling! A textured ceiling should never be painted anything but white, or possibly a cream color. Paint tools for painting ceilings: 1. 1/2 nap roller cover, 18 inch 2. Sherlock roller handle, 18 inch 3. Sherlock extension 4. Paint pail for 18 inch roller All these products are from Wooster. We prefer the 18 inch rollers on the ceiling as it is always the warmest part of the room, and it tends to dry pretty fast. Using a large roller sleeve will allow you to get the job completed without leaving any lap marks. Choosing your ceiling paint: Whether you are going with a standard ceiling white, or a little more color, your paint should normally be a flat or matte finish. When going with white I like to stick with the paint companies specific brands for ceilings. Simply because they work. Whites go with everything. For the times when you do go with color it is best to stay with the lighter tints of the colors you are going to paint on the walls. If you go with a darker color on the ceilings it can be acceptable to go with an eggshell to assist in light reflection, but the ceiling must be in perfect condition, as it will draw attention to all the little imperfections. Here is a great link about ceiling Colors: How to choose ceiling Colours; Do’s and Don’ts.
Steps to painting your ceiling: 1. Make any required repairs to the ceiling prior to starting painting. 2. Specifically look for cracks coming down the corners of the wall and cracks between the ceiling and the Crown trim. 3. Move furniture into the center of the room and cover with plastic, or drop cloths. Cover the rest of the floor area with drops. Wrap light fixtures. 4. Cover any smoke stains, or water stains with the appropriate stain killer. We prefer the Zinsser products. The Alcohol based sealer is what we use, it has successfully covered every stain we have used it on. 5. Spray or Roll 2 coats of flat or matte paint onto your ceiling. About Painting the ceiling: Spraying or Rolling? Both methods are excellent, and will give you the results you want. Lets discuss the reasons to do one over the other. New construction, we always spray and back roll new houses. Spraying is the fastest way, hands down, to do a lot of separate ceilings, or a large ceiling. We use the two-man method – one man sprays and then another man comes right behind and back rolls. The back rolling must be completed for a couple of reasons. The first is in order to force the paint onto, and into the drywall to ensure good adhesion. The second is to put roller stipple onto the surface. If you are not familiar with roller stipple, it is the slightly textured surface produced by the release of the roller fabric onto the just painted surface. Back rolling is important because it makes it easier to touch up the surface later on. Ceilings, as we stated in the first paragraph do not get painted as often as the other surfaces do. However there can be times when they need minor touch ups. Water leaks are a pretty normal occurrence, and what about getting dirty finger prints on the ceiling when changing out a bulb. Your kids ever bounced a dirty ball against the ceiling? All very good reasons to need to be able to touch up the ceiling with a roller. Some painters try to just spray the ceilings and not back roll. This is wrong and not good for the customer. A sprayed on only, coat of latex may not gone on evenly, and may not adhere evenly either. Between the 2 methods of spraying & back rolling, or just rolling, which one is right for you. It’s just about how much area you are doing. Taking into account the factors of having to cut in the ceiling when rolling and having to plastic and tape up the walls when spraying. For one bedroom we wouldn’t bother putting the sprayer in the truck. If you are going to do 4 or 5 rooms it probably makes sense. For most occupied residential houses rolling will be your best bet. Empty houses or new construction spraying may be your first choice. What ever method you choose always put the first coat on in one direction and the second coat on in the opposite direction. Here’s exactly how we do it. Good luck!