How do I Paint a Textured Ceiling?

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  • Written By: Henry Gaudet
  • Edited By: A. Joseph
  • Last Modified Date: 14 August 2019
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Textured ceilings bring interesting detail to a room, but painting them is a little trickier than working on smooth surfaces. When you decide to paint a textured ceiling, you have two options: painting with a roller or using a sprayer. Sprayers are faster and less strenuous, but they requires more skill and make a bigger mess than painting with a roller. Whichever method you choose, preparation is key, both in gathering supplies and getting the room ready for painting.

Your will first need to decide how you will paint a textured ceiling. Paint sprayers are widely available for sale or rent, and they will give you a quick, even coat — a real advantage when working on textured surfaces overhead — but they do take some skill. If you haven’t used a sprayer before, take the time to read the instructions. A few practice sprays across a disposable surface such as a large piece of cardboard will improve your results when you paint.

A roller offers a simpler, low-tech alternative. To paint a textured ceiling, you will need a roller with a long nap, up to an inch (2.54 cm) for deep textures. A telescoping extension will enable you to reach the ceiling easily without the need of a ladder. Roller painting is slower and might require more than one coat, but it is easier than painting with a sprayer, and the required tools are cheaper.


You will need to prepare the room before you can paint a textured ceiling. Use a vacuum cleaner to clean the ceiling, taking care to avoid chipping away bits of the textured ceiling with the vacuum attachments. If you will be painting with a sprayer, tape plastic sheeting along the top of each wall. This sheeting should reach down at least 3 feet (about 1 m) to protect the walls. Remove all furniture and window treatments from the room, and cover the floors and any other exposed surfaces, such as countertops, with plastic or canvas sheeting.

Whether you choose to paint a textured ceiling with a roller or a sprayer, you need to begin by painting with a brush. Use the brush to paint around the perimeter of the ceiling, which is called cutting. Cutting in lets you lay down an even coat of paint along the edges, where the rollers and sprayers have trouble reaching without making a mess. Be sure to get the entire ceiling painted before the edging is dry. Otherwise, a visible line will remain between the two coats of paint.

After you have finished cutting in, you can use the sprayer or roller to paint a textured ceiling. Use even strokes with the sprayer, taking care to hold the nozzle straight and at a constant distance from the ceiling. If you are using a roller, take the time to work the paint in thoroughly, so that it fills in all the crevices of the textured ceiling, and be aware that a second coat might be needed for an even finish.


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