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Ceiling Painting Tips from the Pros

Posted by Woodrow Aames ~ September 3, 2010

If you're like me, turning to a family member or relative to paint your home may come with a large element of risk. That's unless they paint professionally. While I have had success painting rooms of my home--and in having a cousin in to handle the kitchen--the finished look never quite looks as good as when I hire a pro. And it takes much longer from start to finish, too.

That's why my ears perk up whenever I hear advice from a painting expert or from a home improvement show. A recent series of tips on choosing colors for painting the ceiling at Better Homes and Gardens had some great suggestions. For one thing, the ceiling represents a sixth of the entire real estate of the room. Yet most of us relegate its color to white or off white.

We tend to eschew darker hues for ceilings, considering that anything but white interior paint visually shortens the height of the ceiling. But, BHG says, you can use colors that make the room feel intimate, rather than claustrophobic. A contrasting color like light blue, peach, pink, yellow, or tan can actually add warmth to your room.

Painting Ceilings and Textured Ceilings

Today's interior painting techniques for the ceilings are as precise as you might imagine as the ones for side walls. I prefer a thick-nap roller on an extension handle for covering textured ceilings. The prep work is essential if you're to avoid self-inflicted misery.

Get all the furnishings and wall coverings you possibly can out of the room. Before priming--if the ceiling is going to have a different color than the walls--be sure to tape the intersection where the surfaces meet. Then get drop cloths down wherever the ceiling paint can drip or spatter. (Face it, I'm not careful enough to work without them.) On untextured ceilings, sand any glossy surfaces that you're going to paint over. Remove all dirt and dust before priming.

Some painters prefer to use a primer coat with stain blockers. Whatever your primer choice, mark a cut line with a brush from the tape into three or four inches of ceiling. then paint from them over the length of ceiling. Do the same thing with your finishing paint once the primer has dried. Before your cut line dries, dip your roller into your paint and begin rolling out color over the cut line and across a section of ceiling from right to left (if you're a righty.)

How's it look?

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