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How to Paint a Ceiling: Advanced Components


It is rare that certain paint concepts are discussed in the context of a ceiling. But here we go:

  • Mouldings: For molded light medallions, treyed ceilings, or a circumference of crown mould, close and seal the ceiling-to-mould cracks with a thin bead of tub and tile caulk wiped with a clean damp rag. Often the T & T formulation proves less viscous and more workable than its counterpart - typical, thicker caulk pushed through a tube. It is just better for detailing purposes.

  • Natural Bordering Woods & Finishes: For sections of wood that are to remain natural like ceiling beams and heavily scribed areas, for example, around the face of upper rocky fireplaces, the wood should be sealed before any painting takes place, blocking any possibility of paint absorption into the wood cells.

  • Non-Flat/Gloss Sheens: To apply a glossier paint, such as on certain ceilings like in baths, or possibly kitchen areas, use a 3/8" nap or less and strain the paint before applying, and, at regular intervals as well if extended upper areas are involved. The room warmth is greatest at the ceiling and the paint off the roller cover and cage tend to skin when dipping back into the source bucket or pan.
  • Sloped Ceilings: The high ceiling makes the wheeled-scaffold practical. Sloped ceilings are ideal for scissorlifts; they are great for maintaining the proper roll pattern on vertically-variable surfaces. The sharing of scaffold with the ceiling stompers/finishers normally makes sense and saves on expenses.


  • Skylight Vestibules: Plan on spending the least amount of time in what are actually intense heat traps. Paint typically dries quick here and these are popular places for moisture and water stains, that should be sealed prior to the painting so it might be worthwhile to inspect these areas first. If electrically operated, all the better for setting some advance ventilation in the room.


  • Bayed Ceilings: For painting bays; set any nail holes & putty, then prep the wood finishing/crown assemblage with primer and caulk. Next, after it is dry, paint at least two coats on the wood. With the trim done and dry to a hardness, mask off for the individual drywall or plaster square sections overhead. This sequence of painting the ceiling squares more easily lends itself to establishing straight lines from the masking, assuming a flat ceiling and glossier off-white moulding. Although based on color choice, and sheens, the squares are sometimes best painted initially, after the carpentry is fully prepped.


  • Spraying Applications: Reduce the effective amount of masking and potential protection that is required, in each area to be painted - while achieving more of a production environment - by spraying dry fog paint material. Which is specially formulated to reduce overspray. The whites are available in non-yellowing finishes from flat to semigloss. And expect specific application parameters, that include; minimum fall distances at which the drying fog effectuates such as 10 foot, or 12 foot or more at 68 to 70 degrees (that is usually among ideal painting temperatures anyway) while also applying at 40% or 50% relative humidity. It might therefore best be used on taller ceilings. Another major advantage of shooting through a sprayer is that it can result in a lower total finish/build pattern that almost eliminates line-tracking (given a newer spray tip). A possibe choice on smooth-level finishes or even, ornate plaster medallions and effects that might help maintain definition - though isolated areas can be sprayed with more traditional formulations which are sometimes thinned accordingly. Be aware that the practice of backrolling is sometimes preferred to redistribute the paint while achieving a sealed surface - results that depend on the skill-level of the applicator.

IMPORTANT - painting textures on ceilings: Many painters are ground into the groove of scraping down loose or mariginally adhering ceiling textures with taping knives for both prepping for paint but also when wanting to create new flat surface. While many times samples should have been sent off for asbestos testing. Do not take any chances with this.





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Drywall Costs
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